Dryden, NY: A Year at the Center of Debate Over Fracking

Dryden, NY: A Year at the Center of Debate Over Fracking by Mark Scheerer, August 6, 2012, Public News Service – NY
It’s been one year since the town board of Dryden, a rural community near Ithaca with a population of 14,000, passed a zoning ordinance prohibiting oil and gas drilling, including hydraulic fracturing, so-called fracking. While they await the appeal of a lawsuit by an oil and gas company which had leased Dryden land, and wait for the state to decide its position on fracking, townspeople look back on a year in the spotlight. Stephen Stelick, Jr., a board member who voted for the ban, was asked if people wondered why he’d take that stance, as a Republican. “I’ve actually heard that, yes. My mom always told me one good thing and that’s always to use common sense when you’re making decisions, and this one was, in my estimation, a common-sense decision. So, it had nothing to do with politics.” … New York Farm Bureau spokesperson Steve Ammerman says the decision should be up to the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation, not municipalities. And the Farm Bureau has filed a brief on behalf of the gas company suing Dryden. … Dryden’s town supervisor, Mary Ann Sumner, bases her opposition to fracking on a variety of safety and socio-economic concerns. And she’s cautiously optimistic about Governor Cuomo’s reported inclination to let local communities decide. “I’m generally thrilled that he seems to be supporting the home rule concept, but just because a municipality chooses it doesn’t make it any safer.”

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