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New York towns are now free to ban hydraulic fracturing.

New York's Court of Appeals issued the ruling this morning.

It grants individual cities and towns the right to make their own zoning regulations on whether to allow the controversial natural gas drilling process.

The precedent-setting ruling involved two New York towns that banned fracking within their borders.

Landowners associations and the natural gas industry have continued to fight lower court rulings that sided with the towns, saying it violates state law.

There has been an unofficial moratorium on hydrofracking in the Empire State since 2008 as it evaluates the environmental and quality-of-life effects of the procedure.

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