COOPERSTOWN – Lou Allstadt was shopping for shoes about 1:15 when the Governor’s Office phone number popped up on his cell phone.
The news – that Governor Cuomo had decided to ban fracking in New York State – was being delivered by a governor’s aide to the county’s – and one of the state’s – most formidable opponents of the controversial gas-extraction process.
“The evidence was overwhelming,” Allstadt said a few minutes later. “I’ve said that all along. Now, the studies” – peer review, mostly negative – “are piling up at a rate of one a day.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo today said on WAMC’s “The Capitol Pressroom” he expects a decision on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas will be made before the end of the year, suggesting that the Department of Health’s fracking review will reach some sort of determinative conclusion, lohud.com is reporting.
ALBANY – Governor Cuomo won’t make a decision on fracking until after the November elections, one of a number of tough decisions he’s delaying past election day, according to an AP dispatch published in Newsday, LongIsland’s newspaper.
“A decision to allow fracking would delight many in the state’s economically distressed Southern Tier, but would upset environmentalists and others opposed to the drilling,” according to the report. “Polls show New Yorkers are evenly split on the issue – meaning about half of the state will oppose whatever Cuomo does.”
I lost the Democratic Primary in the Town of Oneonta, but I am proud to say that I did so with my integrity intact. Not one negative article was written, no personal attacks were launched and petitions were not challenged.
As I visited homes throughout the town, I tried to focus on my positions and to explain my experiences in municipal governance. However, this became very difficult when I was repeatedly informed by voters that they were told – by my opponent – that I was a staunch supporter of hydraulic fracturing. Additionally, the proof of this was my association with Citizen Voices. At least the information was half right!
I do participate in Citizen Voices because I believe in the mission: To support a pro-growth economic environment which will provide job opportunities for present and future generations, while balancing the beauty of the area and preserving our natural resources.
If our critics happened to attend one of our Wednesday morning meetings they would witness some spirited debates that would clearly indicate we disagree on many other issues, but not on the core belief: Economic development can be accomplished in an environmentally responsible manner.
The contention that I support hydraulic fracturing in the Town of Oneonta is not true. I initially believed that the state Department of Environmental Conservation should be given an opportunity to act, but the Governor’s blatant political maneuvering with the Department of Health made it clear that he had no intention of allowing that to happen – at least not until after the November elections.
The excellent presentation by Chip Northrup and Lou Allstadt further convinced me that hydraulic fracturing in Otsego County was not a desirable path to economic expansion. Finally, the Court of Appeals affirmation of the lower court ruling allayed my fears that the home rule ban might be found unconstitutional.
In short, I fully support the ban and to imply otherwise is dishonest and a disservice to the voters in the Town of Oneonta.
I have been a conservationist since April 22, 1970, when, as a 19 year old, I participated in the first Earth Day celebration. I am in my third decade as a contributor to The Nature Conservancy, The Wilderness Society and The National Audubon Society.
We (with my wife Gail) drive four-cylinder cars and live in a passive solar home that was my own “green” design. By the end of October we will have a fully operational solar tracking system at our home.
On Aug. 26 – a full two weeks before the primary – I e-mailed this information to my opponent because I was concerned that the voters were being misinformed. Nothing changed and false information continued to be spread.
I believe that the voters in the Town of Oneonta are better served if they have the facts. I intend to make sure that happens in the future and I believe an open and honest public debate is the best way to accomplish this. I look forward to the opportunity.
MORRIS – In the wake of the state Court of Appeals’ June 30 decision upholding local fracking bans, Town Board member Marilyn Roveland will make a motion at Tuesday’s town board meeting calling for a ban here.
Advocates for Morris announced her intention in a press release asking ban supporters to attend the meeting and support Roveland. “Your presence and your voices are more important now than ever before,” the release says.
Attorney David Slottje of Ithaca, from the Community Environmental Defense Council, has again offered his services for free to help the town board craft a defensible fracking ban, the Advocates said.
ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has again made clear what has become increasingly obvious to both supporters and opponents of fracking: He is in no rush to make a decision, the New York Times reported yesterday.
ALBANY – The state’s highest court, 5-2, has upheld Middlefield and Dryden’s zoning laws that prohibit fracking in their borders.
The decision, issued today by the state Court of Appeals, says the state Legislature has the right to override home rule – the practice that allows localities to act on matters not addressed at the state level – but has not chosen to do so.
“The zoning laws of Dryden and Middlefield are therefore valid,” the decision concludes.
The state Court of Appeals in Albany this afternoon listened to arguments pro and con on the legality of Middlefield and Dryden’s fracking ban, but gave no hints as to which way it may go in a case that could determine where potentially lucrative — and potentially hazardous — hydrofracking for gas might happen, Newsday reports.
The state Court of Appeals, New York’s supreme court, will hear oral arguments at 2 p.m. today in Albany on whether towns can ban hydrofracking. The case before the court involves bans passed by the towns of Middlefield and Tompkins County’s Dryden.
COOPERSTOWN – Mayor Jeff Katz discusses fracking and President Obama’s visit in a guest column in the current edition of The New Republic magazine.
“The sense that, even in intense disagreement over the major issue of fracking, there was a core connection between the people and their president, that they could be opposed but still together, gave truth to the words of the (other) Boss,” he concludes.
Along with the gawkers and the hand-shake hopefuls, it seems protesters on both sides of the fracking issue may be lining village streets when President Obama comes to town on Thursday, May 22 to speak on the importance of tourism in the nation’s economy.
Otsego 2000 has organized a rally outside the Baseball Hall of Fame starting at 11:30 a.m. and will include members of Sustainable Otsego, Middlefield Neighbors, Citizen Action and other anti-fracking groups.
“Fracking has no part of sustainability,” said Julie Huntsman, an Otsego Town Board member and co-coordinator of Elected Officials to Protect New York. “It is devastating to our wineries, our breweries, our tourism – everything that makes Upstate New York special.”
“We want to send a strong message, but we want to be respectful,” she said.