Localizing regulation

The New York Supreme Court has upheld the use by municipalities of zoning laws to block hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells. The decision won't stop fracing in New York because, thanks to a state-level moratorium imposed to accommodate health and environmental studies, no such work is under way. The decision will, however, complicate future regulation—perhaps enough to preclude drilling in New York's part of the Marcellus shale play. And it's part of a broader trend. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court took a similar step late last year when it struck down a year-old law giving state regulation of hydraulic fracturing precedence over local zoning controls. The Ohio Supreme Court is expec...

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