Today, The West Firm filed briefs in the Dryden and Middlefield cases before the New York State Court of Appeals in an effort to seek reversal of the adverse decisions from the Appellate Division, Third Department. Those decisions, which were issued in May of this year, upheld the right of municipalities to ban oil and gas development altogether. This briefing establishes all of the compelling reasons why the New York Court of Appeals should reverse the lower court decisions and confirm that municipalities are preempted from regulating or banning natural gas development in New York State. The briefing includes a comprehensive review of the history of the development of New York's Oil and Gas Solution Mining Law (“OGSML”), including its origins from the Interstate Compact. The Interstate Compact, as ratified by New York, mandates state laws that prevent waste, promote the development of the oil and gas resources, and protect the correlative rights of landowners. The lower court decisions, including the Third Department, never explained how an outright ban on oil and gas development can be squared with these express policies in the OGSML.
Further briefing will occur, and we expect that the cases will be scheduled for argument next spring, with decisions prior to the end of June, 2014.