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Colden faces an expiring hydrofracking moratorium

NO FRACKING — Jeanette Geckler and Brian Beutner of Colden Well Being spoke to the Colden Town Board during its Sept. 13 meeting. Photo by Andrew Manzella.
COLDEN — Members of Colden Well Being approached the Colden Town Board during its Sept. 13 meeting, to discuss the town’s soon-to-expire moratorium that prevents hydraulic fracturing in Colden. This ban will expire next month.

“We’ve had a moratorium in place for almost 6 months, which is due to expire Oct. 11th. We wanted a nice, clean moratorium that actually kept everyone from fracking and horizontal drilling, but the town was afraid,” said Jeanette Geckler of Colden Well Being.

Board members told those in attendance that, if the moratorium is not written with the necessary clauses to prevent infringing upon federal gas company rights, Colden could be sued for thousands of dollars. Many audience members expressed their fears about what could happen if there is not a moratorium in place.

Supervisor Annie Hoffman suggested that a committee be formed to enact appropriate legislation to protect the residents of Colden.

The board also explained that Colden is in a unique situation because of the storage areas it has. “This is our chance to perfect the law,” said Councilman Patrick Murphy.

The board’s current goal is to put together a new moratorium and find out what energy companies can test and how close to the actual site they can be.

Members from each board will be on the committee. Board members said they know that care must be taken when creating a moratorium of this type and Hoffman added that fighting fracking can be costly.

One audience member asked those in attendance to “be reasonable” about the issue, while resident John Peters, expressed the turmoil he and his neighbors have faced with drilling. “If you get in trouble, no one will help you,” he said, describing the runoff from drilling on his neighbor’s property that has ruined much of his hay crop, which he uses to feed his beef cows.

The moratorium will be discussed more at length at the board’s next meeting, but board members said they are not sure what will happen when the current moratorium expires.

In other board news:
– The board approved the renewing of Colden’s contract with Time Warner Cable.

– The highway department bought new garage doors from Hamburg Overhead Doors for $3,978 and openers for $2,020.

– The highway department reported that the roads are oiled and chipped. Employees are now cleaning ditches in preparation for winter.

– The recreation department did not receive the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation grant it needs to purchase adult exercise machines.

– There will be a household hazardous waste collection in Colden at the town highway barn on Oct. 20. Hazman will have representatives on-site to collect waste. Prepaid boxes are currently available at the Colden Town Hall.

– The board thanked all the volunteers who helped at the town’s recent Colden Sunkist Hills festival.

– It was reported that four street lights are out on Hayes Hollow Road and one is out on State Road.

– The water department has collected $16,211 but there are still unpaid bills. Late notices will be issued in upcoming days and residents will have until Oct. 11 to pay their water bills.

– Donations to the Veteran Affairs Department were received during the Sunkist Hills festival.

– Judy Brown of Colden Lakes approached the board with a request for a site plane amendment of her campsite property. Winter storage was approved by the board for this year in sites one – nine, but the winter storage and site permanence issue will be revisited next year.

– There will be an American Association of Retired Persons safe driving course in October and November. There is a cost.

The next Colden Town Board meeting will be held Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. at the senior center on State Road.


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