Local Organizing to Ban or Control Fracking in Your Town. –
Local Organizing to Ban or Control Fracking in Your Town.
For example: Town of Spafford – Skaneateles watershed – very small portion of town within watershed and setback bounds ‘protected’ by DEC ban- Town has lakefront on Skan and Otisco Lakes.
At five Town Board meetings locals have spoken to the Board and asked for protections. No response. This month they agreed to “look” at a moratorium – asked for examples, engaged in conversation with the sixty people in attendance who spoke against fracking, non-comittal but paying attention.
Two local women organized a public meeting at the Grange – last night July 28th, and are going to form a committee to work on a ban. I lost count at 85 in the room last night. Handful of local farmers that sat together, wanted to talk after about leasing.
Local MD presented overview and major issues. I spoke briefly on DEC, watershed, leases (don’t blame farmers – who knew back then?) fielded questions. Lots of info taken from the table. Lots of new faces, hands in the air when Dr. Carlberg asked “Who knows very little or nothing about fracking?”
Petition launched, folks took paper copies to gather signatures, will be online at our local site fivetownwatershed.wordpress.com. Next grassroots-organizing-a-local-committee meeting for Spafford residents – August 17th. Contact Anne McElroy – firstname.lastname@example.org .
Town Board and attorney were personally asked to come – no one showed – someone pointed that out loud and clear. Next TB meeting – August 9th at 7pm Town Hall. We’ll see.
This meeting was organized in two weeks and really successful -folks that were concerned came outta the woodwork because two women stepped up and organized. And they found kindred spirits right away with folks who are willing to work on it
If there’s not a public conversation in your town – show up and speak with your officials – they’re likely already talking about but may not be moving on it and won’t unless they hear from you.
The Case for a Ban on Fracking – foodandwaterwatch.
Lots of general information at gdacc.wordpress.com and specific info on towns at:
I’d be happy to speak to anyone who’s considering they ought do this in their town- I’d never been in front of a Town Board before last year. It’s only hard the first time. Only takes one person to get it going. Time is running out before drilling permits can be granted.
Advice from a Town Board Member:
As a Town Councilman (Town of New Lisbon(Green) in a Town which was one of the earliest to enact a ban on Heavy Industry, I would like to point out a few realities about most of the smaller rural Towns in the Southern Tier.
Most TB meetings are in the evening during the week. Many of the Boardmembers have come to the meeting after working all day and many will have to arise early to return to work whether it be
as an employee or operating their own business. Many have children who need help with schoolwork or getting ready for school in the morning.
It’s been my experience that sans fracking discussions, a concientious Town Board meeting will last a little over two hours. Most TBM’s begin around 7:30. This brings us to9:30. Now add 20-30 citizens who justifiably want to be heard. Give them 3-5 minutes per speaker and we are somewhere around
an hour to 3 hours more. This not allowing for applause, searching for notes approaching the mic etc.
I must admit that even I, a strong opponent of fracking sometimes wished that the speakers would stop. Especially when repeating the same message. As an aside here, I would like to note that those who speak and then leave don’t endear themselves to anyone. If you want to participate in local discourse, stay to hear all sides and opinions! Some possible solutions?
Lobby your TB to set aside a night or several to hear their citizens concerns about Fracking.
I would suggest that this is the time to repetively call for action on the part of your TB. In other
words make them commit to a hearing and offer to help facilitate it in any way you can.
When the time comes for a special meeting make your comments clear, concise and free of needless attacks on the other side. It would also help if at the very least an ad hoc group could get together some time before the meeting to make sure that speakers are not going over previously plowed ground. Ask that someone be appointed timekeeper if limits are imposed and that at least
two people independently keep track of the fors and against. Ask that the TB follow through on the concerns expressed by their constituents and update their actions at every TBM. Since New York is
a representational state, councilman are expected to represent the wishes of their fellow citizens.
This is not to suggest that a strong component of leadership is not needed at times, only that acting against the stated wishes of the majority in order to advance ones own agenda is not the intent of the idea of representational government.
I well understand that there are several Towns with well entrenched good old bastards that have no intention of allowing a free and open discussion. However I believe these are dwindling to a degree, simply because of the dedication of those of us who have been fighting this for the last 4+yrs.
Unfortunately the laws of the State of New York seem to be on their side for the time being. I realize that the laws state that the people must be allowed to speak, that they can not be constrained in their choice of topic and that TBs cannot preclude speakers from “outside” the Town. However what is overlooked in this discussion is the simple fact that there is no requirement for them to act on the recieved wisdom of their fellow townspeople. Furthermore I would hazard a guess that many do not realize just what the requirements of the TB and the Town Clerk are in regard to the conduct of the
TB meetings. All that the Clerk must record is; Who is present, What motions were introduced and what the vote was on said motions. Nothing else! I always chuckle when a speaker says that they want to have something read “into the record”. You’re not in Congress! Oh and by the way unless you are actually an Attorney approved to practice Constitutional Law, DON’T. While the clerk may sometimes accept written statements from a speaker this is usually so a synopses may be made for the notes of the meeting. Our Town is blessed with a concientious and extremely capable Clerk and she assures me that quite often when a particularly longwinded individual is “reading into the record”
she is quite often writing her to do list for the remainder of the meeting. In order to not become one of the aforementioned longwinded individuals lets recap.
Be firm in getting your TB to commit to a dedicated public forum with monthly updates to follow.
When such hearings occur be prepared with well reasoned non repetitive commentary.
Remind them (graciously) that they are there to represent the best interests of all and that furthermore it is in everyones best interest to protect the air, water and land of our communities.
Video tape the meetings.
Lastly be prepared to either run for office or support someone to run who holds your same ideals.
FTF Bob Eklund