Proponents and opponents of hydraulic fracturing alike have been waiting with bated breath for the outcome of the Wallach v. Town of Dryden and Cooperstown Holstein Corp. v. Town of Middlefield cases. The wait is over - in late June, the New York Court of Appeals upheld the power of local governments to adopt zoning ordinances which restrict or ban oil and gas operations within their borders.
Continuing with our prior post, this post discusses the Court of Appeal's ruling in In the Matter of Lighthouse Pointe Property Associates, LLC v. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, 2010 NY Slip Op 1377, 2010 N.Y. LEXIS 35, (Ct. App. Feb. 18, 2010), and the implications of that decision.
On October 27, 2009 the New York State Court of Appeals made the most important decision regarding standing in SEQRA cases in perhaps the last 18 years. The court ruled in Save the Pine Bush v. Common Council of City of Albany, that standing to challenge the environmental impact of a proposed development is not limited to those who live near the location of the project. The court held that a person who "can prove he or she uses and enjoys a natural resource more than most other members of the public has standing under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA)." This decision had been long awaited by environmental attorneys and environmentalists, as well as by city planners.