As the former chairman of the Hartwick Town Planning Board (1980-2000), member of the Otsego County Planning Board (2000-2007), chairman of that board from 2006-07 and currently as president of the Arnold Lake Association, I have started an online petition to present to Hartwick Town Supervisor David Butler to ban the practice of high-volume hydraulic fracturing in the town and further to prohibit the disposal of fracturing waste fluid anywhere in the township.
The town of Hartwick is surrounded by municipalities that have already instituted bans: Otsego, New Lisbon, Milford and Middlefield. A survey was sent to town residents last year, and a resounding 70 percent to 80 percent of those who responded were against it being allowed in our town. Despite those overwhelming results, the town board has not yet taken the very simple steps necessary to protect its citizens.
The state Environmental Conservation Law, section 15-0154 section 6, protecting water resources for specific areas, should be expanded to cover the whole state and thus prevent the possible pollution of current and potential water supplies. The highest and best use of New York state’s water resources is for human consumption and for the benefit of all of the state’s flora and fauna. It should not be compromised, polluted or commodified. Hartwick should join the municipalities of Otsego County that have already taken proactive, protective measures.
The dubious temporary benefits of natural gas extraction are eclipsed by the potential damage that our aquifers could experience. Once our water supplies are contaminated, there is no easy way to restore them to their pristine states.
Hartwick residents or property owners may sign the petition at http://bit.ly/132zvws.