Updated 11/02/2012 07:18 PM
Approval denied for fracking ban
More outcries against natural gas drilling in the Southern Tier Friday. It's a debate that has people strongly entrenched on opposite sides. Broome County’s Planning Department has denied the approval of a one year hydrofracking ban in the Town of Chenango. Our Elyse Mickalonis has more from one group who thinks that decision should not have been in the hands of the county.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- The hydrofracking debate was reignited Friday afternoon as residents and environmentalists from the Town of Chenango gathered in Binghamton to be heard.
"We’re requesting Miss Preston and her team to reconsider the county negative declaration and do what almost every other county in the state has done: Namely to allow the towns to decide for themselves on the is of a local moratorium on hydrofracking,” said Benjamin Perkus, a Town of Chenango resident.
The county's Planning Department recently recommended against a one year gas drilling ban in the Town of Chenango. About 1,600 people signed a petition asking for the ban. The residents and environmentalists who voiced their concerns on Friday say without a moratorium in place, they feel they won’t have enough time to study the impacts of fracking in their area.
"The intent of a moratorium it to let towns study it,” said Isaac Silberman-Gorn, Citizen Action Environmental Organizer. “There are going to be impacts on the road, anyone will admit to that, there are going to be environmental impacts and a moratorium allows time for that. That's the responsible course of action.”
They also feel the county should not have a say over what the town decides.
"We'd like to see communities able to voice their own opinions,” said Silberman-Gorn. “I think if that means taking a referendum, that's what that means. Rather than have a hierarchical government stop in and say, 'we're not going to let you make this decision for your own benefit.'"
The town can still have the final say, but they need a super majority vote to enact a one year ban. And Broome County Executive Debbie Preston’s Campaign Manager said the county did not over step it's authority, saying, "No one superseded home rule; the Town Board's vote still controls what happens to the resolution."
This is not the first battle fought over hydrofracking. The City of Binghamton recently lost a lawsuit over its moratorium.