Spafford extends hydrofracking moratorium

Residents urge outright ban on drilling

— According to Fesko, a shorter moratorium sometimes allows the board more flexibility than one in place for a longer period of time.

Mary Menapace, former Spafford resident and chair of the town of Skaneateles’ hydrofracking committee, said that while under a moratorium the community can educate the board and urged residents to provide them with additional research.

Despite a majority of comments pertaining to banning, Stevens said the board wishes to gather more information and also wants to see what happens in the town of Dryden, located approximately 25 miles southwest of Spafford.

Dryden Town Board passed a hydrofracking ban last year and a court decision made Feb. 21 upheld the ban. Since the Dryden decision just came out, Germain said he didn’t think anyone should jump to any conclusions as the ban could be appealed.

“We should be entitled to that courtesy to do what is in the best interest of the town,” Stevens said. “If we draw up a ban, there will be another public hearing.”

The board members did not indicate if they were or were not entertaining the possibility of a ban at this point.

Some residents were concerned if any drilling permits have been applied for. According to Councilor Ken Lieberman, hydrofracking and oil drilling is not listed in the new zoning regulations as a permitted land use within the town.

“In the new zoning, if it’s not on the list you can’t do it,” Lieberman said.

Adams said there are no permits pending in the town and the state Department of Environmental Conservation will not entertain permits until it has completed the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement.

The DEC has received 61,000 comments during its public comment period on the SGEIS.

“No permits have been granted and won’t be until they’re done,” Adams said, adding it will be a very slow process.

Local Law No. 1 will be in effect until Feb. 23, 2013.

Miranda L. Pennock is an Eagle Newspapers contributor. She can be reached through the editor at editor@skaneatelespress.com.

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