NY Towns Pass Resolution They WON’T Ban Fracking

Tired of New York municipalities passing ill-advised bans on fracking, and hoping to increase the chances that landowners will be “first in line” for permits when they are finally issued, a group of landowners in New York have launched a campaign to get municipalities to pass a non-binding resolution that they will not enact a ban on fracking—and it’s working.

The supporters [of gas drilling], largely represented by the Steuben County Landowners Coalition, are requesting local towns support a resolution stating they will not enact the temporary bans.

The resolution includes support for the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s draft environmental impact study, now under review. It also promotes the economic benefits from drilling to municipalities, schools and taxpayers.

Since towns do not have to take any stand on moratoriums, the non-binding resolution is important symbolically, according to Neil Vitale, an officer in the coalition.

“We wanted to counter the (moratorium) movement,” Vitale said. “We want it to be a positive statement for drilling, for the DEC.”

Supporters of drilling decided the time was right for the resolution after a recent statement by DEC Commissioner Joe Martens indicating permits could not be issued in towns with moratoriums until the temporary bans were lifted.

Vitale said that gives towns without moratoriums an edge in development, although the SCLC resolution is no guarantee the towns will be first in line.

So far three towns likely to be in the forefront of drilling – Woodhull, Jasper and Addison – have endorsed the non-binding resolution, according to Vitale.*

MDN is aware of other towns doing the same thing, including the Town of Colesville in Broome County (see this MDN story). Seems this one is catching on.

*Bath (NY) Steuben Courier (May 20, 2012) – Oil supporters seek resolution banning moratoriums