NEW YORK STATE -- The decision over whether or not municipalities have home rule in regards to natural gas drilling will get another chance in court.
The towns of Dryden and Middlefield were both sued by gas companies and landowners for imposing bans on hydraulic fracturing.
Mid-level courts have upheld the rights of both the towns to prohibit gas drilling. But now the cases will once again be heard, this time by the state Court of Appeals.
Anti-fracking advocates believe the appeal will further affirm their rights to home rule. Meanwhile, the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York released a statement saying they are ecstatic. The landowners say local municipalities are not equipped to decide issues affecting state and national interests in producing domestic energy.
Scott Kurkoski, who represents Jennifer Huntington in the Middlefield case, says he's optimistic moving forward.
"I'm optimistic. I think what the Court of Appeals is going to do is correct the interpretation of their mining cases. And that's the tough part about all the prior decisions is that they all based on mining. We are not talking about mining, we're talking about energy. Energy is so much different than sand and gravel, and that's what those other decisions governed," Kurkoski said.
"We think it's a good thing it's going to be appealed, because there is going to be a final say in the matter. When the appeals first came out, it was unanimous in favor of local rule, home rule for land use. So residents should have a right to say how they want to see their land, and their property, developed," said Sue Rapp, VeRSE/New Yorkers Against Fracking.
Kurkoski says he thinks the decision will be made next spring.