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Skaneateles: Town to hear fracking comments

Residents in the town of Skaneateles will have an opportunity to speak up about a proposed local law in regard to a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing at 7:15 p.m. Thursday July 15 at Town Hall.

The public hearing on Introductory Local Law 2010-C, "2010 Moratorium Law on Hydraulic Fracturing and/or Hydrofracking of the Town of Skaneateles," would allow interested parties to comment for or against the local law.

"What this would do is give us an opportunity to evaluate what the [Department of Environmental Conservation] has done ... and study further what the town would like to do," said Supervisor Terri Roney.

The moratorium, if approved, would be in effect for six months and give the town board a chance to research hydrofracking and examine whether additional local regulation is necessary and the extent of those regulations.

According to the resolution introducing Local Law 2010-C, the board has received input from concerned residents about the procedure, which extracts natural gas from deep within the earth with the aid of water injected at high volumes, and "its potential negative impact on groundwater, surface water, the lake watershed and the environment."

While the state is reviewing the hydrofracking process and environmental impacts, the board believes a moratorium would allow the town time to review the code, study issues relating to hydrofracking and also so the town planning board, zoning board of appeals and the planning and zoning committee have time to make recommendations to the town board as to the adequacy of town code and proposals for alternative measures, according to the resolution.

"The town board is desirous of implementing a moratorium on hydrofracking to provide a reasonable but limited time to consider the difficult issues surrounding the hydrofracking issue within the town," the resolution states.

The board approved the resolution and set the public hearing for July 15.

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