CACC, Hydrofracking Committee holds meeting

Concerned citizens had a chance to voice their concerns and get answers on the debate over hydrofracking during a meeting held at 7 p.m. May 2 in the Community Room of the Cazenovia Library.

About 30 residents were on hand to listen to information presented by local officials, members of the Cazenovia Advisory Conservation Commission and the Hydrofracking Committee. The committee is a specialized group recently appointed by CACC to investigate this controversial issue and to address measures that will protect the interests of Cazenovia residents.

"To me, this is the environmental issue of our time," said CACC member and head of the Hydrofracking Committee, Mat Webber.

Hydraulic fracturing, or "hydrofracking," is a drilling technique used to enhance the process of recovering natural gas from underground. It is a relatively recent development in the ongoing pursuit of fossil fuels, which has raised controversy because of possible health and environmental risks.

Concerns exist around the high-volume, horizontal hydrofracking, which can encompass widespread underground areas as large as a mile or mile-and-a half.

The horizontal hydrofracking is seen as a greater threat than "vertical hydrofracking" because it involves more widespread areas, uses greater volumes of water, produces more waste and more traffic in the areas, according to environmental experts.

There is currently no horizontal hydrofracking permitted in New York State, under a moratorium which remains in effect until this summer, allowing the DEC an opportunity to complete a summary of its findings on health and environmental concerns surrounding the issue.

Introduction of hydro-fracking to this area is inevitable, according to town officials present at the meeting.

"I just want to slow them down as much as I can, give the public the opportunity to have legislation in place to protect their interests," said Town of Cazenovia Supervisor Ralph Monforte.

Cazenovia attorneys John Langley and Carlos Gavilondo were also present to address legal issues which may arise with the advent of fracking, including rights of landowners. Because it is relatively new, officials in local municipalities such as Cazenovia are taking steps to gain some control of the industry on a local level, as well as pressure state lawmakers to pass laws for their protection.

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