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Jeffrey v. Ryan

ELR Citation: 42 ELR 20208
Nos. 2012-001254, (N.Y. Sup. Ct., 10/02/2012)

A New York court struck down a city's local ordinance that placed a two-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing within its borders. The city argued that it issued the ordinance under its local police powers and that it was therefore not required to refer the law to the county planning board prior to enactment. But to invoke its police powers, the city must show that there is a dire emergency, that the moratorium was reasonably calculated to alleviate a crisis, and that it is taking steps to solve the problem. Here, however, there can be no showing of dire need because the state environmental agency has yet to publish the regulations that are required before any natural gas drilling or exploration can occur in the state. Because there are no regulations, there are no permits being issued, and the city cannot show that it is facing a crisis. Nor was the moratorium enacted so that the city could take steps to study or alleviate any problems that may be caused by gas drilling, exploration, or storage.