In a groundbreaking verdict, a Texas jury has awarded damages to a family for injuries suffered due to air pollution from hydraulic fracturing ("hydrofracking") drilling operations. This verdict follows almost inexorably from the rise in popularity in the past decade of hydrofracking as a means of natural gas production, which was quickly met with legal challenges. Between 2009 and 2013, the civil litigation landscape was flooded with lawsuits alleging toxic tort claims stemming from hydrofracking activities.
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.