New laws needed to protect Dryden

Guest Viewpoint on Ithaca Journal:

I have known Bruno Shickel for many years. He is a decent man. But he is wrong about some of the issues relevant to the town supervisor election.

He has written that the Town of Dryden does not need to revise its current zoning ordinance. According to New York state law, however, a town’s zoning ordinance must reflect its comprehensive plan.

The Town of Dryden, over the course of several different administrations (Republican and Democratic), worked on revising that plan and finished revisions in 2005; therefore, we are bound by law to update our zoning ordinance to reflect these revisions. The revision process for both the plan and the zoning ordinance were transparent and open to the the public.

The town planning board held three public meetings, in addition to a public hearing, to gather input on the plan. The planning board revised the plan according to public comments. The same process has been followed for the zoning ordinance. An overwhelming number of comments received by the planning board about the plan and the zoning ordinance have been positive. Dryden residents want the rural character of the town to be preserved.

With regard to gas drilling, as Marie Rae pointed out in these pages (Sept. 29), 7 percent of adult Dryden residents have signed gas leases, yet 100 percent of Dryden residents will be affected by impacts from drilling. Dryden simply is not suited for heavy industrial activity.

And the risks of contaminating our land and drinking water are grossly understated. The state Department of Environmental Conservation has reported that the Marcellus Shale is known to contain concentrations of uranium-238 and radium-226 at higher levels than surrounding rock formations.

Look at Pennsylvania’s experience with wastewater from hydrofracking. As of March 2011, 50 million gallons of hydrofracking wastewater had been unaccounted for. Some of the wastewater has been used for melting snow on roads, because of its high salt content. In West Virginia, wastewater used for dust suppression on dirt roads was found, after the fact, to contain radium at levels 700 times higher than is permitted in drinking water.

Others have written in the Ithaca Journal that Dryden’s ban on hydrofracking amounts to a taking of private property. Isn’t compulsory integration, which would force me to allow drilling on my property if 60 percent of property owners around me agree, a taking? I would rather have my elected officials decide how my land is used, rather than corporations.  (Full Article)

Laquatra is vice chair of the Town of Dryden Planning Board.

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About Dryden Resources Awareness Coalition

A grassroots, all volunteer group of concerned citizens of the Town of Dryden focused on protecting our natural resources.
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