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Court rules in favor of local fracking bans

WBFO News File Photo

New York's rules about natural gas "fracking" have become more complicated following a ruling by the state's highest court that local governments can ban the gas drilling process.

Governor Cuomo has long stalled the process of hydraulic fracturing until there is a completed study on the health risks. No one appears to know when that study will be completed.

Across the state, nearly 170 local governments have barred fracking or put a moratorium on the process.

Now, by a five-to-two vote, the State Court of Appeals has ruled a local government can bar fracking. Among others, Buffalo has banned the process and Erie County has banned it on county-owned land.

"What good is it having a job when you have ruined your water?" said Buffalo Democratic Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes.

"There is still some information that we yet need to know about fracking. I personally feel that since it's natural gas I think everything the Creator created, He created for us to use. Our problem is we don't know how to find it without damaging anything or find it in a safe manner. And, I think that's what we need to wait on for the scientists to figure that out," Peoples-Stokes said.

Clarence Republican Assemblyman Ray Walter says fracking was always going to be a scattered process because of different drilling prospects but wants Albany to make a decision either way.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.