Barrington fracking forum draws 45 people
BARRINGTON—Nearly 45 people attended a Barrington meeting, Tuesday, Sept. 11, to comment on hydraulic fracturing.
Supervisor Fred Wright explained the town board only wanted to hear fracking opinions from residents of Barrington or people who own property in the town. The forum was held after the town compiled responses to a questionnaire about fracking. Around half of the people present spoke to the board. Over all, the people at the meeting were against fracking taking place in Barrington or New York state.
Sally Acomb, the first resident to speak, addressed the potential harm to water. She said if the drinking water gets contaminated, some people won’t have the money to purchase desalinated water.
Ira Goldman said the town should take some action to protect against fracking, like adopting a zoning code. He said the town should not wait until the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation makes a decision on whether or not to allow fracking permits.
Skip Deneka talked about his own background with a Ph.D. in engineering. He said, “It’s important to say this technology is safe. No new technology is ever fail proof.” He added the natural gas will still be under the ground, so they should wait however long is needed to prove the procedure is safe.
Linda Petro said she has had a lease with the gas company for the last five years and there is a pipeline on her property. She said the gas company was going to put a pipe on a neighbor’s property, but stopped when the fracking controversy started. Petro said the ground was all torn up from the pipe being removed and the land was not restored. Petro added that people should “go by reports and not the hysteria of other people” in making decisions about fracking.
Marion Loudon said as a representative of the Yates County Planning Board she has seen several townships take measures to protect themselves. Her concerns were the heavy truck traffic that comes with fracking. She also asked the board, how will fracking waste affect farmlands and the lake?
Vicky Davis said she visited Wellsboro, Pa., last fall where fracking is allowed and took a “scenic” train ride through the country. She said she saw a lot of torn up fields and large plastic water containers in people’s backyards. Davis added, “we didn’t even see any birds.”
Some people questioned the surveys that went out in July. Responses were compiled by planning board Chairperson Sue Lange and presented to the town board, Aug. 29. Of 959 questionnaires mailed to residents, only 280 were returned.
Resident Eileen Farnan said she owns six pieces of property and never received the survey. She suggested a second survey be held at the town hall during the November election. She said there would be good turnout because it is a presidential election. The board asked the people present to raise their hands if they did not get a survey. Three people indicated they hadn’t.
Steve Coffman said his problem with the survey was the wording of a question: “If Horizontal Hydraulic Fracking can be done safely and in an area where the process does not harm our lakes, water, and air would you support it?” Coffman said it was a biased question and asked, under whose standards of safety? He added the gas companies have always claimed the practice is safe despite damage allegedly caused by fracking.