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Colden reestablishes anti-hydrofracking moratorium for another year

COLDEN — The Colden Town Board held a public forum, to address the adoption of another moratorium against hydraulic fracturing, prior to its board meeting on April 11.

This moratorium, which was approved by the board after the forum closed, will last a year, as opposed to 6-month bans that had been adopted, in the past.

According to the board members, local residents are still unsure about the possible dangers of high-volume fracking, so the new moratorium was introduced, to buy the town more time, in which to study hydrofracking’s effects on land and drinking water.

Mike Sendor, a 10-year resident of Colden, said, “Initially, I was very emotional about this issue, because I’m involved in an industry. But, in 4 1/2 years, there has been no gas well work, so all my clients are out of business or bankrupt.

“I was initially apposed to your first moratorium,” Sendor said. “We all love this town. If people are concerned, pass the moratorium. I can guarantee that we will all be dead, before anyone does any horizontal drilling here, [but] if it makes you feel good, pass it.”

When explaining the board’s decision to impose the moratorium, Supervisor Annie Hoffman said, “We’re just trying to protect everybody in the town.”

Attendee John Kotlarsz said, “There are certain people that you’re taking their rights away from. That’s what you have to remember. You’re not protecting big landowners; only a few people.”

Hoffman responded, “We’re protecting people who drink from water. The point is, we don’t know what effects it has. It may not have any, but do we want to risk that?”

At the end of the public forum, Board Member Patricia Zurbrik said, “I want nothing that will harm anyone, or anyone’s rights.”

The moratorium was approved by all members of the town board.

Board members David Arcara and Zurbrik said that they had made their decision, based on the understanding that a new local law could be made, to cancel out this moratorium, if the need arose.

Ron Fraser of the Hydrofracking Committee assured the board that more information about hydrofracking is available, to town residents.

In other board news:

– The board approved a waiver for the 30-day waiting period, to apply for a liquor license for Matthew Webb and Charles Morlock, of the Colden Mill Restaurant.

– The Colden Inn’s special use permit for its annual festival was approved.

– Colton Shelbie, Max Hawkes, Wyatt Longendorfer, Michael Palmateer and Andrew Laventure were approved as referees for the soccer program.

– A hazardous waste drop-off was scheduled for May 18 at Erie Community College’s north campus, from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

– Hoffman reported that a prescription drug drop-off point may be installed, in the near future, next to the town hall.

The next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on May 9.

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