By MARY ESCHAssociated Press
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Environmentalists and the energy industry are asking a court to decide their battle over previous rulings allowing New York towns to ban drilling for natural gas using high-volume hydraulic fracturing.
In arguments Thursday, a lawyer for Norse Energy told a four-judge Appellate Division panel that state law clearly says localities don't have the power to prevent oil and gas development.
An attorney for an environmental group countered that the law doesn't say local governments can't ban the process known as fracking, it simply says they can't regulate drilling.
A decision is expected in about six weeks.
New York has had a moratorium on fracking for almost five years while other states that sit atop the Marcellus Shale formation have allowed fracking for gas.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.