UPDATE: One of the leading opponents of the natural gas extraction method of hydraulic fracturing - or fracking - in Sullivan County and New York State cheered the appellate court's decision to uphold local drilling bans.
"It's a huge day for communities in New York," said Wes Gillingham of Sullivan County-based Catskill Mountainkeeper.
Five towns in Sullivan have passed laws to ban fracking. Two, Delaware and Fremont, passed resolutions supporting it.
In Ulster County, Marbletown, New Paltz, Olive, Woodstock, and Saugerties are among the municipalities that have banned fracking, while Warwick did the same in Orange.
-- Steve Israel
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- New York's top court has ruled that local officials can approve zoning laws to ban hydraulic fracturing within their borders.
The state Court of Appeals on Monday affirmed a lower court ruling that state oil and gas law doesn't trump the authority of local governments to control land use.
The two "fracking" cases have been closely watched by drillers hoping to tap into New York's piece of the Marcellus Shale formation and by environmentalists.
Drilling opponents say more than 170 towns have passed bans or moratoriums.
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