Ithaca steps forward to limit local fracking
On Wednesday the Common Council unanimously voted to ban the leasing of land owned by the City of Ithaca for hydraulic fracturing, following in the footsteps of several other towns in Tompkins County.
This is against Governor Andrew Cuomo’s push to permit high-volume hydrofracking - a controversial practice in which chemicals are injected into the ground at high pressures to extract natural gas. The vice-chair of the Economic Development and Planning Committee, Eric Rosario, said the resolution was a demonstration of the city residents' stark opposition to the controversial practice.
There are die-hard proponents on both side of the hydrofracking fence - some see it as a way to invigorate New York's declining economy whilst opponents of fracking charge that it could lead to disastrous environmental consequences. The Common Council is evidently in the latter group, stating that hydrofracking "is likely to have severe adverse impacts on communities and the environment" by damaging the city’s drinking water resources and forest habitats - a significant change from the previous stance that such actions “may” have such effects. This labels Ithaca as the 52nd municipality in New York state to enshrine its anti-hydrofracking stance via the law, following the nearby towns of Danby, Dryden and Ulysses.
Such environmentally conscious actions taken by the Town of Dryden have led to The Anschutz Exploration Corporation, a Denver-based gas drilling company, filing a lawsuit against the town. Only time will tell the result of such legal obstacles, and their impact upon the contentious Fracking debate.