Sidney Says Yes to Natural Gas and No to Slottje!
The Town of Sidney, New York held a public hearing on a proposed moratorium on natural gas development last week. The turnout at the event was unbelievable with nearly 150 people showing up for the hearing, many of whom were in support of natural gas development. In fact, many came to support local business and economic development and oppose a moratorium proposed by David Slottje of the Community Environmental Defense Council (CEDC).
There were approximately ten letters from concerned constituents that were read aloud at the hearing. Every letter sent to the Town Board was opposed to the moratorium and supported natural gas exploration.
Am phenol Receives Support of the Community
Amphenol Corporation is Sidney’s claim to fame. The industry has been in the area for decades and supports natural gas development for the benefits it will bring to a community that has suffered through several economic downturns. For this reason, dozens of their employee union representatives and workers came to the hearing to oppose the moratorium. After flooding in 2006, the company was tempted to close their doors but ultimately decided against this. In 2011 they suffered through another round of flooding. Now it appears natural gas development may end up being the deciding factor as to whether Amphenol stays in the area according to recent media reports (see below). The presence of one of the area’s largest employers made this meeting all the more important.
Glenn Nealis, director of economic development for Delaware County, said that a recent (and controversial) decision by the town of Sidney to allow the Leatherstocking Gas Company to build a natural gas pipeline through the town was critical in keeping Amphenol in the area.
The hearing on the moratorium started out poorly and got out of hand with fits of outbursts and screaming from those supporting the moratorium. David Slottje also chose to use his “2-3 minutes” (which turned into 8-9) in a vain attempt to embarrass the plant manager from Amphenol based on an email the latter had sent. However, a union leader representing Amphenol workers, attempted to re-introduce civility and state the facts when he presented the board with a petition, signed by over 800 individuals, against the moratorium. This was a bit of a surprise for Slottje who typically does not meet this level of resistance in his carefully orchestrated efforts to ban natural gas development in communities sympathetic to his cause.
The second surprise was when Ed Zaengle spoke. Zaengle has a unique background for this discussion given he is a geologist and a licensed litigating and trial attorney in New York, Pennsylvania, and Illinois. Based on his knowledge and experience, Zaengle suggested to the board they get more than one opinion on the law. Watch the video below.
Property Rights Versus Political Correctness
It seemed every time someone opposing to the moratorium spoke there was an uproar among the anti-gas attendees. These folks interrupted speakers and attempted to intimidate those in opposition. This tactic failed as it often does, however we included some of this behavior in the below clips for all to see.
The Town Attorney of Sidney made a statement early in the hearing.
There was another outburst as the Sidney Chamber of Commerce and the Tri County Young Professionals President made her statement.
An here’s another outburst:
Bryant LaTourette had the perfect solution:
Another man discussed property rights:
One anti-gas hearing individual suggested that New York State should charge more money than the gas companies are willing to pay for water.
Sue Dorsey is interrupted by ban supporters in this video clip:
By the end of the hearing it was clear that those supporting Sidney’s moratorium were outnumbered. As a result, the moratorium was not voted on but comments were all taken into consideration by the Town Board. The large majority of these comments reflected the heavy support for natural gas development from those in attendance at the hearing.
All in all it was a great night for Sidney residents serious about economic development. Keeping Amphenol, Sidney’s main job provider, demands determined community support and it was there for all to see. Residents came out in force to say “stay” and lent their support to the natural gas development so essential to the company’s and the community’s future.