Supervisors talk landfill, gas drilling
By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO Though last Wednesday’s Council of Local Governments/Association of Town Supervisors joint meeting was called to discuss the county’s coming Office of Sustainable Energy, the group of township officials briefly talked about both the landfill and gas drilling.
Lumberland Supervisor and Association Chair John LiGreci first touched on the landfill.
“I believe our legislators are being unfairly picked upon by certain selective interest groups,” he remarked, clearly referring to landfill neighbors and groups who have continued to publicly oppose its expansion.
Saying county taxpayers cannot afford to be hurt anymore economically, he urged what he felt is a silent majority to come to legislative meetings to speak in favor of keeping the landfill open as long as possible and to ensure legislators “are not picked on anymore.”
The conversation then quickly turned to gas drilling, with LiGreci advocating for the state Department of Environmental Conservation to require sealed containers rather than open pits for wastewater created by the hydraulic fracturing process.
He also felt the DEC should mandate that fluid be trucked away within 3-4 days rather than 45.
That said, he reiterated his support of residents being able to make money off their property through gas drilling.
Highland Supervisor Tina Palecek then informed her colleagues that her task force on the subject had recently met with Cabot officials, representing one of the larger companies seeking to drill in the region.
Palecek said Cabot’s representatives did not want closed containers to be mandated but were amenable to providing officials with a list of the chemicals used in the fracking fluid a key concern of locals.
They also told Palecek that Cabot wouldn’t mind posting bonds for any road damage, though LiGreci said his town attorney had been dubious of local municipalities’ ability to enforce such a requirement on unwilling companies.
County Manager David Fanslau said he had been informed towns can’t charge impact fees specific to gas companies (that would be considered discriminatory to one industry) but can require permits for overweight vehicles.
The county, too, had met with Cabot officials and had been told the company (which aims to start drilling by next year) would be willing to post a bond or put cash in escrow to cover road damages so long as it could be proven that their vehicles caused those damages.
He confirmed that Cabot seeks to avoid the mandation of closed wastewater tanks, adding that the county did not get as clear a message as Highland did about revealing the contents of fracking fluids.
One way or the other, said LiGreci, “we need to protect ourselves.”