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450 Signatures Presented to Middleburgh Against Fracking

Written By Editor on 9/19/14 | 9/19/14

Last Thursday the Middleburgh Town Board had a lively debate about the potential merits and dangers of fracking. Most of the conversation warned against the practice, with various fears regarding the possibility of it coming to Schoharie County.

Village Trustee William Morton with the help of several volunteers received a series of signatures asking the Town Board to ban hydrofracking within its borders. The petition specifically asks for the Town Board to pass the "Slottje provisions," written by two attorneys as a watertight law unlikely to be overturned in appellate court.

The 450 signatures represent a large segment of the Town's population, noted Trustee Morton. He stated that upwards of 80% of those asked to sign did so.

In order to pass the Slottje provisions into law, the Town Board must first set and hold a public hearing. There was a lively debate over whether to set this hearing among the members.

Council member Susan Makely said that the signatures represent many people that want something done immediately.

Supervisor James Buzon, who has struggled to convince the Town Board to agree to ban fracking, agreed.

Council member Frank Herodes said that he did not like mention of how natural gas development could affect deer hunting. He said that he did not like hunting.

After a spirited debate, the Board voted 5-0 to set the public hearing on the Slottje provisions. While it is unclear if the provisions will pass next month, it is the farthest the discussion has gone in over two years of debate.
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