Earlier this week, Governor Andrew Cuomo voiced a new take on how hydrofracking should be regulated. YNN's Chris Whalen spoke with stakeholders in the Southern Tier to get their thoughts on 'home rule.'
BROOME COUNTY, N.Y. -- Residents in Vestal continue to pack the Town Hall as the debate over hydrofracking carries on. Wednesday evening, Vestal Residents for Safe Energy presented another 500 signatures to the Board from people who oppose the technique for extracting gas.
"Five hundred more signatures brings our total to over two thousand signatures, a historic moment in Vestal town history. That's never been done before. We're pressing the Board for a moratorium. We think it's in the best interest of the town," said Sue Rapp of Vestal Residents for Safe Energy.
'The best interest of the town' is a sentiment echoed by Governor Andrew Cuomo earlier this week, who said that if fracking is legalized, individual municipalities should be able to weigh in on whether or not gas companies should drill in their community.
In the City of Binghamton, Mayor Matt Ryan and the previous City Council believed the best interest of their community was to ban fracking for two years.
Even though the law passed in December prohibits gas companies from entering the city, Ryan is still unsatisfied with Cuomo's recent stance.
"To divide and conquer this state is the wrong way to go, everyone should have the same protections, equal protections. The real thing the governor should do is scrap the SGEIS, start over," Ryan said.
Some in favor of hydrofracking say 'home rule' is a good idea, but also think individual towns, like Vestal, don't have the means to make a decision at this time.
"They do not have professionals here to further that, they don't have the funds, and remind everybody that the Town of Vestal is $20 million in the red and going in the red every year, so they certainly don't have the resources to try and address this issue," said Bob Poloncic of the Vestal Landowners Coalition.
Regardless of whether home rule is a deciding factor in an individual community, the State DEC will still have to render a decision on the legality of fracking.