With towns, villages and other municipalities across New York facing major decisions about the potential for high-volume hydraulic fracturing (“hydrofracking” or “fracking”) in their communities, Sive, Paget & Riesel P.C. and the Government Law Center at Albany Law School recently co-sponsored an all-day conference on “Municipal Law and Planning: A Local Perspective on Hydrofracking.” The September 28, 2012 conference attracted more than 130 participants and featured a broad range of speakers, including Sive, Paget & Riesel Principals Chris Amato and Steven Barshov.
Units of local government are anticipated to be among those most affected by the potential introduction of high-volume hydraulic fracturing. With New York State’s anticipated delay in finalizing its environmental review and proposed regulations of hydrofracking, local officials currently have an opportunity to assess and update their comprehensive plans, zoning laws, and municipal codes in advance of any new drilling.
The conference focused on the application of local land use and planning tools to control fracking and its impacts. Chris Amato spoke on the review of hydrofracking under SEQRA, and Steven Barshov spoke about the powers of municipalities to regulate fracking and the interconnection between local comprehensive plans and the currently proposed State regulations. Other topics discussed included the current status of the Department of Environmental Conservation’s proposed regulations and environmental review; water withdrawal and disposal issues; municipal ethics, particularly ethical considerations if municipal officials or their families enter into new drilling leases leases; updates on pending litigation concerning local bans and motaria; and training opportunities for municipal officials.
A program description is available, and a video of the conference will shortly be posted, online at http://www.albanylaw.edu/glc/programs/Pages/recent-events.aspx. For more information on the conference or municipal regulation of hydrofracking, contract Chris Amato or Steven Barshov.