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Village of Owego passes moratorium on fracking

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Village of Owego passes moratorium on fracking
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A moratorium is passed in Owego, making the village the latest municipality to take a stance on the issue of hydrofracking. Our Elyse Mickalonis reports on why all say more time is needed before any real decision is made.

OWEGO, N.Y. -- It was a big night in the Village of Owego on Monday as the board held a public hearing on hydraulic fracturing and voted in favor of a year-long moratorium.

"We do need to take time out look at the documentation on the comprehensive plan and review it and revise it as needed with respect to not only the gas industry, but also flooding. I think we're going to be looking at the Tioga County Investigates Natural Gas resources binder for municipalities that they did over the course of a year and also the Tioga County Hazard Mitigation Plan,” said Kevin Millar, Owego Mayor.

As always, there was some debate about fracking. Some were in favor...

"Safe drilling, the state had four years to do this, the state has the strictest regulations in not only the country, but the world,” said Walter Kumm, an Owego resident.

And there were those who weren’t. People like Wes Ernsberger, who hopes the town will follow the village’s lead.

"The hope is this will provide a good example of how to responsibly protect our community,” said Wes Ernsberger, an Owego resident.

Mayor Millar says he wasn’t sure if the board was going to vote on the moratorium Monday, but is glad they did because people from both sides said the village needs more time and research.

"We weren’t sure if we were going to vote on it tonight or not, but came to listen to people’s input and it seemed like the majority of people who spoke were concerned enough to have a moratorium for a year to look at it,” said Millar.

A year to research the pros and cons of hydrofracking.

Hydrofracking is banned across the state for now. However, a decision on the New York's moratorium is expected to be made by the Cuomo administration later this summer.

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