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November 6, 2012

Board was wrong to reject moratorium

Board was wrong to reject moratorium

To my utter dismay, the Richfield Town Board voted, 3-2, to reject a moratorium that would place a temporary halt on the issuing of industrial use permits specifically for hydraulic fracturing for gas, electrical generation facilities powered by all forms of energy, including wind-energy, and landfills; allowing a committee of seven citizens time to study and possibly recommend to the town board laws to protect the health and safety of its residents.

The board members had a copy of the moratorium for close to two weeks and not one of them made any attempt to object to or modify the language in the document. Then, when more than 90 people attended the public hearing, the three women of the board stated they were not comfortable with the wording and thought it was ambiguous, but did not point to any specifics. 

Board member Mary Margaret Snyder stated she doesn’t like the idea of another layer of government. To point out the obvious, a citizens’ committee is not government. Is she afraid of citizens who are interested in the best for our community, studying specific issues that are not addressed in our 1992 land use regulations? Is she afraid of democracy?

The New York State Public Service Commission passed Article X last year. This removes home rule for communities. It will consider the laws of your town when siting a project in your community, but you need to have laws that are relevant to these situations, or step aside: the developer and state will decide what is best for their project. The wind developer who is pursuing a project in Richfield is the same developer that submitted an application under Article X in Litchfield. Lori Bond, Bonnie Domion and Mary Margaret Snyder failed to see the urgency of it all.

Carol Frigault

Richfield Springs

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