National and State Environmental Organizations to Hold Forum on Recent Court Decisions Upholding Home Rule
On June 14, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Catskill Mountainkeeper, in conjunction with Advocates for Morris, the Butternut Valley Alliance, Otsego 2000 and the Otsego County Conservation Association, will hold a public information forum to consider how recent court decisions in the Middlefield and Dryden cases affect home rule authority in New York State. The forum will take place at the Morris Central School auditorium, 65 Main St. from 7 to 8 p.m. It will be followed by a question and answer session.
Present for the forum will be NRDC Senior Attorney Kate Sinding, NRDC Attorney Jonathan Krois and Catskill Mountainkeeper Community Organizer Betta Broad. Topics of discussion will include two recent court decisions – Norse Energy Corp. USA v. Town of Dryden and Cooperstown Holstein Corp. v. Middlefield. Discussion will also focus on how these decisions affect other communities and home rule authority.
Since 2011, approximately 208 New York communities have passed a ban or moratorium on fracking. In May the municipalities of New York State received validation for these efforts when the Third Department Appellate Division upheld the right of the towns of Middlefield in Otsego County and Dryden in Tompkins County to exclude fracking from their towns. This decision reaffirmed the fundamental principle that local communities have the right to decide for themselves what their future will look like.
“No matter what your position may be on this important issue, I hope that both local residents and elected officials will avail themselves of the opportunity to hear firsthand from the NRDC – which the New York Times has called “one of the nation’s most powerful environmental groups” – and Catskill Mountainkeeper, which has also been effective on many fronts,” said Robert Eklund, co-chair of the Butternut Valley Alliance and councilman for the town of New Lisbon.
NRDC is a nationwide environmental action group, combining the grassroots power of 1.4 million members and online activists with the legal expertise of more than 350 lawyers, scientists and other professionals. Catskill Mountainkeeper, working through a network of concerned citizens, promotes sustainable growth and protects the natural resources essential to healthy communities.