On September 19, NRDC announced the launch of its new Community Defense Fracking Project in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois and North Carolina.  NRDC explained that the Project will offer assistance to local governments in these states “that want added control over the siting of and/or protections against the harms of fracking in their communities.”  In particular, NRDC will assist in drafting local laws and land use plans relating to fracking and defend related zoning provisions and other local laws in court.  NRDC indicated that the Project was established to defend a community’s “right to enact local laws to project public health, safety, morals, and general welfare.”

In these five states, the Project will focus on both preventing the impacts of fracking where the practice is not common and securing communities’ rights where fracking is occurring.  NRDC notes that fracking is not widely practiced in three of the states – New York (where there is currently a de facto moratorium on fracking pending state agency review), Illinois and North Carolina.  In the other two states (Pennsylvania and Ohio), NRDC indicates that communities are “already experiencing the impacts of fracking.”