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Spafford board votes for fracking moratorium

— The Spafford Town Board voted to impose a 180-day moratorium on hydraulic fracturing activities within the town.

The 4-1 vote at the board’s Sept. 8 meeting created a law known as the “2011 Moratorium Law on Hydraulic Fracturing and/or Hydrofracking of the Town of Spafford.” For a period of six months following the date of the law, no new hydraulic fracturing will be permitted by any person within the town of Spafford.

That was good news to the nearly 50 people who stuffed their way into Spafford town hall for what was not only a board meeting but also an official public hearing on the issue of hydrofracking.

After the board took care of its old business, town supervisor Webb Stevens threw the floor open for debate. He got plenty.

All of the discussion was in favor of a moratorium.

Skaneateles resident Holland Gregg provided each board member with a pamphlet before reading from prepared text. Several people took the time to read facts supporting their arguments with prepared speeches. Some people came with maps and other visual aids.

One question that kept coming up was: What will the board do when the 180 days are up?

The board was not exactly sure what it would do. “I can’t answer what’s going to happen,” Stevens said. “There’s a possibility there’s going to be more sweeping action. It just depends after our hearing ... some of the information that’s going to come out of the DEC. And the town attorneys need to be considered in this so that we will be able to make a firm and good judgment on this.”

That was music to the ears of Anita Williams, who was at the hearing as a representative of the Otisco Lake Preservation Association. Williams didn't press the board for a longer ban, but wants more done during its time span.

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