July 11, 2012 —
A motion by Town of Delaware representative Harold Roeder to declare the towns of Tusten and Lumberland non-conforming with respect to the River Management Plan (RMP) due to their natural gas drilling bans was voted down at the July 5 Upper Delaware Council (UDC) meeting.
Roeder argued that the RMP is supposed to protect the private property rights of river corridor residents as much as it protects natural resources. While agreeing with the UDC’s position that the RMP precludes heavy industrial uses in the river corridor itself, Roeder noted that given the horizontal nature of hydraulic fracturing, river corridor residents would be able to access their gas if drills were sited in their towns outside the corridor. Since they can no longer do this in Tusten and Lumberland, Roeder concluded that those bans take away river corridor residents’ rights, and should be targeted by the UDC.
Voting for the motion were Roeder; Dave Dean of Deerpark, NY; Fred Peckham of Hancock, NY; and Al Henry of Berlin, PA. Abstaining were John McKay of Lackawaxen, PA and Pat Jeffer of Shohola, PA. Voting against the motion were Jack Niflot of Fremont, NY; Susan Sullivan of Tusten, NY; Andrew Boyar of Highland, NY; Jeff Dexter of Damascus, PA; New York State Department of Environmental Conservation representative Bill Rudge; and Nadia Rajsz of Lumberland, NY.