To date, the drilling industry has been largely playing catch-up with the well-organized and star-studded anti-fracking movement in the lead-up to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision about whether to allow the controversial natural gas drilling technique in the Marcellus Shale, despite the fact that big oil arguably has more resources at its disposal than the environmentalists.

But one drilling company, Lenape Resources, has been playing hardball lately, first shutting down its existing vertical wells in the Town of Avon – and shutting off free natural gas to a number of cusomters, including the town, in the process – to protest a local fracking moratorium.

Now Lenape is threatening to sue the state Department of Environmental Conservation if it does not step in to extinguish the bans in Avon and neighboring Caledonia, arguing they are illegal because a 1981 law indicates state law supersedes local law in regulation of gas development.

The question of the legality of local bans and moratoria is currently being debated in court. Judges have so far sided with the municipalities (Dryden and Middlefield), upholding their efforts to keep fracking outside their borders.

DEC Request for Enforcement