A group of upstate New York landowners has filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn a temporary ban on natural-gas drilling in the city of Binghamton.
The five property owners claim the Binghamton city council and Mayor Matthew Ryan violated state law in December when the city passed a two-year ban on drilling without first seeking approval from the county’s planning department.
The suit, filed on Wednesday, comes as New York considers whether and where to allow the controversial drilling method known as fracking.
The Marcellus Shale, a massive rock formation that runs from the Binghamton area to West Virginia, is a prime prospect for fracking, which involves blasting millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals into rock to free the gas trapped inside.
Earlier this year, two trial judges upheld permanent gas-drilling bans in the Ithaca suburb of Dryden and the town of Middlefield, near Cooperstown. In those cases, which are currently under appeal, the towns argued that banning drilling fell within their rights to regulate local land use.