Residents of Sanford, New York file suit against ban on discussing fracking at public meetings
- Year: 2013
- Length: 6:16 minutes (5.73 MB)
- Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 128Kbps (CBR)
As the calls for action on climate change increase, lawmakers will have a new bill to consider. Legislation introduced this week by Senators Bernie Sanders and Barbara Boxer seeks an 80 percent reduction in emissions by 2050. The bill also includes safeguards for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The controversial practice of gas and oil extraction has prompted debate at locations across the country. But in one upstate New York town, officials have banned debate of fracking at public meetings. Officials in Sanford, near the Pennsylvania border, say the discussions were contentious and taking up too much time at meetings. But critics have called the order an abridgment of freedom of speech that stifles public debate. This week the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Catskills Citizens for Safe Energy filed a suit against the town seeking to have the ban lifted. One Sanford resident, Melissa Bishop, told the NRDC that the board’s restriction went beyond the issue of fracking.
“That someone could just come in and say, ‘OK, no more discussion at all,’ really galled a lot of people. And they knew even if there wasn’t a right or a wrong to the fracking discussion, they certainly knew there was a right or wrong as to the issue of free speech, and this was definitely wrong.”
Sanford sits atop the Marcellus Shale, an area rich with gas deposits. For more we speak with Tom Wilinsky of Catskills Citizens for Safe Energy, and Sanford town attorney, Herb Kline.