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Colden extends fracking moratorium for another year

COLDEN — The town board of Colden unanimously voted in a one-year extension to ban hydrofracking at the March 13 board meeting, after a public hearing on the moratorium opened the meeting.

Moratoriums have been placed to temporarily ban fracking in the past, to give the board more time to form an opinion and to learn more about the opinions of the residents.

Some residents said they feel as though their rights would be infringed upon, if they couldn’t use their land for hydrofracking. Others say the risks outweigh the benefits.

“I think it’s safe to say everyone loves the town,” said Jeanette Geckler, from Colden Well-Being, a group that has as its stated mission “protecting the water rights in Colden.”

Geckler said it was the responsibility of the residents of Colden to be stewards of the land and protect each other, so that future generations can live in Colden.

She said that the process of hydrofracking puts a large amount of toxins into ground water and that water doesn’t stay in one place.

“Some people have county water, but a lot of us don’t,” said Dan Gile, a Colden resident. “I would be real worried for that.”

“I would like to see you pass the moratorium tonight, so we are safe for another year,” Geckler said.

Melissa Melnik, a resident of Hayes Hollow Road, said she thinks her health has been compromised by hydrofracking.

“If we don’t prevent bigger operations, it’s going to affect everyone,” Melnik said. “I want to keep Colden alive and healthy.”

Some citizens said they wanted to know what had happened to the promised mailer, concerning hydrofracking. Irene Barone said she was told by the now-elected officials, when they were running, that a mailer would be sent out after elections to feel out the town’s opinion on hydraulic fracturing.

Supervisor James Depasquale responded by saying the mailer was ready to go out, but there were some problems with it, that prevented him from doing so.

“I don’t want to send something out that would be ridiculed, at a later date,” Depasquale explained.

The Colden board members said that they want to be able to formulate an informed position about hydrofracking, before the next step is taken.

“As an elected official, I want to make sure everyone has a voice,” Depasquale said.

The supervisor said the mailer will be redone, and sent out to all Colden residents, at a future date.

In other board news:

– In response to a “swelling” door at the senior center, quotes will be sought to fix the problem.

– Because of new New York state requirements, the highway department is updating traffic signs. The deadline for all signs to be changed is the end of 2015. Highway Superintendent Paul Clarkson said they will finish the conversion by the end of this year.

– The dog control department reported that three dogs have been seen running through the woods on Crump Road. The dogs had not yet been found, by press time.

– In order to update the town website, the board voted to hire the Aurora Consulting Group for technical support.

– The town audit will be conducted by Drescher and Malecki, LLP. The audit will look into the 2013 budget.

The next Colden town board meeting will be held on April 10, at the Colden Town Hall.

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