Marcellus Shale

Natural Gas Banning Enters New Short-Lived Phase

It appears the Park Foundation funded effort by the Slottjes to scare everyone and convince towns they need to take extreme measure that will slow growth in rural upstate New York communities has entered a new phase. Steven Winkley, from New York Rural Water Association appeared at a town board meeting in Guilford, Chenango County, New York, to urge them to make Guilford Lake a Critical Environment Area (CEA). His apparent objective is to frustrate natural gas development and he made it clear he intends to visit other towns to offer the same pitch. The Association’s news releases also suggest it is strongly biased against such development, as do the words of Mr. Winkley in this article where he makes makes incorrect statements and uses inflammatory language to describe the process of natural gas development.  CEAs are intended to protect sensitive areas of unique or exceptional character with a view toward applying additional environmental review to projects that may impact them. Winkley, however, admits Guilford Lake is extremely small compared to other areas designated as CEAs. Please watch the major points of his presentation in the videos below. Pay particular attention to how he addresses natural gas development at 6:00 into the first video, where he suggests the added review and potential Environmental Impact Statement would not be a burden for a “multi-million dollar company.”

That seems more than a bit biased and ignores the reality that such burdens may well make certain areas uneconomic to develop. That would be a large burden to the landowners losing out.

Following the presentation, the board was given the opportunity to ask some questions. They didn’t use very much time before they opened the floor for public comment but you can watch the video of the board’s reaction below.

Keep in mind a few things. Guilford Lake has several full time residents living and a public boat launch. Yes, motorized boats, jet skis and the like are permitted on the lake.  Also, this pristine lake made news when a human body was found in it.

The board allowed the public to offer its views of the proposal. Only eight individuals commented on the topic and only two of those people supported the CEA while the other six were against it. One man even presented a petition against it signed by several different homeowners living on Guilford Lake.

Another man pointed out potential issues to the town board and urged the members to ask the town attorney to look it over.

Vic Furman pointed out several problems with the presentation given based on the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement compiled by the Department of Environmental Conservation. He had everyone on the board as well as Winkley stumped.

One of the two people who wanted the town board to accept the CEA, was pushing for solar power, which, of course, involves its own set of problems.

The second person to support the CEA was a woman who didn’t want gas exploration (or, apparently, anything else) anywhere near Guilford. Her weak arguments can be viewed below.

Nothing was decided but several residents who attended the meeting hope the board decides to stay far away from making Guilford Lake a CEA. When the residents living on Guilford Lake oppose the “protection” the CEA is supposed to provide one has to question if this proposal has any support beyond the narrow confines of the anti-natural gas community. It appears not. The CEA bubble may have already burst as a tactic. The entire natural gas ban movement has been facing hard times of late. Let’s hope it continues.

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