Clear sky
Clear sky
51.8 °F
April 24, 2014
River Reporter Facebook pageTRR TwitterRSS Search Login

Speak up on Local Law #3

May 3, 2012

The Town of Highland will be facing a critically important decision soon, whether to ban natural gas extraction by amending our zoning law. Under consideration is Local Law #3, which has been approximately two years in development. The question of how the town should respond to the possibility of natural gas exploration has been under discussion since 2008. In the intervening years, the town has grappled with the issue of whether the town can control or ban natural gas extraction within the town, and should it do so.

At countless public meetings and forums, overwhelming numbers have urged that the town enact a ban against fracking. Local Law #3 is designed to do just that. However, on April 10, a large number of people came out to say, “not so fast, what about the property rights of large landowners?”

So the town board will be faced with the difficult task of determining what is best for the Town of Highland, and to this end we have scheduled a public hearing on May 4 at 7 p.m. There will be an informational briefing beginning at 6:30 p.m. The hearing will be held at the Eldred Central School because of the large crowd anticipated.

The purpose of the public hearing is to give the town board an opportunity to listen to all who are for or against Local Law #3. Whether you are for or against it, the town board will not know how you feel and what action you want the town board to take unless you speak up at this hearing.

If for any reason you are unable to attend, you may submit written comments before or after the hearing. All comments received by May 14 will be made a part of the record. Comments at the public hearing will be limited to two minutes, so if you have more to say, you can do so in writing.

Andy Boyar
Town of Highland Supervisor
Eldred, NY

Local Law #3

Although my husband David and I are seasonal residents of the Narrowsburg area, we have been coming here for the last 43 years and love our country home and the entire surrounding Delaware Valley. We want to emphasize our support for Local Law #3, and for all efforts to keep hydrofracking from destroying our environment.

Miriam Gross, Narrowsbug, and NYC

www.damascuscitizens.org

If you go to the www.damascuscitizens.org home page, click on rural economies, then, click on Analysis of Leased Land in Damascus Township, Wayne County, PA, then, click on Full Report Here, you will see something pertinent to this letter.

Mr. Boyar, in his letter above, wrote, "At countless public meetings and forums, overwhelming numbers have urged that the town enact a ban against fracking. Local Law #3 is designed to do just that. However, on April 10, a large number of people came out to say, “not so fast, what about the property rights of large landowners?”

Here is the bottom line of the report that Barbara Arrindal and I put together: Just under 33% of the individual owners of property in Damascus township had leased their land for potential shale gas drilling, frac'ing and extraction, yet they owned 69% of the surface land, and yet, astonishingly, they only amounted to 39% of the assessed tax base.

Despite their loud, rude exclamations to the opposite, they were a very small proportion of the citizens who owned property, or who paid taxes, however, they were the "large landowners", those who owned large parcels of land, many of whom were from other states, and who only owned vacant land.

These percentages are true for virtually all of the Counties in New York State, or Pennsylvania, where shale gas extraction might be possible. This would be especially true in the Town of Highland.

Do not sit back and let the small minority of landowners, who own the majority of the land surface, many of them from out of state, who do not care what contamination may occur, and, who miraculously pay a small minority of the taxes, run over you like a freight train in the middle of the night. Stand up, speak up, or they will happily run over you, and tell you that you are the minority, and that this atrocious industrialization is inevitable.

That is as far from the truth, as when they say, it is safe.