As village and town officials discover the astonishing complexity and importance of the issues surrounding fracking, they realize that they need resources — especially time — to think through and prepare for major fracking operations.

One way to provide the time and other resources required is to pass a moratorium.  The most significant moratorium has been the State’s moratorium, pending completion of the State Department of Health study of probable effects of fracking on health and a revision of the DEC regulations.  Other towns and villages have declared or proposed moratoriums. The Avon, NY resolution supported Home Rule to approve a moratorium.

Such a measure is bound to be controversial, especially as landowners protest further delays in launching fracking operations on a large scale.

Recent news:

March 26, 2013

Oneonta, NY Town board OKs gas moratorium

Staff ReportThe Daily StarThe Daily StarTue Mar 26, 2013, 09:00 AM EDT

The Oneonta Town Board on Monday approved a 12-month extension of a moratorium on natural gas drilling.

The measure passed in a 3-2 vote during a specially called meeting in Town Hall in West Oneonta. The moratorium addresses all forms of drilling and associated activities, such as the storage of drilling-related materials.

3/26/13.  Arguments to the Appeals Court re: Dryden and Middlefield:  Chip Northrup published a series of point-by-point commentaries on the arguments presented before the Appeals court.   It is necessarily long, but entirely readable, free of legalistic jargon.  Readers who want to follow the progress of this critically important appeal process should read the entire set of commentaries, which focuses upon the issue of whether the state should and can override local ordinances in order to enable gas companies to conduct massive hydraulic fracturing without having to contend with or conform to local ordinances.

You can find Northrup’s fully and important analysis on the LEGAL ISSUES page.

Nicole Dillingham’s summary paragraph:

It is not possible to predict with any certainty how or when the Court will rule, but those familiar with appellate procedures estimate a decision should be expected in 4-8 weeks. Since the panel was composed of 4 judges, we are informed a 2/2 split would result in affirmance of the judgments below. Thus, the appellants need three judges to overturn the decisions. We remain hopeful, based on the excellent briefs and arguments presented, that the decision, when issued,will uphold home rule and the carefully reasoned decisions of the trial courts.

Three  more examples follow: 

Otsego, Butternuts, and Sidney


On Wed, Feb 13, 2013 at 7:38 PM, Stuart Anderson

<> wrote:

In bold defiance of threatened law suits, the Otego Town Board has

approved a one year moratorium on gas drilling in the Town. The Board

voted 4-1 to approve the moratorium, a margin sufficient to over-ride a

landowners’ protest petition that had been submitted at the first public

hearing last fall. The lone dissenter was David Sheldon. Before casting

his vote, Supervisor Hurlburt spoke on three points: the issue of gas

drilling has been very divisive and he hopes that we can remain a

cohesive community; a moratorium is not a ban, and he would not be in

favor of a ban under the current circumstances; and he is very concerned

that the economics of the Otego community are difficult and it is not

easy to ignore the potential benefits of drilling…all that said, he

then voted in favor of the moratorium.

The Town’s zoning law already prohibits heavy industry from the town;

the moratorium will give the Planning Board time to complete its update

of the Town’s Comprehensive Plan in preparation for amendments to the

zoning law. A Town-administered survey of residents last summer found

that 46% of the Town residents and landowners are against drilling,

while only 39% are in favor. Speakers in favor of the moratorium turned

out at public hearings in September and January and outnumbered pro-gas

speakers by a 4 to 1 margin both times. Mounting evidence from

Pennsylvania and other heavily fracked states has called into question

gas industry claims of “safe” drilling and “good” jobs. Membership in

the Unatego Area Landowners Association has declined from over 180 in

2012 to 138 in 2013.

With the chaos swirling through Albany with claims and pronouncements by

DEC and DOH, landowners’ coalitions and gas industry lobbyists,

anti-fracking activists in Otego feel a small bit of relief with

tonight’s Board action. The Otego moratorium will hopefully provide some

level of protection against drilling while the Planning Board completes

its work.

Stuart Anderson

Concerned Citizens of Otego


For the record – this was the nonsense that the town was being

threatened with:

Not just a frivolous lawsuit, but a frivolous publicity stunt


The price of liberty is eternal vigilance, backed up by the will to act

in its defense.

If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.



The second example (courtesy of Chip Northrup) is the Butternuts extension of a moratorium 
On Wednesday, February 13, 2013, Teresa Winchester wrote:

Tonight, the Butternuts Town board voted to extend the moratorium on heavy industry for another 9 months.  I believe this new law now has to go to the County Planning Dept for a “239M” review.  If all goes well there, it  will be filed at the NYS State Dept.,and will be official.

Sidney, NY Declares Moratorium on industrial development related to hydrofracking.

The Oxford Visionaries offer congratulations to their Sidney comrades!


About 80 people attended the Sidney Public Meeting for the proposed Moratorium on Gas drilling and associated activities, and the Sidney Town Board Meeting.  Supervisor McCarthy granted Privilege of the Floor to Everett Wood,  who stated that he had obtained notarized petitions from land owners that represented 20% of the acreage in the Town against the Moratorium and consequently a Super-majority vote would be required to pass the Moratorium. Supervisor McCarthy did not have the votes to put off the Public Meeting or the vote on the Moratorium. Speakers for and against HVHF presented facts on air pollution and the need for a comprehensive health study, land owners rights and limitations, three insurance companies that will no longer offer homeowners insurance to properties with gas leases (Nationwide, Allstate and most recently Leatherstocking), public support for the Moratorium by petitions and by popular vote, and respect for the Comprehensive Plan citing rural Character, Natural Beauty, Peace and a Clean Environment.

The Town Board voted in favor of the Moratorium. Community Environmental Defense Council Attorney David Slottje stated that the landowners petitions were not legal ‘on their face’ and that Delaware County had failed to respond in writing two days prior to the Public Meeting making the 3 to 1 Majority vote sufficient to pass the Moratorium.