The state’s highest court will hear the lawsuit over the Village of Painted Post’s bulk sale of water for shale gas drilling in Pennsylvania.

The Court of Appeals, located in Albany, accepted the case this week, said Hammondsport attorney and Sierra Club member Rachel Treichler, who is involved with the lawsuit.

The Court of Appeals is very selective and only takes about seven percent of the cases appealed to it, Treichler said.

She hopes the justices consider municipalities selling off large amounts of public water for uses such as gas drilling to be a significant issue.

“It could be that they think this is an important issue statewide,” said Treichler, comparing it to the recent decision by the Court of Appeals that upheld municipalities’ right to enact local bans on fracking.

In the coming weeks, all parties involved will be filing documents related to the case, but Treichler isn’t sure when the Court of Appeals justices might hear oral arguments.

Painted Post Mayor Roz Crozier declined comment Friday about the case going to the Court of Appeals because he’d just found out and didn’t have any information yet.

The Harris Beach law firm in Rochester has been handling the case on behalf of the village and SWEPI LP, a Shell subsidiary that has been buying the water for its gas drilling operations in Tioga County, Pa.

Deb Sawyer, a spokeswoman for SWEPI LP, said attorneys were just beginning to review the Court of Appeals’ decision to take the case but sent the following statement via email: “We believe the appellate court made the correct ruling and are looking forward to the NY Court of Appeals reviewing this matter.”

Painted Post has been selling a million gallons of water a day throughout the summer and fall shipping it to Tioga County on the Wellsboro & Corning Railroad. For comparison, an Olympic-size swimming pool holds 660,000 gallons of water.

In early 2012, the village signed a five-year deal worth up to $20 million, allowing it sell up to a million gallons of water per day, and a loading station was built along the railroad at the old foundry site along West Chemung Street.

In June 2012, a lawsuit was filed in state Supreme Court by environmental groups Sierra Club, People for a Healthy Environment and Coalition to Protect New York, along with five local residents.

They were concerned about the long-term impact of the water withdrawals, saying they could deplete the Corning aquifer and affect its water quality. The aquifer is a vital resource for the whole valley, not just Painted Post, and the water shouldn’t be shipped out of state, they feel.

They also raised concerns about trains running through the village and disturbing the neighborhood.

In March 2013, the state Supreme Court judge halted the operation, saying the environmental review wasn’t done properly.

The village and Shell appealed in May 2013 to the state Supreme Court’s Appellate Division, Fourth Department, located in Rochester. A panel of judges ruled in April 2014 that the plaintiffs lacked legal standing, and overturned the previous ruling.

The village then resumed selling water.

Mayor Crozier has said he plans to use the proceeds from the water sales - up to $4 million per year - as the matching share on state grants to upgrade the village’s water and sewer systems, and upgrading streets after the pipes beneath are replaced.