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Opinion

February 25, 2013

Board held hearing, but didn't really listen

On Feb. 12, there was a public hearing on Local Road Use and Preservation Law (Local Law No. l) in the Morris Town Hall. The hearing was presumably to hear pros and cons to the proposed law from town residents.

Four of us spoke against the law. None spoke in favor. We had many reasons to oppose it, including:

1. The law is being enacted to address the introduction of gas drilling in our town (Morris being one of the few refusing to consider a ban or a moratorium on the process when our neighboring towns have).

2. The law does not address road safety, only road protection. Thousands of trucks mostly driven by “roustabouts” (of the 10,000 jobs created in Pennsylvania by the natural gas industry, 7,000 were filled by out-of-staters, mostly from Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana) will fill our roads with day and night traffic.

3. The cost of this whole operation (extra duties for the highway superintendent, who will be expected to ticket those who cause damage to the roads, the need to employ a consulting engineer to verify damages and the court costs to collect small and totally inadequate fines) will fall to the taxpayers.

At the conclusion of each of our speeches, we asked the board to reconsider a ban or moratorium on horizontal hydrofracking in our town, saying that with a ban or moratorium in place, the negative consequences of gas drilling to our roads and to our health and safety would be nonexistent.

After the public hearing, and during the regular board meeting that followed, the board unanimously passed the Road Use and Preservation Law without discussion. Our question is: Why have a public hearing at all if the public is heard, but not listened to?

Marilyn Roveland

Morris

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