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Central NY lawyer wins $175K environment prize

ALBANY (AP) — A central New York lawyer who helped dozens of communities across the state ban fracking for shale gas has been chosen for the $175,000 Goldman Environmental Prize.

Ithaca lawyer Helen Slottje  is among six recipients from India, Peru, Russia and three other nations selected for the prize, which recognizes grass-roots activism. The San Francisco-based Goldman Environmental Foundation announced the winners on Monday.

Slottje received the award for helping communities fight shale gas development through zoning laws. Industry is fighting the bans in state court.

Slottje was nominated by the environmental group Earthjustice.

New York has not allowed shale gas development using high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, since it began an environmental review in 2008. Dozens of communities have enacted moratoriums or bans in case the state starts permitting drilling.