Sullivan County, NY Township Votes to Ban Fracking

Another one bites the dust. A township in Sullivan County—the Catskill region of New York State—has voted to ban hydraulic fracturing ahead of the state allowing it (if they allow it). The Town of Highland board voted 5-0 to ban fracking Tuesday night.

What you don’t hear about so often in the press are all of the towns voting in favor of drilling—or at least in favor of letting the DEC do it’s job and not prejudging the outcome. Anecdotal evidence MDN has heard is that something over 100 townships have voted to ban fracking (most of them not in the Marcellus Shale region), while perhaps 50 have voted to allow the DEC to do it’s job—what anti-drillers view as being supportive of drilling. Most of those are in the Marcellus Shale region.

Add another Sullivan County town to those that have banned gas drilling. The Town of Highland on Tuesday became the fourth town in the county to ban high impact industrial uses such as the horizontal natural gas extraction method of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” Its Town Board voted 5-0 for a such a ban.

Highland, which borders the Delaware River, joined its neighbors to the north, Tusten and Bethel, and its southern neighbor, Lumberland, to change its zoning for the ban. The votes were unanimous in all four towns.

The Highland move is significant because it comes before the state finally decides whether fracking can proceed, and what the regulations would be if it’s allowed.*

Ultimately, the courts will decide whether or not the fracking bans will stand.

*Middletown (NY) Times Herald-Record (Jul 12, 2012) – Highland becomes 4th Sullivan town to ban fracking