By Frank Rizzo
FORESTBURGH The Town of Forestburgh is on the margins of any possible Marcellus Shale gas deposits.
No one within its boundaries is known to have signed a lease with an energy company.
And there seems little interest by those same companies in any natural gas exploration, much less drilling.
But on Tuesday night, at a public meeting, the township took preemptive action. By a 5-0 vote the town board passed Local law No. 2 of 2012 banning natural gas extraction and exploration.
Two dozen residents were on hand, and the applause and public comments made it clear that they approved of the ban.
“We are surrounded by towns that have banned [fracking]. It’s a terrific statute and I hope you pass it and pass it unanimously,” said Richard Robbins, referencing Bethel, Lumberland and Tusten, all of whose boards have passed local laws banning gas drilling.
Robbins’ wishes were soon granted.
Carl Amaditz spoke the only dissenting words. After noting that he owned just one acre and would never get rich with drilling and therefore had no personal stake in it, he alluded to the larger points opponents of bans on drilling bring up the “NIMBYism” such laws represent and our country’s dependence on foreign energy sources if we don’t exploit what we have.
“We say we want to be energy independent, but [with the prohibition on drilling] we will be dependent on Middle Eastern dictators and that socialist down in Venezuela [Hugo Chavez],” Amaditz said.
Rejoined Councilman Eugene Raponi, who had earlier introduced the motion (seconded by John Galligan) to vote on the resolution: “I agree with you, Carl. But until they can prove drilling could be done safely and I haven’t seen [the proof], then I’ll vote for the ban.”
Supervisor Bill Sipos said the board responded to the wishes of residents, who have told the leadership they simply don’t want drilling.
“It’s the general consensus of the community [that] we have no fracking,” he told the Democrat last week.