FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
ELECTED OFFICIALS HAIL HOME RULE TO RESIST FRACKING
ALBANY NY, 18 June 2012-- Fifteen elected officials including Mayor Matt Ryan of Binghamton, City of Albany council members, and Supervisors and Town Board members from rural communities across the state, held a press conference in Albany on Monday to highlight over a hundred municipalities that have enacted ordinances to ban or forestall fracking for natural gas.
Adrian Kuzminski, Moderator of Sustainable Otsego, opened the press conference by noting that “In a little more than a year, an unprecedented, astonishing, and largely unreported grassroots resistance to fracking for natural gas has developed across NYS. In municipality after municipality, citizens have organized to oppose fracking in their communities, and their elected representatives
have responded by exercising their powers under homerule to pass moratoria and outright bans on fracking” Kuzminski also noted said that the movement “cut across party lines, bringing together Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike in defense of their communities.”
Officials spoke in front of an outsized map of New York State that depicted the extent of the ban movement. Twenty-eight communities that have banned fracking were colored in red, eighty-four with moratoria were shown in purple, and yellow was used to delineate the seventy-one municipalities that have ban movements underway.
The map and a complete list of municipalities involved was presented by Karen Edelstein, who has been documenting the ban movement for FracTracker.org. Ms. Edelstein noted that “an impressive 1.3 million residents of New York State reside in towns over the Utica Shale where local bans or moratoria are currently in place.”
Mayor Ryan said his city used its police powers to enact a ban to protect its sole source aquifer after determining that fracking, using current technology “cannot be done safely." He called on the state legislature to pass legislation that will provide protection to all New Yorkers, and criticized the Cuomo administration for possible plans to permit drilling in a five county "sacrifice zone" in the Southern Tier.
Town of Middlefield Supervisor David Bliss said his town was forced to enact a ban in order to protect vital economic sectors including tourism, agriculture and health care. This theme was echoed by James Dean, Trustee of the village of Cooperstown who said hydrofracking “would bring incalculable economic devastation to our historic village and to our world class attractions” such as the National Baseball Hall of Fame and the Glimmerglass Opera Festival.
Don Barber, Supervisor from the Town of Caroline, justified enacting a ban because “everyone experiences the effects of natural gas, but only a few reap the benefits.” He added that the success of the home rule movement proves that “voters are as powerful as corporations.” Several speakers called for a state-wide ban on fracking.
A cautionary note was sounded by Bruce Ferguson of Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy who read a recent remark by Governor Andrew Cuomo which suggested a flagrant disregard for the rule of law. Discussing the local fracking ordinances that have been upheld in court, the governor said “you could override local government, or, you could say, well, we're going to respect home rule if it is coincident with the obvious and necessary ramp up period anyway.”
The anti-fracking, home-rule movement appears to be the single greatestobstacle to fracking in New York State. Governor Cuomo, however, has yet tomeet with home-rule critics of fracking.
Adrian Kuzminski, Moderator, Sustainable Otsego adrian<at>oecblue<dot>com (607) 547-8586
Bruce Ferguson, Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy bafbafbafb<at>gmail<dot>com (845) 482 5037