Case Number # 2236
An upstate New York town is fighting to preserve its way of life.
Earthjustice is representing the Town of Dryden in a court case over whether an oil and gas company should be allowed to overrule local zoning laws limiting industrial oil and gas development. The lawsuit was initially brought by the privately-held Anschutz Exploration Corporation, owned by billionaire Phillip Anschutz (net worth: $7.5 billion), against the Town of Dryden (population: 14,500).
The company brought its lawsuit after the Dryden Town Board approved a change to its zoning ordinance that prohibited use of land within the town for oil and gas development activities, including fracking. The Dryden Town Board’s unanimous, bipartisan vote followed a petition drive and a series of public hearings, in which residents spoke out 3 to 1 in favor of the change.
In February of 2012, New York State Supreme Courts ruled in favor of Dryden. Anschutz appealed the Dryden decision. In November, Norse Energy, a Norwegian company, replaced Anschutz Exploration in the litigation. The next month, Norse filed Chapter 11 Bankruptcy proceedings.
A coalition of more than 50 towns from around the state have lined up in support of Dryden.