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December 12, 2013

Hartwick passes drilling ban


“We’re going to be sitting in the catbirds seat,” said Andree Conklin, who said that New York agriculture had the opportunity to take advantage of fracking contamination in other states. “We’re going to be the best place to grow food, with the cleanest water.”

A number of people from outside of Hartwick, also spoke against the moratorium, although people from outside the town speaking at the meeting was looked on unfavorably by some of those supportive of the moratorium.

“The governor is looking at community sentiment. He’s going to take these bans and moratorium as community sentiment,” said Dick Downey of Unatego. “That could mean that your town could be red lined from gas development.”

The validity of a survey, which found 75 percent of respondents in the town of Hartwick were opposed to gas drilling, was also disputed at the meeting.

Despite the strong opinions expressed, a desire to increase communication and find common ground between people on different sides of the issue was also voiced a number of times during the hearing.

After the public comments, the board discussed the proposed law. Town supervisor David Butler expressed a desire to table the issue, but the rest of the board was inclined to vote.

In the end Julianne Sharratt, Ken Hotaling and Butler voted yes, while Fields and Anita Briggs Jones voted no, passing the moratorium.

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