The town board for Wawarsing, a town in Ulster County, New York (lower Hudson Valley, near New York City) illegally banned hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) at a town board meeting last Thursday night. The vote was unanimous, following a public hearing where not one person stood up for liberty and the Constitutional property rights of landowners. This is how democracy dies—when no one stands up for our hard-won rights.
Not that Wawarsing’s actions make a hill of beans worth of difference. There’s no retrievable Marcellus Shale gas to be had under the town anyway. Still, it’s the principle that’s at stake—that a simple majority of two or three people on a town board can strip away the property rights for everyone in the town with a simple vote.