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Thi s opi ni on i s uncor r ect ed and subj ect t o r evi si on bef or e
publ i cat i on i n t he New Yor k Repor t s.
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No. 130
I n t he Mat t er of Mar k S. Wal l ach,
as Chapt er 7 Tr ust ee f or Nor se
Ener gy Cor p. USA,
Appel l ant ,
v.
Town of Dr yden et al . ,
Respondent s.
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No. 131
Cooper st own Hol st ei n Cor por at i on,
Appel l ant ,
v.
Town of Mi ddl ef i el d,
Respondent .
Case No. 130:
Thomas S. West , f or appel l ant .
Debor ah Gol dber g, f or r espondent s.
Town of Ul ysses et al . ; Of f i ce of t he Manhat t an Bor ough
Pr esi dent et al . ; New Yor k Far mBur eau; Washi ngt on Legal
Foundat i on; I ndependent Oi l and Gas Associ at i on of New Yor k,
I nc. ; Amer i can Pet r ol eumI nst i t ut e et al . ; J oi nt Landowner s
Coal i t i on of New Yor k, I nc. ; Vi cki Been et al . ; Br ewer y Ommegang
Lt d. et al . ; Dr yden Resour ces Awar eness Coal i t i on; Communi t y
Envi r onment al Def ense Counci l , I nc. ; Bar bar a Li f t on; Amer i can
Pl anni ng Associ at i on et al . , ami ci cur i ae.
Case No. 131:
Scot t R. Kur koski , f or appel l ant .
J ohn J . Henr y, f or r espondent .
Town of Ul ysses et al . ; New Yor k Far mBur eau;
I ndependent Oi l and Gas Associ at i on of New Yor k, I nc. ; Amer i can
Pet r ol eumI nst i t ut e et al . ; Br ewer y Ommegang, Lt d. et al . ; J oi nt
Landowner s Coal i t i on of New Yor k, I nc. et al . ; Amer i can Pl anni ng
Associ at i on et al . , ami ci cur i ae.
GRAFFEO, J . :
We ar e asked i n t hese t wo appeal s whet her t owns may ban
oi l and gas pr oduct i on act i vi t i es, i ncl udi ng hydr of r acki ng,
wi t hi n muni ci pal boundar i es t hr ough t he adopt i on of l ocal zoni ng
l aws. We concl ude t hat t hey may because t he super sessi on cl ause
- 1 -
- 2 - Nos. 130 & 131
i n t he st at ewi de Oi l , Gas and Sol ut i on Mi ni ng Law ( OGSML) does
not pr eempt t he home r ul e aut hor i t y vest ed i n muni ci pal i t i es t o
r egul at e l and use. The or der s of t he Appel l at e Di vi si on shoul d
t her ef or e be af f i r med.
I .
Mat t er of Wal l ach v Town of Dr yden
Respondent Town of Dr yden i s a r ur al communi t y l ocat ed
i n Tompki ns Count y, New Yor k. Land use i n Dr yden i s gover ned by
a compr ehensi ve pl an and zoni ng or di nance. The under l yi ng goal
of t he compr ehensi ve pl an i s t o " [ p] r eser ve t he r ur al and smal l
t own char act er of t he Town of Dr yden, and t he qual i t y of l i f e i t s
r esi dent s enj oy, as t he t own cont i nues t o gr ow i n t he comi ng
decades. " Despi t e t he f act t hat oi l and gas dr i l l i ng has not
hi st or i cal l y been associ at ed wi t h Dr yden, i t s l ocat i on wi t hi n t he
Mar cel l us Shal e r egi on has pi qued t he i nt er est of t he nat ur al gas
i ndust r y.
The Mar cel l us Shal e f or mat i on cover s a vast ar ea acr oss
sect i ons of a number of st at es, i ncl udi ng New Yor k, Pennsyl vani a,
Ohi o and West Vi r gi ni a. Nat ur al gas - - pr i mar i l y met hane - - i s
f ound i n shal e deposi t s bur i ed t housands of f eet bel ow t he
sur f ace and can be ext r act ed t hr ough t he combi ned use of
hor i zont al dr i l l i ng and hydr of r acki ng. To access t he nat ur al
gas, a wel l i s dr i l l ed ver t i cal l y t o a l ocat i on j ust above t he
t ar get dept h, at whi ch poi nt t he wel l becomes a hor i zont al t unnel
i n or der t o maxi mi ze t he number of pat hways t hr ough whi ch t he gas
- 2 -
- 3 - Nos. 130 & 131
may be r emoved. The pr ocess of hydr aul i c f r act ur i ng - - commonl y
r ef er r ed t o as hydr of r acki ng - - can t hen commence. Hydr of r acki ng
i nvol ves t he i nj ect i on of l ar ge amount s of pr essur i zed f l ui ds
( wat er and chemi cal s) t o st i mul at e or f r act ur e t he shal e
f or mat i ons, causi ng t he r el ease of t he nat ur al gas ( see gener al l y
U. S. Dept . of Ener gy, Nat ur al Gas f r omShal e: Quest i ons and
Answer s [ Apr . 2013] , avai l abl e at ht t p: / / www. ener gy. gov/ si t es/
pr od/ f i l es/ 2013/ 04/ f 0/ compl et e_br ochur e. pdf [ accessed J une 18,
2014] ) .
1
I n 2006, pet i t i oner Nor se Ener gy Cor p. USA ( Nor se) ,
t hr ough i t s pr edecessor s, began acqui r i ng oi l and gas l eases f r om
l andowner s i n Dr yden f or t he pur pose of expl or i ng and devel opi ng
nat ur al gas r esour ces.
2
The Town Boar d t ook t he posi t i on t hat
gas ext r act i on act i vi t i es wer e pr ohi bi t ed i n Dr yden because such
oper at i ons f el l wi t hi n t he cat ch- al l pr ovi si on of i t s zoni ng
or di nance t hat pr ecl uded any uses not speci f i cal l y al l owed.
Never t hel ess, t he Town Boar d deci ded t o engage i n a
" cl ar i f i cat i on" of t he i ssue. Af t er hol di ng a publ i c hear i ng and
1
Ther e r emai ns an ongoi ng publ i c debat e about t he
pot ent i al envi r onment al and saf et y r i sks associ at ed wi t h shal e
gas pr oduct i on. Cur r ent l y, t her e i s a st at ewi de mor at or i umon
" hi gh- vol ume hydr aul i c f r act ur i ng combi ned wi t h hor i zont al
dr i l l i ng" pendi ng f ur t her st udy of t he associ at ed envi r onment al
i mpact s ( 9 NYCRR 7. 41 [ Execut i ve Or der No. 41] ; see al so 9 NYCRR
8. 2 [ Execut i ve Or der No. 2] ) .
2
Nor se has si nce i ni t i at ed bankr upt cy pr oceedi ngs and Mar k
S. Wal l ach, as bankr upt cy t r ust ee, has been subst i t ut ed as t he
pet i t i oner . For ease of r ef er ence, pet i t i oner i n t hi s case wi l l
cont i nue t o be r ef er r ed t o as Nor se.
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- 4 - Nos. 130 & 131
r evi ewi ng a number of r el evant sci ent i f i c st udi es, t he Town Boar d
unani mousl y vot ed t o amend t he zoni ng or di nance i n August 2011 t o
speci f y t hat al l oi l and gas expl or at i on, ext r act i on and st or age
act i vi t i es wer e not per mi t t ed i n Dr yden. The amendment al so
pur por t ed t o i nval i dat e any oi l and gas per mi t i ssued by a st at e
or f eder al agency. I n adopt i ng t he amendment , t he Town Boar d
decl ar ed t hat t he i ndust r i al use of l and i n t he " r ur al
envi r onment of Dr yden" f or nat ur al gas pur poses " woul d endanger
t he heal t h, saf et y and gener al wel f ar e of t he communi t y t hr ough
t he deposi t of t oxi ns i nt o t he ai r , soi l , wat er , envi r onment , and
i n t he bodi es of r esi dent s. "
A mont h l at er , Nor se commenced t hi s hybr i d CPLR ar t i cl e
78 pr oceedi ng and decl ar at or y j udgment act i on t o chal l enge t he
val i di t y of t he zoni ng amendment . Nor se asser t ed t hat Dr yden
l acked t he aut hor i t y t o pr ohi bi t nat ur al gas expl or at i on and
ext r act i on act i vi t i es because sect i on 23- 0303 ( 2) of t he
Envi r onment al Conser vat i on Law ( ECL) - - t he super sessi on cl ause
i n t he Oi l , Gas and Sol ut i on Mi ni ng Law ( OGSML) - - demonst r at ed
t hat t he St at e Legi sl at ur e i nt ended t o pr eempt l ocal zoni ng l aws
t hat cur t ai l ed ener gy pr oduct i on. I n r esponse, Dr yden moved f or
summar y j udgment , seeki ng a decl ar at i on t hat t he zoni ng amendment
was a val i d exer ci se of i t s home r ul e power s.
Supr eme Cour t gr ant ed Dr yden' s mot i on and decl ar ed t he
amendment val i d wi t h one except i on - - i t st r uck down t he
pr ovi si on i nval i dat i ng st at e and f eder al per mi t s. The Appel l at e
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- 5 - Nos. 130 & 131
Di vi si on af f i r med, r ej ect i ng Nor se' s cl ai mt hat t he OGSML
pr eempt ed Dr yden' s zoni ng amendment ( 108 AD3d 25 [ 3d Dept 2013] ) .
We gr ant ed Nor se l eave t o appeal ( 21 NY3d 863 [ 2013] ) .
Cooper st own Hol st ei n Cor por at i on v Town of Mi ddl ef i el d
Respondent Town of Mi ddl ef i el d, whi ch i ncl udes a
por t i on of t he Vi l l age of Cooper st own, i s l ocat ed i n Ot sego
Count y, New Yor k, and i t s pr i nci pal i ndust r i es ar e agr i cul t ur e
and t our i sm. I t s l and use i s r egul at ed by a mast er pl an and
zoni ng or di nance. Si mi l ar t o Dr yden, t her e has been no oi l or
gas pr esence i n Mi ddl ef i el d unt i l 2007, when pl ai nt i f f
Cooper st own Hol st ei n Cor por at i on ( CHC) execut ed t wo l eases wi t h a
l andowner t o expl or e t he possi bi l i t y of devel opi ng nat ur al gas
r esour ces t hr ough hydr of r acki ng.
Al t hough t he Town cl ai med t hat i t s zoni ng or di nance
al r eady pr ohi bi t ed nat ur al gas expl or at i on on t he basi s t hat i t
was not l i st ed as a per mi ssi bl e l and use, i t under t ook a l engt hy
and det ai l ed r evi ew of t he i ssue i n 2011. Af t er commi ssi oni ng a
st udy t o wei gh t he i mpact s t hat hydr of r acki ng woul d have on
Mi ddl ef i el d and conduct i ng publ i c meet i ngs, t he Town Boar d, by a
unani mous vot e, amended i t s mast er pl an t o adopt a zoni ng
pr ovi si on cl assi f yi ng a r ange of heavy i ndust r i al uses, i ncl udi ng
oi l , gas and sol ut i on mi ni ng and dr i l l i ng, as pr ohi bi t ed uses.
The Town Boar d r easoned t hat t he " Cooper st own ar ea i s known
wor l dwi de f or i t s cl ean ai r , cl ean wat er , f ar ms, f or est s, hi l l s,
t r out st r eams, sceni c vi ewsheds, hi st or i c si t es, quai nt vi l l age
- 5 -
- 6 - Nos. 130 & 131
and haml et s, r ur al l i f est yl e, r ecr eat i onal act i vi t i es, sense of
hi st or y, and hi st or y of l andscape conser vat i on, " and concl uded
t hat i ndust r i al i zat i on, such as hydr of r acki ng, woul d " el i mi nat e
many of t hese f eat ur es" and " i r r ever si bl y over whel mt he r ur al
char act er of t he Town. "
CHC pr ompt l y br ought t hi s act i on t o set asi de t he
zoni ng l aw, cont endi ng t hat i t was pr eempt ed by t he super sessi on
pr ovi si on i n t he OGSML. CHC and Mi ddl ef i el d each moved f or
summar y j udgment . Supr eme Cour t deni ed CHC' s mot i on and gr ant ed
Mi ddl ef i el d' s cr oss- mot i on t o di smi ss t he compl ai nt , uphol di ng
t he l egal i t y of t he zoni ng l aw ( 35 Mi sc 3d 767 [ Sup Ct , Ot sego
Count y 2012] ) . The Appel l at e Di vi si on af f i r med ( 106 AD3d 1170
[ 3d Dept 2013] ) , and we gr ant ed CHC l eave t o appeal ( 21 NY3d 863
[ 2013] ) .
I I .
On appeal , Nor se and CHC, suppor t ed by sever al ami ci
cur i ae, pr ess t hei r cont ent i on t hat Dr yden and Mi ddl ef i el d
( col l ect i vel y, t he Towns) l acked t he aut hor i t y t o pr oscr i be
hydr of r acki ng and associ at ed nat ur al gas act i vi t i es wi t hi n t hei r
t own boundar i es. They asser t t hat t he ener gy pol i cy of New Yor k,
as exempl i f i ed by t he st at ewi de OGSML, r equi r es a uni f or m
appr oach and cannot be subj ect t o r egul at i on by a mel ange of t he
St at e' s 932 t owns. They mai nt ai n t hat t he OGSML cont ai ns a
super sessi on cl ause t hat expr essl y pr eempt s al l l ocal zoni ng
l aws, l i ke t hose enact ed by t he Towns, whi ch r est r i ct or f or bi d
- 6 -
- 7 - Nos. 130 & 131
oi l and gas oper at i ons on r eal pr oper t y wi t hi n a muni ci pal i t y.
The Towns, j oi ned by ot her ami ci cur i ae, r espond t hat t he cour t s
bel ow cor r ect l y concl uded t hat t hey act ed wi t hi n t hei r home r ul e
aut hor i t y i n adopt i ng t he chal l enged l ocal l aws. They ur ge t hat
t he abi l i t y of l ocal i t i es t o r est r i ct t he i ndust r i al use of l and
wi t h t he ai ms of pr eser vi ng t he char act er i st i cs of t hei r
communi t i es and pr ot ect i ng t he heal t h, saf et y and gener al wel f ar e
of t hei r ci t i zens i mpl i cat es t he ver y essence of muni ci pal
gover nance. They f ur t her cont end t hat , when anal yzed under t he
pr i nci pl es set f or t h i n our pr ecedent , t he OGSML and i t s
super sessi on cl ause do not ext i ngui sh t hei r zoni ng power s.
Unl i ke our di ssent i ng col l eagues, we bel i eve t hat t he Towns have
t he bet t er ar gument .
Our anal ysi s begi ns wi t h a r evi ew of t he sour ce of
muni ci pal aut hor i t y t o r egul at e l and use and t he l i mi t s t he St at e
may i mpose on t hi s power . Ar t i cl e I X, t he " home r ul e" pr ovi si on
of t he New Yor k Const i t ut i on, st at es t hat " ever y l ocal gover nment
shal l have power t o adopt and amend l ocal l aws not i nconsi st ent
wi t h t he pr ovi si ons of t hi s const i t ut i on or any gener al l aw . . .
except t o t he ext ent t hat t he l egi sl at ur e shal l r est r i ct t he
adopt i on of such a l ocal l aw" ( NY Const , ar t I X, § 2 [ c] [ i i ] ) .
To i mpl ement t hi s const i t ut i onal mandat e, t he St at e Legi sl at ur e
enact ed t he Muni ci pal Home Rul e Law, whi ch empower s l ocal
gover nment s t o pass l aws bot h f or t he " pr ot ect i on and enhancement
of [ t hei r ] physi cal and vi sual envi r onment " ( Muni ci pal Home Rul e
- 7 -
- 8 - Nos. 130 & 131
Law § 10 [ 1] [ i i ] [ a] [ 11] ) and f or t he " gover nment , pr ot ect i on,
or der , conduct , saf et y, heal t h and wel l - bei ng of per sons or
pr oper t y t her ei n" ( Muni ci pal Home Rul e Law § 10 [ 1] [ i i ] [ a]
[ 12] ) . The Legi sl at ur e l i kewi se aut hor i zed t owns t o enact zoni ng
l aws f or t he pur pose of f ost er i ng " t he heal t h, saf et y, mor al s, or
t he gener al wel f ar e of t he communi t y" ( Town Law § 261; see
al so St at ut e of Local Gover nment s § 10 [ 6] [ gr ant i ng t owns " t he
power t o adopt , amend and r epeal zoni ng r egul at i ons" ] ) . As a
f undament al pr ecept , t he Legi sl at ur e has r ecogni zed t hat t he
l ocal r egul at i on of l and use i s " [ a] mong t he most si gni f i cant
power s and dut i es gr ant ed . . . t o a t own gover nment " ( Town Law
§ 272- a [ 1] [ b] ) .
We, t oo, have desi gnat ed t he r egul at i on of l and use
t hr ough t he adopt i on of zoni ng or di nances as one of t he cor e
power s of l ocal gover nance ( see DJ L Rest . Cor p. v Ci t y of New
Yor k, 96 NY2d 91, 96 [ 2001] ) . Wi t hout quest i on, muni ci pal i t i es
may " enact l and- use r est r i ct i ons or cont r ol s t o enhance t he
qual i t y of l i f e by pr eser vi ng t he char act er and desi r abl e
aest het i c f eat ur es of [ t he communi t y] " ( Tr ust ees of Uni on Col l .
i n Town of Schenect ady i n St at e of N. Y. v Member s of Schenect ady
Ci t y Counci l , 91 NY2d 161, 165 [ 1997] [ i nt er nal quot at i on mar ks
and ci t at i on omi t t ed] ) . And we have r epeat edl y hi ghl i ght ed t he
br eadt h of a muni ci pal i t y' s zoni ng power s t o " pr ovi de f or t he
devel opment of a bal anced, cohesi ve communi t y" i n consi der at i on
of " r egi onal needs and r equi r ement s" ( Mat t er of Ger nat t Asphal t
- 8 -
- 9 - Nos. 130 & 131
Pr ods. v Town of Sar di ni a, 87 NY2d 668, 683 [ 1996] ; see
al so Udel l v Haas, 21 NY2d 463, 469 [ 1968] [ " Under l yi ng t he
ent i r e concept of zoni ng i s t he assumpt i on t hat zoni ng can be a
vi t al t ool f or mai nt ai ni ng a ci vi l i zed f or mof exi st ence. " ] ) .
That bei ng sai d, as a pol i t i cal subdi vi si on of t he
St at e, a t own may not enact or di nances t hat conf l i ct wi t h t he
St at e Const i t ut i on or any gener al l aw ( see Muni ci pal Home Rul e
Law § 10 [ 1] [ i ] , [ i i ] ) . Under t he pr eempt i on doct r i ne, a l ocal
l aw pr omul gat ed under a muni ci pal i t y' s home r ul e aut hor i t y must
yi el d t o an i nconsi st ent st at e l aw as a consequence of " t he
unt r ammel ed pr i macy of t he Legi sl at ur e t o act wi t h r espect t o
mat t er s of St at e concer n" ( Al bany Ar ea Bl dr s. Assn. v Town of
Gui l der l and, 74 NY2d 372, 377 [ 1989] [ i nt er nal quot at i on mar ks,
el l i pses and ci t at i on omi t t ed] ) . But we do not l i ght l y pr esume
pr eempt i on wher e t he pr eemi nent power of a l ocal i t y t o r egul at e
l and use i s at st ake. Rat her , we wi l l i nval i dat e a zoni ng l aw
onl y wher e t her e i s a " cl ear expr essi on of l egi sl at i ve i nt ent t o
pr eempt l ocal cont r ol over l and use" ( Ger nat t , 87 NY2d at 682) .
Awar e of t hese pr i nci pl es, Nor se and CHC do not di sput e
t hat , absent a st at e l egi sl at i ve di r ect i ve t o t he cont r ar y,
muni ci pal i t i es woul d or di nar i l y possess t he home r ul e aut hor i t y
t o r est r i ct t he use of l and f or oi l and gas act i vi t i es i n
f ur t her ance of l ocal i nt er est s. They cl ai m, however , t hat t he
St at e Legi sl at ur e has cl ear l y expr essed i t s i nt ent t o pr eempt
zoni ng l aws of l ocal gover nment s t hr ough t he OGSML' s
- 9 -
- 10 - Nos. 130 & 131
" super sessi on cl ause, " whi ch r eads:
" The pr ovi si ons of t hi s ar t i cl e [ i . e. , t he
OGSML] shal l super sede al l l ocal l aws or
or di nances r el at i ng t o t he r egul at i on of t he
oi l , gas and sol ut i on mi ni ng i ndust r i es; but
shal l not super sede l ocal gover nment
j ur i sdi ct i on over l ocal r oads or t he r i ght s
of l ocal gover nment s under t he r eal pr oper t y
t ax l aw" ( ECL 23- 0303 [ 2] [ emphasi s added] ) .
Accor di ng t o Nor se and CHC, t hi s pr ovi si on shoul d be i nt er pr et ed
br oadl y t o r each zoni ng l aws t hat r est r i ct , or as pr esent ed her e,
pr ohi bi t oi l and gas act i vi t i es, i ncl udi ng hydr of r acki ng, wi t hi n
muni ci pal boundar i es.
We do not exami ne t he pr eempt i ve sweep of t hi s
super sessi on cl ause on a bl ank sl at e. The scope of sect i on 23-
0303 ( 2) must be const r ued i n l i ght of our deci si on i n Mat t er of
Fr ew Run Gr avel Pr ods. v Town of Car r ol l ( 71 NY2d 126 [ 1987] ) ,
whi ch ar t i cul at ed t he anal yt i cal f r amewor k t o det er mi ne whet her a
super sessi on cl ause expr essl y pr eempt s a l ocal zoni ng l aw.
Ther e, we hel d t hat t hi s quest i on may be answer ed by consi der i ng
t hr ee f act or s: ( 1) t he pl ai n l anguage of t he super sessi on cl ause;
( 2) t he st at ut or y scheme as a whol e; and ( 3) t he r el evant
l egi sl at i ve hi st or y. The goal of t hi s t hr ee- par t i nqui r y, as
wi t h any st at ut or y i nt er pr et at i on anal ysi s, i s t o di scer n t he
Legi sl at ur e' s i nt ent .
3
Bef or e appl yi ng t he t r i par t i t e t est t o
3
I n Fr ew Run, we f ound t hat t he pr eempt i on i ssue was a
mat t er of st at ut or y const r uct i on and not a sear ch f or i mpl i ed
pr eempt i on because t he Legi sl at ur e had i ncl uded an expr ess
super sessi on cl ause wi t hi n t he Mi ned Land Recl amat i on Law, t he
r el evant st at ut or y scheme ( see Fr ew Run, 71 NY2d at 130- 131) .
- 10 -
- 11 - Nos. 130 & 131
t he super sessi on cl ause at i ssue, i t i s necessar y t o di scuss Fr ew
Run i n mor e det ai l as t hat pr ecedent bear s di r ect l y on t he
out come of t hese cases.
At i ssue i n Fr ew Run was t he val i di t y of t he Town of
Car r ol l ' s zoni ng or di nance est abl i shi ng a zoni ng di st r i ct wher e
sand and gr avel oper at i ons wer e not per mi t t ed. A company seeki ng
t o open a sand and gr avel mi ne i n t he t own chal l enged t he zoni ng
l aw, ar gui ng t hat i t was pr eempt ed by t he super sessi on cl ause i n
t he st at ewi de Mi ned Land Recl amat i on Law ( MLRL) , whi ch, at t he
t i me, pr ovi ded:
" For t he pur poses st at ed her ei n, t hi s t i t l e
shal l super sede al l ot her st at e and l ocal
l aws r el at i ng t o t he ext r act i ve mi ni ng
i ndust r y; pr ovi ded, however , t hat not hi ng i n
t hi s t i t l e shal l be const r ued t o pr event any
l ocal gover nment f r omenact i ng l ocal zoni ng
or di nances or ot her l ocal l aws whi ch i mpose
st r i ct er mi ned l and r ecl amat i on st andar ds or
r equi r ement s t han t hose f ound her ei n" ( ECL
23- 2703 [ f or mer ( 2) ] [ emphasi s added] ) .
We r ej ect ed t he mi ni ng company' s cont ent i on t hat t he
cl ause pr eempt ed t he l and use r est r i ct i on, expl ai ni ng t hat t he
pl ai n l anguage of t he phr ase " l ocal l aws r el at i ng t o t he
ext r act i ve mi ni ng i ndust r y" di d not encompass zoni ng pr ovi si ons.
I nst ead, we hel d t hat t he zoni ng l aw " r el at es not t o t he
ext r act i ve mi ni ng i ndust r y but t o an ent i r el y di f f er ent subj ect
mat t er and pur pose . . . t he use of l and i n t he Town of Car r ol l "
( Fr ew Run, 71 NY2d at 131 [ i nt er nal quot at i on mar ks and ci t at i on
omi t t ed] ) . Dr awi ng a di st i nct i on bet ween l ocal r egul at i ons
addr essi ng " t he act ual oper at i on and pr ocess of mi ni ng" and
- 11 -
- 12 - Nos. 130 & 131
zoni ng l aws r egul at i ng l and use gener al l y, we concl uded t hat onl y
t he f or mer cat egor y was pr eempt ed by t he MLRL' s super sessi on
cl ause ( i d. at 133) . I n ef f ect , l ocal l aws t hat pur por t ed t o
r egul at e t he " how" of mi ni ng act i vi t i es and oper at i ons wer e
pr eempt ed wher eas t hose l i mi t i ng " wher e" mi ni ng coul d t ake pl ace
wer e not ( see i d. at 131) .
We f ur t her det er mi ned t hat our pl ai n l anguage
const r uct i on of t he super sessi on cl ause i n Fr ew Run was
consi st ent wi t h t he MLRL as a whol e and i t s l egi sl at i ve hi st or y
- - t he second and t hi r d f act or s. We not ed t hat t he bi nar y
pur poses of t he MLRL wer e " t o f ost er a heal t hy, gr owi ng mi ni ng
i ndust r y" and t o " ai d i n assur i ng t hat l and damaged by mi ni ng
oper at i ons i s r est or ed t o a r easonabl y usef ul and at t r act i ve
condi t i on" ( i d. at 132 [ i nt er nal quot at i on mar ks and ci t at i on
omi t t ed] ) , and t hat t he l egi sl at i ve hi st or y r ef l ect ed a goal of
pr omot i ng t he " mi ni ng i ndust r y by t he adopt i on of st andar d and
uni f or mr est r i ct i ons and r egul at i ons t o r epl ace t he exi st i ng
pat chwor k syst emof l ocal or di nances" ( i d. [ i nt er nal quot at i on
mar ks, br acket s and ci t at i on omi t t ed] ) . Fr omt he st at ut or y
scheme and l egi sl at i ve hi st or y, we di scer ned t hat t he " sol e
pur pose" of t he super sessi on cl ause was t o pr event l ocal i t i es
f r omenact i ng or di nances " deal i ng wi t h t he act ual oper at i on and
pr ocess of mi ni ng" because such l aws woul d " f r ust r at e t he
st at ut or y pur pose of encour agi ng mi ni ng t hr ough st andar di zat i on
of r egul at i ons per t ai ni ng t o mi ni ng oper at i ons" ( i d. at 133) . I n
- 12 -
- 13 - Nos. 130 & 131
cont r ast , zoni ng l aws r est r i ct i ng t he l ocat i on of mi ni ng
oper at i ons wi t hi n a t own f el l out si de t he pr eempt i ve or bi t of t he
cl ause because " not hi ng i n t he Mi ned Land Recl amat i on Law or i t s
hi st or y . . . suggest s t hat i t s r each was i nt ended t o be br oader
t han necessar y t o pr eempt conf l i ct i ng r egul at i ons deal i ng wi t h
mi ni ng oper at i ons and r ecl amat i on of mi ned l ands" ( i d. ) .
Gui ded by t hese pr i nci pl es, we now appl y Fr ew Run' s
t hr ee- par t i nqui r y t o t he OGSML' s super sessi on cl ause.
( 1) Pl ai n Language
The f i r st f act or i n assessi ng whet her a super sessi on
pr ovi si on pr eempt s l ocal cont r ol over l and use r equi r es us t o
exami ne t he wor ds of t he cl ause i t sel f . And because t he t ext of
a st at ut or y pr ovi si on " i s t he cl ear est i ndi cat or of l egi sl at i ve
i nt ent " ( Mat t er of Dai ml er Chr ysl er Cor p. v Spi t zer , 7 NY3d 653,
660 [ 2006] ) , t hi s f act or i s most i mpor t ant .
The oper at i ve t ext of t he OGSML' s super sessi on cl ause
i s qui t e cl ose t o t he pr ovi si on we anal yzed i n Fr ew Run,
pr eempt i ng l ocal l aws " r el at i ng t o t he r egul at i on of t he oi l , gas
and sol ut i on mi ni ng i ndust r i es" ( ECL 23- 0303 [ 2] ; compar e ECL 23-
2703 [ f or mer ( 2) ] [ pr eempt i ng l ocal l aws " r el at i ng t o t he
ext r act i ve mi ni ng i ndust r y" ] ) . Based on t he si mi l ar i t i es bet ween
t he t wo st at e st at ut es, we decl i ne t he i nvi t at i on of Nor se and
CHC t o ascr i be a br oader meani ng t o t he l anguage used i n t he
OGSML. To t he cont r ar y, t he di st i nct i on we dr ew i n Fr ew Run
appl i es wi t h equal f or ce her e, such t hat ECL 23- 0303 ( 2) i s most
- 13 -
- 14 - Nos. 130 & 131
nat ur al l y r ead as pr eempt i ng onl y l ocal l aws t hat pur por t t o
r egul at e t he act ual oper at i ons of oi l and gas act i vi t i es, not
zoni ng or di nances t hat r est r i ct or pr ohi bi t cer t ai n l and uses
wi t hi n t own boundar i es. Pl ai nl y, t he zoni ng l aws i n t hese cases
ar e di r ect ed at r egul at i ng l and use gener al l y and do not at t empt
t o gover n t he det ai l s, pr ocedur es or oper at i ons of t he oi l and
gas i ndust r i es. Al t hough t he zoni ng l aws wi l l undeni abl y have an
i mpact on oi l and gas ent er pr i ses, as i n Fr ew Run, " t hi s
i nci dent al cont r ol r esul t i ng f r omt he muni ci pal i t y' s exer ci se of
i t s r i ght t o r egul at e l and use t hr ough zoni ng i s not t he t ype of
r egul at or y enact ment r el at i ng t o t he [ oi l , gas and sol ut i on
mi ni ng i ndust r i es] whi ch t he Legi sl at ur e coul d have envi si oned as
bei ng wi t hi n t he pr ohi bi t i on of t he st at ut e" ( Fr ew Run, 71 NY2d
at 131) .
Never t hel ess, Nor se and CHC, r el yi ng on t he secondar y
cl ause i n t he OGSML' s super sessi on pr ovi si on - - pr eser vi ng " l ocal
gover nment j ur i sdi ct i on over l ocal r oads or t he r i ght s of l ocal
gover nment s under t he r eal pr oper t y t ax l aw" ( ECL 23- 0303 [ 2] ) - -
cont end t hat t he oper at i ve t ext cannot be l i mi t ed t o l ocal l aws
t hat pur por t t o r egul at e t he act ual oper at i ons of oi l and gas
compani es. They submi t t hat t he secondar y cl ause' s exempt i on of
l ocal j ur i sdi ct i on over r oads and t axes makes sense onl y i f t he
pr eempt i ve span of t he oper at i ve t ext i s br oader t han we have
al l owed because r oads and t axes ar e not associ at ed wi t h
" oper at i ons. " Consequent l y, t hey ar gue t hat t her e woul d have
- 14 -
- 15 - Nos. 130 & 131
been no need f or t he Legi sl at ur e t o excl ude t hemf r omt he
oper at i ve l anguage i f super sessi on was l i mi t ed t o l ocal l aws
ai med at oi l and gas oper at i ons.
We f i nd t hi s t ext ual ar gument mi spl aced because l ocal
r egul at i on of r oads and t axes can f ai r l y be char act er i zed as
t ouchi ng on t he oper at i ons of t he oi l and gas i ndust r i es and
woul d have been pr eempt ed absent t he secondar y savi ngs cl ause.
The St at e Legi sl at ur e' s deci si on t o pr eser ve " l ocal gover nment
j ur i sdi ct i on over l ocal r oads" was appr opr i at e gi ven t he heavy
t r uck and equi pment t r af f i c t ypi cal l y associ at ed wi t h oi l and gas
pr oduct i on, i ncl udi ng wat er and wast ewat er haul i ng. Local l aws
di ct at i ng t he number of dai l y t r uck t r i ps or t he wei ght and
l engt h of vehi cl es bear di r ect l y on i ndust r y oper at i ons and woul d
ot her wi se be pr eempt ed absent t he secondar y cl ause. Si mi l ar l y,
t he pr eser vat i on of " t he r i ght s of l ocal gover nment s under t he
r eal pr oper t y t ax l aw" must be r ead i n conj unct i on wi t h sect i on
594 of t he Real Pr oper t y Tax Law, whi ch al l ows muni ci pal i t i es t o
i mpose t axes on oi l and gas busi nesses. Because t hese speci al
t axes ar e based on t he l evel of pr oduct i on, t hey can be vi ewed as
af f ect i ng t he oper at i ons of t he oi l and gas i ndust r y, such t hat
i t was r easonabl e f or t he Legi sl at ur e t o car ve out an except i on
f r omt he pr eempt i ve scope of t he oper at i ve t ext . We ar e
t her ef or e unper suaded by t he cl ai mof Nor se and CHC t hat t he
pl ai n l anguage of ECL 23- 0303 ( 2) as a whol e suppor t s pr eempt i on
- 15 -
- 16 - Nos. 130 & 131
of t he Towns' zoni ng l aws.
4
I ndeed, i t i s i nst r uct i ve t o compar e t he OGSML' s
super sessi on cl ause t o ot her st at ut es t hat cl ear l y pr eempt home
r ul e zoni ng power s. Unl i ke ECL 23- 0303 ( 2) , such pr ovi si ons
of t en expl i ci t l y i ncl ude zoni ng i n t he pr eempt i ve l anguage
empl oyed by t he Legi sl at ur e ( see e. g. ECL 27- 1107 [ pr ohi bi t i ng
muni ci pal i t i es f r omr equi r i ng " any appr oval , consent , per mi t ,
cer t i f i cat e or ot her condi t i on i ncl udi ng conf or mi t y wi t h l ocal
4
Nor se and CHC al so asser t t hat we shoul d not f ol l ow Fr ew
Run because of a di f f er ence bet ween t he l anguage used i n t he
super sessi on cl ause i n t hat case and t he OGSML' s super sessi on
pr ovi si on. They poi nt out t hat t he savi ngs por t i on of t he MLRL
cl ause di scussed i n Fr ew Run expl i ci t l y pr eser ved t he abi l i t y of
muni ci pal i t i es t o enact " l ocal zoni ng or di nances" ( ECL 23- 2703
[ f or mer ( 2) ] ) and cont end t hat , had t he Legi sl at ur e i nt ended t o
r eser ve l ocal zoni ng power s i n t he OGSML' s super sessi on cl ause,
i t woul d have si mi l ar l y i ncl uded t hose power s i n t he secondar y
exempt i on l anguage. But Nor se' s and CHC' s posi t i on does not
wi t hst and cl oser scr ut i ny. The savi ngs cl ause i n Fr ew Run di d
not br oadl y pr ot ect al l l ocal zoni ng l aws; r at her , i t r eser ved
onl y " l ocal zoni ng or di nances or ot her l ocal l aws whi ch i mpose
st r i ct er mi ned l and r ecl amat i on st andar ds or r equi r ement s t han
t hose f ound [ i n t he MLRL] " ( ECL 23- 2703 [ f or mer ( 2) ] [ emphasi s
added] ) . I n Fr ew Run, we expl ai ned t hat al t hough t he pr eempt i ve
r each of t he oper at i ve t ext pr ecl uded any l ocal l aw pur por t i ng t o
r egul at e t he oper at i ons of mining act i vi t i es, t he l i mi t ed car ve-
out al l owed muni ci pal i t i es t o adopt mor e st r i ngent r equi r ement s
f or di st i nct reclamation oper at i ons, a r esul t t hat was
" consi st ent wi t h t he st at ut e' s over - al l ai mof pr ot ect i ng t he
envi r onment " ( Fr ew Run, 71 NY2d at 133) . Cont r ar y t o t he
suggest i on of Nor se and CHC, we di d not uphol d t he t own' s zoni ng
r est r i ct i on i n Fr ew Run based on t he secondar y savi ngs cl ause - -
i t di d not f al l wi t hi n t hat pr ovi si on because i t was not ai med at
r ecl amat i on pr oj ect s. Rat her , we hel d mor e gener al l y t hat t he
pr eempt i ve t ext si mpl y di d not encompass t he zoni ng l aw i n t he
f i r st pl ace. So t oo wi t h t he oper at i ve por t i on of t he OGSML' s
super sessi on pr ovi si on.
- 16 -
- 17 - Nos. 130 & 131
zoni ng or l and use l aws and or di nances" f or t he si t i ng of
hazar dous wast e f aci l i t i es] ; Ment al Hygi ene Law § 41. 34 [ f ] [ " A
communi t y r esi dence est abl i shed pur suant t o t hi s sect i on and
f ami l y car e homes shal l be deemed a f ami l y uni t , f or t he pur poses
of l ocal l aws and or di nances. " ] ; Raci ng, Par i - Mut uel Wager i ng and
Br eedi ng Law § 1366 [ " Not wi t hst andi ng any i nconsi st ent pr ovi si on
of l aw, gami ng aut hor i zed at a l ocat i on pur suant t o t hi s ar t i cl e
shal l be deemed an appr oved act i vi t y f or such l ocat i on under t he
r el evant ci t y, count y, t own, or vi l l age l and use or zoni ng
or di nances, r ul es, or r egul at i ons. " ] ) .
Fur t her , t he l egi sl at i ve schemes of whi ch t hese
pr eempt i on cl auses ar e a par t t ypi cal l y i ncl ude ot her st at ut or y
saf eguar ds t hat t ake i nt o account l ocal consi der at i ons t hat
ot her wi se woul d have been pr ot ect ed by t r adi t i onal muni ci pal
zoni ng power s ( see e. g. ECL 27- 1103 [ 2] [ g] [ r equi r i ng t he
Depar t ment of Conser vat i on t o consi der t he " i mpact on t he
muni ci pal i t y wher e t he f aci l i t y i s t o be si t ed i n t er ms of
heal t h, saf et y, cost and consi st ency wi t h l ocal pl anni ng, zoni ng
or l and use l aws and or di nances" ] ; Ment al Hygi ene Law § 41. 34 [ c]
[ al l owi ng muni ci pal i t i es a means of obj ect i ng t o t he pl acement of
communi t y r esi dent i al f aci l i t i es] ; Raci ng, Par i - Mut uel Wager i ng
and Br eedi ng Law § 1320 [ 2] [ mandat i ng t he consi der at i on of l ocal
i mpact s and communi t y suppor t i n t he si t i ng of gami ng
f aci l i t i es] ) . Nor se and CHC ar e unabl e t o poi nt t o any
compar abl e measur es i n t he OGSML t hat account f or t he sal i ent
- 17 -
- 18 - Nos. 130 & 131
l ocal i nt er est s i n t he cont ext of dr i l l i ng and hydr of r acki ng
act i vi t i es.
I n sum, t he pl ai n l anguage of ECL 23- 0303 ( 2) does not
suppor t pr eempt i on wi t h r espect t o t he Towns' zoni ng l aws.
( 2) St at ut or y Scheme
The second f act or r el evant t o di scer ni ng whet her a
super sessi on cl ause pr eempt s l ocal zoni ng power s i nvol ves an
assessment of t he cl ause' s r ol e i n t he st at ut or y f r amewor k as a
whol e. We t her ef or e t ur n t o t he OGSML - - ar t i cl e 23 of t he
Envi r onment al Conser vat i on Law.
The st at ed pur poses of t he OGSML ar e f our f ol d: ( i ) " t o
r egul at e t he devel opment , pr oduct i on and ut i l i zat i on of nat ur al
r esour ces of oi l and gas i n t hi s st at e i n such a manner as wi l l
pr event wast e" ; ( i i ) " t o aut hor i ze and t o pr ovi de f or t he
oper at i on and devel opment of oi l and gas pr oper t i es i n such a
manner t hat a gr eat er ul t i mat e r ecover y of oi l and gas may be
had" ; ( i i i ) t o pr ot ect t he " cor r el at i ve r i ght s of al l owner s and
t he r i ght s of al l per sons i ncl udi ng l andowner s and t he gener al
publ i c" ; and ( i v) t o r egul at e " t he under gr ound st or age of gas,
t he sol ut i on mi ni ng of sal t and geot her mal , st r at i gr aphi c and
br i ne di sposal wel l s" ( ECL 23- 0301) .
I n f ur t her ance of t hese goal s, t he OGSML set s f or t h a
det ai l ed r egi me under whi ch t he New Yor k St at e Depar t ment of
Envi r onment al Conser vat i on i s ent r ust ed t o r egul at e oi l , gas and
sol ut i on mi ni ng act i vi t i es and t o pr omul gat e and enf or ce
- 18 -
- 19 - Nos. 130 & 131
appr opr i at e r ul es. I n par t i cul ar , t he Depar t ment i s empower ed t o
" [ r ] equi r e t he dr i l l i ng, casi ng, oper at i on, pl uggi ng and
r epl uggi ng of wel l s and r ecl amat i on of sur r oundi ng l and i n
accor dance wi t h t he r ul es and r egul at i ons of t he depar t ment " ( ECL
23- 0305 [ 8] [ d] ) ; ent er and pl ug or r epl ug abandoned wel l s when
t he owner has vi ol at ed Depar t ment r egul at i ons ( ECL 23- 0305 [ 8]
[ e] ) ; compel oper at or s t o f ur ni sh t he Depar t ment wi t h a bond t o
ensur e compl i ance ( ECL 23- 0305 [ 8] [ k] ) ; or der t he i mmedi at e
suspensi on of dr i l l i ng oper at i ons t hat ar e i n vi ol at i on of
Depar t ment r egul at i ons ( ECL 23- 0305 [ 8] [ g] ) ; r equi r e oper at or s
t o f i l e wel l l ogs and sampl es wi t h t he Depar t ment ( ECL 23- 0305
[ 8] [ i ] ) ; gr ant wel l per mi t s f or oi l and gas dr i l l i ng ( ECL 23-
0501) ; i ssue or der s gover ni ng t he appr opr i at e spaci ng bet ween oi l
and gas wel l s t o pr omot e ef f i ci ent dr i l l i ng and pr event wast e
( ECL 23- 0503) ; over see t he i nt egr at i on of oi l and gas f i el ds t o
pr event wast e ( ECL 23- 0701, 23- 0901) ; execut e l eases on behal f of
t he St at e f or oi l and gas expl or at i on and pr oduct i on ( ECL 23-
1101) ; and i ssue per mi t s f or under gr ound st or age r eser voi r s ( ECL
23- 1301) .
Based on t hese pr ovi si ons, i t i s r eadi l y appar ent t hat
t he OGSML i s concer ned wi t h t he Depar t ment ' s r egul at i on and
aut hor i t y r egar di ng t he saf et y, t echni cal and oper at i onal aspect s
of oi l and gas act i vi t i es acr oss t he St at e. The super sessi on
cl ause i n ECL 23- 0303 ( 2) f i t s comf or t abl y wi t hi n t hi s
l egi sl at i ve f r amewor k si nce i t i nval i dat es l ocal l aws t hat woul d
- 19 -
- 20 - Nos. 130 & 131
i nt r ude on t he Depar t ment ' s r egul at or y over si ght of t he
i ndust r y' s oper at i ons, t her eby ensur i ng uni f or mexpl or at or y and
ext r act i on pr ocesses r el at ed t o oi l and gas pr oduct i on. Si mi l ar
t o t he scope of t he MLRL i n Fr ew Run, we per cei ve not hi ng i n t he
var i ous pr ovi si ons of t he OGSML i ndi cat i ng t hat t he super sessi on
cl ause was meant t o be br oader t han r equi r ed t o pr eempt
conf l i ct i ng l ocal l aws di r ect ed at t he t echni cal oper at i ons of
t he i ndust r y.
And cont r ar y t o t he posi t i on advanced by Nor se and CHC,
we see no i nconsi st ency bet ween t he pr eser vat i on of l ocal zoni ng
aut hor i t y and t he OGSML' s pol i ci es of pr event i ng " wast e" and
pr omot i ng a " gr eat er ul t i mat e r ecover y of oi l and gas" ( ECL 23-
0301) , or t he st at ut e' s spaci ng pr ovi si ons f or wel l s ( see ECL 23-
0501, 23- 0503) . Wast e i s used as a t er mof ar t i n t he OGSML
meani ng, among ot her t hi ngs, t he " i nef f i ci ent , excessi ve or
i mpr oper use of , or t he unnecessar y di ssi pat i on of r eser voi r
ener gy" and t he " l ocat i ng, spaci ng, dr i l l i ng, equi ppi ng,
oper at i ng, or pr oduci ng of any oi l or gas wel l or wel l s i n a
manner whi ch causes or t ends t o cause r educt i on i n t he quant i t y
of oi l or gas ul t i mat el y r ecover abl e" ( ECL 23- 0101 [ 20] [ b] ,
[ c] ) . The OGSML' s over r i di ng concer n wi t h pr event i ng wast e i s
l i mi t ed t o i nef f i ci ent or i mpr oper dr i l l i ng act i vi t i es t hat
r esul t i n t he unnecessar y wast e of nat ur al r esour ces. Not hi ng i n
t he st at ut e poi nt s t o t he concl usi on t hat a muni ci pal i t y' s
deci si on not t o per mi t dr i l l i ng equat es t o wast e. The OGSML' s
- 20 -
- 21 - Nos. 130 & 131
r el at ed goal of ensur i ng a " gr eat er ul t i mat e r ecover y" and i t s
wel l - spaci ng pr ovi si ons - - desi gned t o l i mi t t he number of wel l s
t hat may be dr i l l ed i nt o an under gr ound pool of oi l or gas - - ar e
l i kewi se di r ect l y r el at ed t o t he concept of wast e pr event i on and
do not compel a di f f er ent r esul t . As t he Appel l at e Di vi si on
bel ow apt l y obser ved i n t he Dr yden case:
" t he wel l - spaci ng pr ovi si ons of t he OGSML
concer n t echni cal , oper at i onal aspect s of
dr i l l i ng and ar e separ at e and di st i nct f r oma
muni ci pal i t y' s zoni ng aut hor i t y, such t hat
t he t wo do not conf l i ct , but r at her , may
har moni ousl y coexi st ; t he zoni ng l aw wi l l
di ct at e i n whi ch, i f any, di st r i ct s dr i l l i ng
may occur , whi l e t he OGSML i nst r uct s
oper at or s as t o t he pr oper spaci ng of t he
uni t s wi t hi n t hose di st r i ct s i n or der t o
pr event wast e" ( 108 AD3d at 37) .
Consequent l y, our i nt er pr et at i on of t he OGSML' s
super sessi on cl ause i s consi st ent wi t h t he over ar chi ng st at ut or y
st r uct ur e.
5
( 3) Legi sl at i ve Hi st or y
The t hi r d and f i nal f act or f or r evi ew i n deci di ng
whet her t he super sessi on cl ause pr eempt s l ocal zoni ng power s
5
Nor se and CHC al so cl ai mt hat t he OGSML' s pol i cy of
pr ot ect i ng cor r el at i ve r i ght s ( see ECL 23- 0301) mi l i t at es i n
f avor of a br oader r eadi ng of t he super sessi on cl ause. But t he
concept of cor r el at i ve r i ght s - - under whi ch " each l andowner i s
ent i t l ed t o be compensat ed f or t he pr oduct i on of t he oi l or gas
l ocat ed i n t he pool beneat h hi s or her pr oper t y r egar dl ess of t he
l ocat i on of t he wel l t hat ef f ect s i t s r emoval " - - i s not
synonymous wi t h t he r i ght t o dr i l l ( Mat t er of West er n Land
Ser vs. , I nc. v Depar t ment of Envt l . Conser vat i on of St at e of
N. Y. , 26 AD3d 15, 17 [ 3d Dept 2005] ) . Mor eover , our r eadi ng of
t he super sessi on cl ause i s i n accor d wi t h ECL 23- 0301' s st at ed
pur pose of ensur i ng t he r i ght s of t he " gener al publ i c. "
- 21 -
- 22 - Nos. 130 & 131
r equi r es t hat we exami ne t he OGSML' s l egi sl at i ve hi st or y.
The r oot s of t he OGSML ext end back t o t he I nt er st at e
Compact t o Conser ve Oi l and Gas, a mul t i - st at e agr eement cr eat ed
i n 1935 and sanct i oned by Congr ess t o addr ess t he nat i onal
pr obl emof over pr oduct i on of oi l and gas pool s and t he r esul t i ng
wast e caused by unchecked, unspaced and i nef f i ci ent dr i l l i ng. I n
1941, New Yor k j oi ned t he I nt er st at e Compact , whose sol e pur pose
was " t o conser ve oi l and gas by t he pr event i on of physi cal wast e
t her eof f r omany cause" ( ECL 23- 2101 [ codi f i cat i on of t he
I nt er st at e Compact ] ) . Mor e t han 20 year s l at er , i n conj unct i on
wi t h New Yor k' s par t i ci pat i on i n t he I nt er st at e Compact , t he
St at e Legi sl at ur e enact ed a compr ehensi ve st at ut or y f r amewor k f or
pr omot i ng t he conser vat i on of oi l and gas r esour ces - - t he
f or er unner t o t he OGSML - - i n sect i on 70 et seq. of t he f or mer
Conser vat i on Law ( L 1963, ch 959) . As or i gi nal l y enact ed, t he
st at ut e' s st at ed pol i cy was, i n par t , " t o f ost er , encour age and
pr omot e t he devel opment , pr oduct i on and ut i l i zat i on of nat ur al
r esour ces of oi l and gas i n t hi s st at e i n such a manner as wi l l
pr event wast e" ( f or mer Conser vat i on Law § 70) .
6
I n 1978, t he St at e Legi sl at ur e amended t he OGSML t o
6
I n 1972, t he r el evant por t i ons of t he Conser vat i on Law
wer e r epl aced wi t h t he Envi r onment al Conser vat i on Law, and
sect i on 70 et seq. of t he Conser vat i on Law was r ecodi f i ed at
sect i on 23- 0101 et seq. of t he Envi r onment al Conser vat i on Law ( L
1972, ch 664, § 2) . A year l at er , t he st at ut or y r egi me was
denomi nat ed t he OGSML by t he Legi sl at ur e ( L 1973, ch 922, § 2;
see al so ECL 23- 0102) .
- 22 -
- 23 - Nos. 130 & 131
modi f y i t s pol i cy by r epl aci ng t he phr ase " t o f ost er , encour age
and pr omot e t he devel opment , pr oduct i on and ut i l i zat i on of
nat ur al r esour ces of oi l and gas i n t hi s st at e i n such a manner
as wi l l pr event wast e" wi t h " t o r egul at e t he devel opment ,
pr oduct i on and ut i l i zat i on of nat ur al r esour ces of oi l and gas i n
t hi s st at e i n such a manner as wi l l pr event wast e" ( ECL 23- 0301,
as amended by L 1978, ch 396, § 1 [ emphasi s added] ) . The
l egi sl at i on al so t r ansf er r ed t he t ask of encour agi ng and
pr omot i ng t he pr udent devel opment of New Yor k' s ener gy r esour ces
t o t he Ener gy Law ( see Ener gy Law § 3- 101, as amended by L 1978,
ch 396, § 2) f or t he pur pose of est abl i shi ng " t he Ener gy Of f i ce
as t he St at e agency pr i mar i l y r esponsi bl e f or pr omot i ng t he
devel opment of ener gy r esour ces" and r emovi ng " such pr omot i onal
r esponsi bi l i t i es f r omt he Depar t ment of Envi r onment al
Conser vat i on whi ch woul d, however , r et ai n r egul at or y
r esponsi bi l i t i es over such r esour ces" ( Gover nor ' s Pr ogr amBi l l
Mem, Bi l l J acket , L 1978, ch 396) .
Subsequent l y, t he super sessi on cl ause at i ssue was
adopt ed by t he St at e Legi sl at ur e i n 1981 i n conj unct i on wi t h
amendment s t o var i ous st at ut es such as t he Fi nance Law, t he ECL
and t he Real Pr oper t y Tax Law ( L 1981, ch 846) . The 1981
amendment s al so i mposed new dr i l l i ng f ees ( see ECL 23- 1903, as
added by L 1981, ch 846, § 14) , cr eat ed monet ar y sanct i ons f or
vi ol at i ons of t he OGSML ( see ECL 71- 1307, as added by L 1981, ch
846, § 17) , and set up an oi l and gas f und. The l egi sl at i ve
- 23 -
- 24 - Nos. 130 & 131
hi st or y r ef l ect s t hat , pr i or t o t he amendment s, t he Depar t ment of
Envi r onment al Conser vat i on had been unabl e " t o ef f ect i vel y
r egul at e and ser vi ce t he i ndust r y" because r ecent gr owt h i n
dr i l l i ng had exceeded t he Depar t ment ' s capabi l i t i es ( Sponsor ' s
Mem, Bi l l J acket , L 1981, ch 846) . Expl ai ni ng t hat t he
Depar t ment was f i ndi ng i t di f f i cul t t o f ul f i l l i t s " r egul at or y
r esponsi bi l i t i es" under i t s exi st i ng f undi ng and power s, Gover nor
Hugh Car ey conf i r med t hat t he amendment s wer e needed t o pr ovi de
t he Depar t ment wi t h t he moni es r equi r ed t o i mpl ement i t s " updat ed
r egul at or y pr ogr ams" as wel l as " addi t i onal enf or cement power s
necessar y t o enabl e i t t o pr ovi de f or t he ef f i ci ent , equi t abl e
and envi r onment al l y saf e devel opment of t he St at e' s oi l and gas
r esour ces" ( Gover nor ' s Appr oval Mem, Bi l l J acket , L 1981, ch
846) . The l egi sl at i ve hi st or y, however , sheds no addi t i onal
l i ght on t he super sessi on cl ause, r ef er enci ng i t onl y once wi t h
no el abor at i on ( see Budget Repor t on Bi l l s, Bi l l J acket , L 1981,
ch 846 [ " The exi st i ng and amended oi l and gas l aw woul d super sede
al l l ocal l aws or or di nances r egul at i ng t he oi l , gas, and
sol ut i on mi ni ng i ndust r i es. " ] ) .
Not hi ng i n t he l egi sl at i ve hi st or y under mi nes our vi ew
t hat t he super sessi on cl ause does not i nt er f er e wi t h l ocal zoni ng
l aws r egul at i ng t he per mi ssi bl e and pr ohi bi t ed uses of muni ci pal
l and. I ndeed, t he per t i nent passages make no ment i on of zoni ng
at al l , much l ess evi nce an i nt ent t o t ake away l ocal l and use
power s. Rat her , t he hi st or y of t he OGSML and i t s pr edecessor
- 24 -
- 25 - Nos. 130 & 131
makes cl ear t hat t he St at e Legi sl at ur e' s pr i mar y concer n was wi t h
pr event i ng wast ef ul oi l and gas pr act i ces and ensur i ng t hat t he
Depar t ment had t he means t o r egul at e t he t echni cal oper at i ons of
t he i ndust r y.
I n sum, appl i cat i on of t he t hr ee Fr ew Run f act or s - -
t he pl ai n l anguage, st at ut or y scheme and l egi sl at i ve hi st or y - -
t o t hese appeal s l eads us t o concl ude t hat t he Towns
appr opr i at el y act ed wi t hi n t hei r home r ul e aut hor i t y i n adopt i ng
t he chal l enged zoni ng l aws. We can f i nd no l egi sl at i ve i nt ent ,
much l ess a r equi si t e " cl ear expr essi on, " r equi r i ng t he
pr eempt i on of l ocal l and use r egul at i ons.
I I I .
As a f al l back posi t i on, Nor se and CHC suggest t hat ,
even i f t he OGSML' s super sessi on cl ause does not pr eempt al l
l ocal zoni ng l aws, i t shoul d be i nt er pr et ed as pr eempt i ng zoni ng
or di nances, l i ke t he t wo her e, t hat compl et el y pr ohi bi t
hydr of r acki ng. I n t hei r vi ew, suppor t ed by t he di ssent , i t may
be val i d t o r est r i ct oi l and gas oper at i ons f r omcer t ai n
r esi dent i al ar eas of a t own - - much l i ke t he zoni ng l aw i n Fr ew
Run - - but an out r i ght ban goes t oo f ar and cannot be seen as
anyt hi ng but a l ocal l aw t hat r egul at es t he oi l and gas i ndust r y,
t her eby r unni ng af oul of t he super sessi on cl ause. But t hi s
cont ent i on i s f or ecl osed by Mat t er of Ger nat t Asphal t Pr ods. v
Town of Sar di ni a ( 87 NY2d 668 [ 1996] ) , our deci si on f ol l owi ng
Fr ew Run.
- 25 -
- 26 - Nos. 130 & 131
I n Ger nat t - - deci ded af t er t he Legi sl at ur e had
codi f i ed Fr ew Run' s hol di ng i n an amendment t o t he MLRL' s
super sessi on cl ause - - t he Town of Sar di ni a amended i t s zoni ng
or di nance t o el i mi nat e al l mi ni ng as a per mi t t ed use t hr oughout
t he t own. A mi ni ng company chal l enged t he zoni ng l aw under t he
MLRL' s super sessi on cl ause and, i n an ar gument mi r r or i ng t he one
advanced by Nor se and CHC, asser t ed t hat Fr ew Run l ef t
" muni ci pal i t i es wi t h t he l i mi t ed aut hor i t y t o det er mi ne i n
whi ch zoni ng di st r i ct s mi ni ng may be conduct ed but not t he
aut hor i t y t o pr ohi bi t mi ni ng i n al l zoni ng di st r i ct s" ( Ger nat t ,
87 NY2d at 681 [ emphasi s i n or i gi nal ] ) . We squar el y r ej ect ed
t hi s cr amped r eadi ng of Fr ew Run, r ei t er at i ng t hat " zoni ng
or di nances ar e not t he t ype of r egul at or y pr ovi si on t he
Legi sl at ur e f or esaw as pr eempt ed by t he Mi ned Land Recl amat i on
Law; t he di st i nct i on i s bet ween or di nances t hat r egul at e pr oper t y
uses and or di nances t hat r egul at e mi ni ng act i vi t i es" ( i d. at 681-
682 [ emphasi s omi t t ed] ) . We hel d t hat not hi ng i n Fr ew Run or t he
MLRL obl i gat ed a t own t hat " cont ai ns ext r act abl e mi ner al s . . .
t o per mi t t hemt o be mi ned somewher e wi t hi n t he muni ci pal i t y"
( i d. at 683) . Put di f f er ent l y, i n a passage t hat has par t i cul ar
r esonance her e, we expl ai ned:
" A muni ci pal i t y i s not obl i ged t o per mi t t he
expl oi t at i on of any and al l nat ur al r esour ces
wi t hi n t he t own as a per mi t t ed use i f
l i mi t i ng t hat use i s a r easonabl e exer ci se of
i t s pol i ce power s t o pr event damage t o t he
r i ght s of ot her s and t o pr omot e t he i nt er est s
of t he communi t y as a whol e" ( i d. at 684) .
- 26 -
- 27 - Nos. 130 & 131
Mani f est l y, Dr yden and Mi ddl ef i el d engaged i n a
r easonabl e exer ci se of t hei r zoni ng aut hor i t y as cont empl at ed i n
Ger nat t when t hey adopt ed l ocal l aws cl ar i f yi ng t hat oi l and gas
ext r act i on and pr oduct i on wer e not per mi ssi bl e uses i n any zoni ng
di st r i ct s. The Towns bot h st udi ed t he i ssue and act ed wi t hi n
t hei r home r ul e power s i n det er mi ni ng t hat gas dr i l l i ng woul d
per manent l y al t er and adver sel y af f ect t he del i ber at el y-
cul t i vat ed, smal l - t own char act er of t hei r communi t i es. And
cont r ar y t o t he di ssent ' s post ur e, t her e i s no meani ngf ul
di st i nct i on bet ween t he zoni ng or di nance we uphel d i n Ger nat t ,
whi ch " el i mi nat e[ d] mi ni ng as a per mi t t ed use" i n Sar di ni a ( i d.
at 683) , and t he zoni ng l aws her e cl assi f yi ng oi l and gas
dr i l l i ng as pr ohi bi t ed l and uses i n Dr yden and Mi ddl ef i el d.
Hence, Nor se' s and CHC' s posi t i on t hat t he t own- wi de nat ur e of
t he hydr of r acki ng bans r ender ed t hemunl awf ul i s wi t hout mer i t ,
as ar e t hei r r emai ni ng cont ent i ons.
I V.
At t he hear t of t hese cases l i es t he r el at i onshi p
bet ween t he St at e and i t s l ocal gover nment subdi vi si ons, and
t hei r r espect i ve exer ci se of l egi sl at i ve power . These appeal s
ar e not about whet her hydr of r acki ng i s benef i ci al or det r i ment al
t o t he economy, envi r onment or ener gy needs of New Yor k, and we
pass no j udgment on i t s mer i t s. These ar e maj or pol i cy quest i ons
f or t he coor di nat e br anches of gover nment t o r esol ve. The
di scr et e i ssue bef or e us, and t he onl y one we r esol ve t oday, i s
- 27 -
- 28 - Nos. 130 & 131
whet her t he St at e Legi sl at ur e el i mi nat ed t he home r ul e capaci t y
of muni ci pal i t i es t o pass zoni ng l aws t hat excl ude oi l , gas and
hydr of r acki ng act i vi t i es i n or der t o pr eser ve t he exi st i ng
char act er of t hei r communi t i es. Ther e i s no di sput e t hat t he
St at e Legi sl at ur e has t hi s r i ght i f i t chooses t o exer ci se i t .
But i n l i ght of ECL 23- 0303 ( 2) ' s pl ai n l anguage, i t s pl ace
wi t hi n t he OGSML' s f r amewor k and t he l egi sl at i ve backgr ound, we
cannot say t hat t he super sessi on cl ause - - added l ong bef or e t he
cur r ent debat e over hi gh- vol ume hydr of r acki ng and hor i zont al
dr i l l i ng i gni t ed - - evi nces a cl ear expr essi on of pr eempt i ve
i nt ent . The zoni ng l aws of Dr yden and Mi ddl ef i el d ar e t her ef or e
val i d.
* * *
Accor di ngl y, i n each case, t he or der of t he Appel l at e
Di vi si on shoul d be af f i r med, wi t h cost s.
- 28 -
Mat t er of Wal l ach, et c. v Town of Dr yden, et al .
Cooper st own Hol st ei n Cor por at i on v Town of Mi ddl ef i el d
No. 130 & 131 - EFP - J une 24, 2014 - DOWN
PI GOTT, J . ( di ssent i ng) :
Envi r onment al Conser vat i on Law § 23- 0303 ( 2) st at es
t hat " [ t ] he pr ovi si ons of t hi s ar t i cl e shal l super sede al l l ocal
l aws or or di nances r el at i ng t o t he r egul at i on of t he oi l , gas and
sol ut i on mi ni ng i ndust r i es; but shal l not super sede l ocal
gover nment j ur i sdi ct i on over l ocal r oads or t he r i ght s of l ocal
gover nment s under t he r eal pr oper t y t ax l aw" ( emphasi s suppl i ed) .
Muni ci pal i t i es may wi t hout a doubt r egul at e l and use t hr ough
enact ment of zoni ng l aws, but , i n my vi ew, t he par t i cul ar zoni ng
or di nances i n t hese cases r el at e t o t he r egul at i on of t he oi l ,
gas and sol ut i on mi ni ng i ndust r i es and t her ef or e encr oach upon
t he Depar t ment of Envi r onment al Conser vat i on' s r egul at or y
aut hor i t y. For t hi s r eason, I r espect f ul l y di ssent .
The zoni ng or di nances of Dr yden and Mi ddl ef i el d do mor e
t hat j ust r egul at e l and use, t hey r egul at e oi l , gas and sol ut i on
mi ni ng i ndust r i es under t he pr et ext of zoni ng ( see Zoni ng
Or di nance of t he Town of Dr yden § 2104 [ 1] [ Pr ohi bi t ed Uses: ( 1)
Pr ohi bi t i on agai nst t he Expl or at i on f or or Ext r act i on of Nat ur al
Gas and/ or Pet r ol eum] and Zoni ng Or di nance of t he Town of
Mi ddl ef i el d, Ar t i cl e I I [ B] [ 7] and Ar t i cl e V [ a] [ " Pr ohi bi t ed
Uses: Heavy i ndust r y and al l oi l , gas or sol ut i on mi ni ng and
- 1 -
- 2 - No. 130 & 131
dr i l l i ng ar e pr ohi bi t ed uses" ] ) .
I n Mat t er of Fr ew Run Gr avel Pr ods. v Town of Car r ol l
( 71 NY2d 126 [ 1987] ) - - a case i nvol vi ng a super sessi on cl ause
cont ai ned i n t he Mi ned Land Recl amat i on Law ( " MLRL" ) ( see f or mer
ECL 23- 2703 [ 2] )
1
- - we made cl ear t hat t her e i s a di st i nct i on
bet ween zoni ng or di nances t hat r egul at e l and use and l ocal
or di nances t hat r egul at e t he mi ni ng i ndust r y. The f or mer , whi ch
i nvol ve t he di vi si on of t he muni ci pal i t y i nt o zones and t he
est abl i shment of per mi t t ed uses wi t hi n t hose zones, r el at e not t o
t he ext r act i ve mi ni ng i ndust r y, but r at her , t o t he r egul at i on of
l and use gener al l y ( see Fr ew Run, 71 NY2d at 131) .
The or di nances her e, however , do mor e t han j ust
" r egul at e l and use gener al l y" ( i d. ) , t hey pur por t t o r egul at e t he
oi l , gas and sol ut i on mi ni ng act i vi t i es wi t hi n t he r espect i ve
t owns, cr eat i ng a bl anket ban on an ent i r e i ndust r y wi t hout
speci f yi ng t he zones wher e such uses ar e pr ohi bi t ed. I n l i ght of
t he l anguage of t he zoni ng or di nances at i ssue - - whi ch go i nt o
gr eat det ai l concer ni ng t he pr ohi bi t i ons agai nst t he st or age of
gas, pet r ol eumexpl or at i on and pr oduct i on mat er i al s and equi pment
i n t he r espect i ve t owns - - i t i s evi dent t hat t hey go above and
beyond zoni ng and, i nst ead, r egul at e t hose i ndust r i es, whi ch i s
1
Thi s st at ut e pr ovi ded t hat t he MLRL " shal l super sede al l
st at e and l ocal l aws r el at i ng t o t he ext r act i ve mi ni ng i ndust r y,
pr ovi ded, however , t hat not hi ng i n t hi s t i t l e shal l be const r ued
t o pr event any l ocal gover nment f r omenact i ng l ocal or di nances or
ot her l ocal l aws whi ch i mpose st r i ct er mi ned l and r ecl amat i on
st andar ds or r equi r ement s t hat t hose f ound her ei n. "
- 2 -
- 3 - No. 130 & 131
excl usi vel y wi t hi n t he pur vi ew of t he Depar t ment of Envi r onment al
Conser vat i on. I n t hi s f ashi on, pr ohi bi t i on of cer t ai n act i vi t i es
i s, i n ef f ect , r egul at i on.
Unl i ke t he si t uat i on i n Mat t er of Ger nat t Asphal t
Pr ods. v Town of Sar di ni a ( 87 NY2d 668 [ 1996] ) - - whi ch i nvol ved
a zoni ng or di nance t hat el i mi nat ed mi ni ng as a per mi t t ed use i n
al l di st r i ct s - - t he or di nances i n t hese appeal s do mor e t han
j ust del i neat e pr ohi bi t ed uses. Wher e zoni ng or di nances encr oach
upon t he DEC' s r egul at or y aut hor i t y and ext end beyond t he
muni ci pal i t y' s power t o r egul at e l and use gener al l y, t he
or di nances have r un af oul of ECL § 23- 0303 ( 2) .
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
For Each Case: Or der af f i r med, wi t h cost s. Opi ni on by J udge
Gr af f eo. Chi ef J udge Li ppman and J udges Read, Ri ver a and Abdus-
Sal aamconcur . J udge Pi got t di ssent s i n an opi ni on i n whi ch
J udge Smi t h concur s.
Deci ded J une 30, 2014
- 3 -

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