Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Oxford NY Fracking Ban -- Press Release

AS Governor Cuomo prepares to
Frack the Southern Tier, as a "demonstration project"
Chenango County gets it's FIRST BAN!

For Immediate Release

February 5, 2013

Contact: Concerned Residents of Oxford, PO Box 631, Oxford, NY 13830
tel: 607.226.6483 (Mina Takahashi)

Village of Oxford Clarifies Its Zoning Ordinance's Prohibition on Gas Drilling
-- First Ban on Record in Chenango County --

Oxford, NY – Tonight, the Board of Trustees of the Village of Oxford, New York approved a confirmatory amendment to its zoning ordinance that clarifies a prohibition against gas exploration, extraction, and disposal within the Village of Oxford. 

The vote was 4 to 1 with Board Trustees John O'Connor, Joseph Spence, Dale Leach, and Mayor Terry Stark voting aye, and Matthew Voce voting nay. The supermajority approval insulates the Village Board from the County Planning Board's denial of the zoning amendment and any challenge by affected landowners via Town Law 264 and 265.

Since July of 2012, Village officials have listened to the concerns of residents and paid due diligence to researching the potential impacts of shale-gas development. They invited attorneys to present arguments for and against enacting a moratorium, researched municipal law, learned about the industry's practices, and toured areas in Pennsylvania where shale-gas drilling is currently taking place. Mayor Stark reached out to many of the residents of the Village, the village businesses, and town residents on the borders of the Village to ascertain their position on the issue. He received over 300 letters from Village residents urging him to enact a moratorium. In addition, a townwide petition (including the Village) has yielded to date 1,052 signatories for a townwide moratorium on shale-gas drilling. Of the total, 80% have indicated that they support a ban on shale-gas development in Oxford.

The Village Board was set to vote on enacting a nine-month moratorium in December 2012 when, in an eleventh-hour effort, drilling proponents presented a letter of intent to sue the Village Board if the moratorium were enacted. They charged that the moratorium would be redundant because the Village zoning already prohibits gas drilling. Taking their claim at face value, the Village Board pursued a confirmatory amendment which was drafted pro bono by David Slottje of the Community Environmental Defense Council, a nonprofit, public-interest, environmental law firm based in Ithaca, New York. 

"We still live in a community," said Mayor Terry Stark following the vote, "I ask everybody on both sides of the fence to continue a dialogue…please seek common ground." 

After the meeting, Village Board member John O'Connor remarked, "There are no winners or losers. What we did tonight was clarify and confirm what we already had in our zoning." 

By enacting its confirmatory amendment, the Village of Oxford is the first municipality in Chenango County with a ban on record, but according to, there are presently similar movements to enact a moratorium or a ban in eleven other towns throughout the County.

May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)

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