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NY top court considers local bans on gas drilling

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York’s highest court is expected to decide by the 4th of July whether municipalities can use local zoning laws to ban shale gas development using hydraulic fracturing within their borders.

The seven-member Court of Appeals heard oral arguments Tuesday in two cases where a midlevel appellate court unanimously concluded last year that state oil and gas law doesn’t trump the authority of local governments to control land use.

The challenges have been closely watched by an industry hoping to drill in New York’s piece of the Marcellus Shale formation and by environmentalists who fear drilling could threaten water supplies and public health.

Even if the bans are overturned, the industry and landowners eager to profit from gas drilling still face a statewide moratorium in effect since July 2008.

Related: New York Democrats introduce fracking waste legislation

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