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Town of Elbridge considers local ban on hydrofracking

Residents gathered at the Jordan-Elbridge Community Center for a public hearing on hydrofracking Thursday, Sept. 13.

Residents gathered at the Jordan-Elbridge Community Center for a public hearing on hydrofracking Thursday, Sept. 13. Nikki Treleaven

— The Elbridge Town Board held a public hearing Thursday, Sept. 13, to consider a proposal to ban the extraction of natural gas by hydraulic fracturing, also known as hydrofracking, in the town of Elbridge.

According to the United States Environmental Agency, hydraulic fracturing is a well stimulation process used to maximize the extraction of underground resources; including oil, natural gas, geothermal energy, and even water. The oil and gas industry uses hydraulic fracturing to enhance subsurface fracture systems to allow oil or natural gas to move more freely from the rock pores to production wells that bring the oil or gas to the surface.

Hydrofracking is a highly controversial issue since some people believe it poses a threat to the water supply while others believe the environmental risks are minimal, and are outweighed by the drilling procedure’s benefits to the economy.

Approximately 30 people attended the hearing, most of which had just returned from a trip to Pennsylvania where they learned firsthand what hydraulic fracturing is all about. The trip was coordinated by a former National Grid employee, Amy Lee, who also has experience in hydrogeology. Area scientists, residents and town officials all joined her on a bus and headed to different burrows of Pennsylvania where hydrofracking is used. As a result of the trip, many came back with strong opinions eager to share at the meeting.

Carl Withey, who attended the trip, feels it would be a bad idea to allow hydrofracking in Elbridge.

“I feel it’s in the best interest for this area that gas and oil companies are not allowed to do anything in the Jordan-Elbridge area,” he said. “No vertical drilling, no side drilling, no nothing. I believe the only motive for these people is pure greed.”

However, residents like Kelly Blumer of Jordan feel it’s a bit too soon to implement a ban.

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