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September 25, 2016
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Town of Callicoon ‘flunks’ the democracy test

Bruce Ferguson

There’s not a single measure of public opinion that justifies the town board’s pro-fracking, pro-man camp draft plan. The town’s own community survey found that 88% of the people who expressed an opinion about gas drilling said they did not want it. More than two thirds of the 997 voters and property owners who responded to a postcard survey last summer said that they didn’t want drilling. That was very similar to the results of a Pulse Opinion Poll of Sullivan County residents that found 69% of the respondents opposed hydraulic fracturing in their town.

Each of those surveys was conducted anonymously. So what happens when members of the community go on the record, by name, and offer their opinions? So far, at least 478 residents have made their views known to the town, either by writing letters, signing petitions or speaking out at public hearings. Four hundred and sixty-nine individuals have made it clear they don’t want fracking or man camps; only nine individuals have expressed support the draft comprehensive plan in its present form.

That’s 98% to two percent. The people have spoken. Now it’s time for the town board to listen.

[Bruce Ferguson is a prominent member of Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy. In 2011, he ran for supervisor in the Town of Callicoon on the Democrat and Rural Heritage party lines.]