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New York Court of Appeals upholds fracking ban

New York State's Court of Appeals ruled Monday that individual cities have the authority to ban fracking, a.k.a. hydraulic fracturing in oil and gas drilling.

The court dismissed two lawsuits by oil and gas firms in the New York towns of Dryden and Middlefield, which have both banned fracking within their borders. The two towns sit above the Marcellus Shale, a gas-rich formation that could meet U.S. natural gas consumption for nearly six years.

For anti-fracking and environmental advocates, the decision is a major victory. USA Today reports that activists are now urging New York Governor Cuomo to ban fracking statewide.

Anti-fracking activists are concerned that the controversial practice causes methane leaks, pollutes groundwater resources, and could cause an increase in earthquakes. However, oil and gas firms deny these claims, arguing that the recent U.S. boom in fossil fuel has boosted the country's economy and given America energy security.