St. Johnsville, NY Town Board Votes to Ban Fracking

Another Upstate New York municipality has jumped on the “ban fracking” bandwagon. The latest is St. Johnsville (Montgomery County), NY. In a unanimous vote last week, the town board passed a one-year moratorium on fracking, ostensibly to buy time to study it more.

The St. Johnsville Town Board unanimously passed a local law this week that will impose a one-year moratorium on hydrofracking, becoming the first local municipality to temporarily ban the controversial drilling method.

Other towns have begun to draft local laws to temporarily ban fracking, including Minden, which will hold a public hearing March 14, and Oppenheim, which will hold a hearing March 20.

Officials also are concerned in Palatine, where a public information session will be held at 2 p.m. March 11 at Town Hall, and Dolgeville, which is considering a moratorium in the village, which extends into Fulton County.

The Fulton County Planning Board voted this week to remain neutral in its review of Oppenheim’s request for the ban, but some members questioned whether there was any gas to be tapped locally.

Dean Handy, chairman of St. Johnsville’s town Planning Board, said at Thursday’s public hearing the moratorium would allow the town to study the hydrofracking issue and gather more information.

Karin Yomboro of Dolgeville said the town of Manheim in Herkimer County has passed a similar moratorium.

After making sure everyone who wished to speak had the opportunity, town Supervisor Dominick Stagliano asked for a roll call vote on the local law. Each board member voted affirmative and audience members applauded.*

*Gloversville (NY) The Leader-Herald (Feb 25, 2012) – Town first to forbid drilling