Skip to main content

Dryden: The Small Town That Changed The Fracking Game

Watch the true story of people who discovered their shared strength and turned the tables on a powerful industry.

"The industry kept saying: 'We have the power; you have none. We are coming. Get out of the way or leave,'" says Joanne Cipolla-Dennis, recalling what happened when the oil and gas industry came to her town of Dryden, NY.

But Joanne and her neighbors came up with a plan. This is the true story of people who discovered their shared strength and turned the tables on a powerful industry.

This story offers hope and important lessons for communities trying to protect themselves.

What Happened Next:

Earthjustice and the Town of Dryden succeeded in third rounds of litigation, with the case going up to New York’s highest court.

On June 30, 2014, the New York Court of Appeals ruled that the towns of Dryden and Middlefield can use local zoning laws to ban heavy industry, including oil and gas operations, within municipal borders. The decision gave legal backing to the more than 170 New York municipalities that passed measures to protect residents from the impacts of the controversial oil and gas development technique.

The following year, the state of New York finalized a state-wide ban on fracking.

Communities across the country stood up to the fracking industry, passing bans and limits on fracking and defending their right to do so in court. And when the oil and gas industry tried to bully communities into backing down, communities fought back.

More Videos

Rigged No More

One day, Pawnee Tribal member Walter Echo-Hawk stumbled upon a worrying scene. Next to his home, oil and gas workers were surveying for fracking. The U.S. government had approved 17 oil and gas leases on Pawnee land without consulting or even notifying the Tribal members. This is the story of how that happened, and how the Pawnee Nation fought back.

Fight Offshore Oil & Gas Drilling

For years, Earthjustice has fought reckless proposals to drill in our oceans. With your help, we’ll continue to battle the Trump administration’s attempts to reverse permanent protections for the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, and to expand offshore drilling.