Fracktivist flurry

There has been an uptick in my fracktivist activity lately. This latest activity burst started with the recent New York State Court of Appeals decision upholding the home rule rights of towns in the state to ban unconventional drilling within their borders by using their zoning/land use powers.

There followed a lot of commenting on articles in the press about the decision and also about some important new scientific studies that have been published this month, along with the usual guest viewpoints and letters to the editors that need support or fact-checking.

Earlier this evening, I attended my town board’s meeting, along with a group of fellow residents who have been asking the board to consider a moratorium for years now. Given that the board no longer has the excuse of being afraid that they will be sued, we decided to bring it up again during the open comment period near the end of the meeting.

There were at least fifteen speakers for a town moratorium or ban and only three for drilling if/when the state lifts its moratorium. I even spoke, which is unusual as I prefer to communicate by writing rather than public speaking.

The frustration was that the board wouldn’t answer any questions that we asked. They are beholden to some of the large landowners and people in the trucking and construction business, so they pretend that it is all just a matter of preference, not a matter of science and public safety.

I asked one of the leaders of the anti-frackers how she thought it went, as I really wasn’t sure. She thought it went as well as it could have under the circumstances.

I guess – for tonight – that will have to do.

NY local fracking bans upheld!

Hallelujah! The decision from the highest court in New York State just came down, affirming that towns can use their home rule zoning authority to ban shale gas extraction (aka fracking) within their borders.

On the one hand, I am very happy for the jurisdictions with bans in place. It’s a huge victory for NY fracktivists and the fantastic legal teams that have been working on these court cases at the various levels for three years.

On the other hand, I am frightened for towns like mine that have conflicts of interest on the town board with members who refuse to recuse themselves. They are on record saying that our current zoning protects us, even though it doesn’t. We need a permanent statewide ban so that the rest of the townspeople don’t get subjected to all the pollution in order for a few large landowners and related business owners to make money at the expense of our health, environment, and quality of life.

Because I live on the PA border with drilling just over the town line, we are already suffering negative impacts. Air, water, traffic, climate and other impacts don’t respect human-created borders. We need not to add to them by allowing shale drilling and related infrastructure and waste disposal to occur in New York State.

The decision is attached to this brief article:  http://polhudson.lohudblogs.com/2014/06/30/nys-top-court-says-towns-can-ban-fracking/