There has been a bonanza of hydrofracking news and events this summer, and especially this month, with two specific events coming this week. The public hearings on the issue in both Skaneateles and Spafford in recent weeks have been highly attended, and the opposition has not been shy in voicing their criticism. The Skaneateles Lake Association and Otisco Lake Preservation Association both have been working adamantly against the practice, and a new group, called Citizens to Protect Spafford Watersheds, has recently formed and attended the Aug. 11 town board public hearing there; they have an online petition in support of banning hydrofracking in Spafford, and are having a meeting 7 p.m. Aug. 17 at Borodino Hall.
The Skaneateles Town Board will decide Thursday, Aug. 18, if it will extend its current moratorium on the practice while it completes drawing up a law to ban it outright.
There has been a huge outcry in opposition to hydrofracking in our watershed and our region. And yet, so far, in attending the meetings and talking to residents and receiving letters to the editor, we have yet to hear from anyone in our area that actually supports hydrofracking.
Is there really nobody out there that supports it? Our position at the Press is one of opposition, yet we also believe in — in fact we insist upon — hearing both sides of an issue. So let’s for a second play devil’s advocate.
We’ve heard that hydrofracking would create job growth not only in the fracking itself but also in the construction to create it, that it would increase regional revenue, and it would also contribute extra (corporate) money to the state and local tax coffers. By leasing the land, farmers are also making money they might not otherwise get.
One complaint is the increased truck traffic and spill dangers. But, if a huge farm were built outside of town, would that not create just as much shipping of livestock, produce, milk, manure, hay and straw, supplies, etc., etc., not to mention the smell? Think about it: we all would rejoice at the new business of a major farm opening up, yet we lash out at the drilling industrialization which will create about the same amount of truck traffic.
Again, we at the Press do not support hydrofracking in our area, but we do support vigorous and open debate on a subject. We fear that the utter lack of support for hydrofracking — and therefore the complete void of supporting viewpoints — may not be the best thing for this debate.
As Thomas Jefferson put it, if all the American people know all of the facts they will never make a mistake.