Residents pressure town for moratorium
PULTENEY—Nearly 100 citizens attended the Pulteney town board meeting, Wednesday, July 11, with some residents asking the board to reconsider its previous 3-to-2 vote against a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing.
Attendees in favor of a moratorium said one was needed to further study hydrofracking and auxiliary fracking issues, such as heavy traffic, chemical spills, increase in rental costs due to out-of-state gas workers needing housing, with locals becoming homeless as a result, camps for out-of-state workers, drinking and bodies of water contamination, the increase in meth labs and drug use, and the rise in crime rate.
Some speakers were concerned with the potential loss of their high quality way of life and many said they moved to Pulteney for this reason. Of the over 34 speakers who spoke to the board, 32 requested a moratorium. Only one spoke in favor of hydrofracking the Keuka Lake Watershed. Fred Frank, owner of Dr. Konstantin Frank’s Vinifera Winery, was one of the people in favor of a moratorium.
Jeff Andrysick, Pulteney resident, said there was already a public hearing that was open to all and that many of those who publicly commented had requested a moratorium. In addition, there already was a forum represented by four gas industry lobbyists and at another meeting one anti-fracking presenter was allowed to speak.
Peter Gamba, a Pulteney property owner and member of the Committee to Preserve the Finger Lakes, asked the town board to consider the negative effects of hydrofracking to other towns around the lake. Gamba also cited that Jerusalem township, just north of Pulteney, is protected from the negative effects of hydrofracking.
Joe Hoff, representing Keuka Citizens Against Hydrofracking, also asked the board to consider that Pulteney was the only town around Keuka Lake to vote down a moratorium against hydrofracking. And most of the towns around the lake are protected with either a moratorium or a ban related to fracking. He also stated that other towns and cities around the state have enacted bans and moratoriums to protect the health, wealth and safety of its citizenry.
The board was asked if a referendum could be done and if it would be binding. Cottage owners expressed concerns that if a referendum would take place that it should democratically include all property owners and not just voters, instead of the opposite and its precipitate of taxation without representation.