Otisco passes six-month moratorium on hydrofracking

"[Gas and oil companies] may lease, but I have a hard time thinking that they're going go drill it in the near future," he said. "The real pay zone is much, much closer to Pennsylvania."

Williams agreed with Amato that the moratorium was symbolic. She stressed the importance of protecting the water of Otisco Lake that so many rely on.

"Towns in our watershed have taken a strong stand for all of us. They are saying, slow down, let's make sure if drilling is done, it is done safely and with the utmost respect for the environment and the safety of those we serve," Williams said

Siegel insists that hydrofracking does not pose a serious threat to surrounding water supplies.

"The reason for the moratorium shouldn't be related to fear of drinking water supplies being compromised in any fashion," Siegel said. "If they have any concerns it should be how they're going to handle perhaps some of the social issues."

Siegel attribute advocates against hydrofracking for bringing attention to the few instances where hydrofracking has failed - such as in Dimock, Penn., where in September 2009 an 8,000-gallon leak of hydrofacking fluids escaped into a fresh water stream. The Department of Environmental Protection attributed the failure to faulty well construction.

Siegel said hydrofracking has gone through the necessary growing pains.

"And the adversarial groups against hydrofracking have effectively gotten the gas industry to really pay attention to their practices, so when it's being done now it's being done more profoundly and environmentally safe compared to what it was done a couple years ago."

Siegel said groups like OLPA have also contributed to strong environmental safeguards in New York State.

"But many of those safeguards will be unnecessary - way over the top," he said.

Amato highlighted some of the town of Otisco's concerns related to hydrofracking, including any increases in industry that would cause taxes to increase.

"Suppose there's a lot of heavy duty truck traffic and it could affect the road systems. Our highway department could wind up having to do a lot of work fixing roads," he said.

Amato added that funding of the highway department makes up a good portion of the town's budget.

"If things increase there it could be significant," he said.

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