Carlisle still working on fracking compromise


By Jim Poole

Carlisle continues to search for a compromise for the town's proposed ban on hydrofracking.
Supervisor Larry Bradt detailed Councilmen David Laraway and Mary Tillapaugh to find middle ground on the ban that's divided residents for months.
Mr. Bradt's decision came at the end of last Wednesday's contentious town board meeting where the two sides were at one another again.
The May meeting was similar, but shortly after that, Mr. Laraway met with members of the pro-ban Carlisle Concerned Citizens to work out a compromise.
Mr. Laraway offered his amendment at Wednesday's meeting. The addition was to make sure that the ban won't affect farming and that the ban isn't intended to prohibit landowners from fracking for water.
"Nobody wants land rights taken away," said Mr. Laraway, referring to farmers.
"Nobody wants to damage neighbors' wells. If you run low on water, you should be able to frack for water."
Ban-opponent Councilman Bob Smith argued that the law wasn't necessary because there isn't underground gas in Carlisle.
"There's a lot of speculation about what will happen," Mr. Smith said.
"The point is, there's not a shred of evidence that there will be any exploration for gas in Carlisle, and that probably goes for all of Schoharie County."
Mr. Laraway countered that having the ban in place is a sensible precaution.
"You might as well be safe," he said. "It's better to cover the well before the cat drowns.
"Maybe it [fracking] will happen in the future. I rely on my water. I'm not saying it will happen, but it might."
Ms. Tillapaugh objected to the appendix in the proposed law and said she wouldn't vote for it as is.
"It's too much like zoning, which the people in Carlisle have said they don't want over and over," Ms. Tillapaugh said.
She added that she'd reconsider the ban if the appendix was taken out.
Kurt Pelton of the Concerned Citizens thought the meeting inched the ban closer to being approved.
"What Dave [Laraway] is trying to do is make everybody almost happy," Mr. Pelton said. "He deserves a lot of credit."
But it was the clear the proposed law wouldn't be voted on or approved Wednesday night.
Mr. Bradt agreed with Mr. Smith that fracking probably won't happen in Carlisle, but he also believes residents want a ban.
"They've proven over and over that they want a ban. It's overwhelming. If the people want to do it, do it," Mr. Bradt said, to applause.
To that end, he suggested Ms. Tillapaugh and Mr. Laraway work with attorneys to iron out details.
Susan Tillapaugh asked if there would be a public hearing on the law as amended, and Mr. Bradt said there probably would be one.