Town board extends hydrofracking moratorium

Another 90 days added to give board more time to consider legal language

— In what is becoming a familiar sight in town board meetings around the region, a standing-room-only crowd turned out to oppose hydrofracking in Skaneateles during the Aug. 18 public hearing.

At issue was a 90-day extension of the current moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in the town, and a chance for local residents to voice an opinion for or against the extension.

The hearing, which lasted about 45 minutes, was full of citizens adamant and unanimous in support of the moratorium extension.

Speakers also were united and vociferous in their urging of the town board to outright ban the practice of hydrofracking the town altogether, many stating that the town board is in a position to lead the smaller surrounding towns on the issue and create a domino effect toward banning the practice everywhere in the region.

The Aug. 18 meeting was the second time the board voted to extend the original hydrofracking moratorium, which was originally enacted in 2010.

Town Supervisor Terri Roney said the board has needed additional time to allow its committees to study the issue and make recommendations to the full board. They have also been working on incorporating legal language into a public law that would characterize hydrofracking as “heavy industrial use,” which would then allow the town to regulate it, and the board has needed additional time for that as well.

Twelve people spoke out during the hearing, all citing the damage hydrofracking could do to the town, the lake, the watershed area, local businesses and citizens through health hazards, environmental and noise pollution, and increased traffic. As Dr. Paul Torrisi, President of the Skaneateles Lake Association, put it, “this will change the quality of life in Skaneateles as we know it.”

Skaneateles resident Jane Anderson asked the board to “consider seriously a ban” on hydrofracking, saying, “the consequences to many outweigh the benefit to a few.”

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