Andes drilling moratorium passes

According to the Daily Star, the Andes Town Board has passed a temporary, six-month moratorium on heavy industry, which includes hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, at its regular meeting, held on November 10.

Although the state's draft regulations on gas drilling would ban hydraulic fracturing in the New York City watershed, which includes most of Andes, the step was taken on the advice of town Attorney David Merzig in case it is necessary, [Andes Town Supervisor Marty] Donnelly said.

The action follows a town forum, held in August, where residents had the opportunity to voice their questions and concerns to town officials and hear a presentation by a hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey's Ithaca office. Most at that meeting supported using the power of home rule to ban drilling:

Of the roughly two dozen speakers, only one expressed support for the idea of allowing hydraulic fracturing to occur locally. Most speakers at the forum spoke in favor of passing some kind of local legislation.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, which regulates gas drilling, is currently holding forums across the region to solicit public comment on the proposed regulations. No forums are currently scheduled to be held in Delaware County, and that has drawn the ire of local legislators and anti-drilling groups.