Does Moratorium Mean Drill To Natural Gas Drillers In Ny

08.01.12 | Sarah Harnisch

A natural gas company is threatening to sue New York state if it doesn't drop its restrictions on drilling. John Holko, president of Lenape Resources, sent a letter Thursday to the Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner saying a moratorium prohibiting natural gas drilling in the Livingston County town of Avon forced his company to shut down its wells there.  Holko said avon's moratorium and others like it violate a 1981 law that says state rules supercede local ordinances in the regulation of natural gas development. You'd think that Holko wouldn't have an argument, because there's been a state moratorium on drilling since 2008, but apparently, a moratorium isn't a ban, according to two previous court cases out of Dryden and Middlefield. This could set the stage for the real definition of moratorium, and gas drilling companies may be allowed to drill anyway unless an all-out statewide ban is enacted.