A lawsuit has been filed against the town of Middlefield on behalf of Jennifer Huntington and other residents who have signed oil and gas leases, according to a media release from Levene, Gouldin & Thompson LLP, the Binghamton law firm retained for the effort.
The town passed a local law in June that prohibits heavy industry, including gas drilling. Other municipalities banning drilling included the towns of Springfield and Otsego.
The lawsuit seeks to declare the provisions of the town's zoning law pertaining to oil and gas drilling void and in violation of New York State law, according to the release. The release states that the local ban violates New York's Environmental Conservation Law, which states that all local municipalities are preempted from passing local laws relating to the regulation of the oil and gas industries. Towns may not pass laws prohibiting oil and gas operations since the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation is exclusively charged with the obligation to regulate the oil and gas industries in New York, it continued.
Huntington said at about 7:30 p.m. Thursday that the suit was filed that day and directed further inquiries to the press release. She did not return a call for comment several hours later.