AVON — The Avon Town Board has been presented a series of presentations in order educate themselves on the potential risks of high volume hydraulic fracturing fracking (HVHF).
Chuck Morgan, of the Avon High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing Committee, conducted a lengthy presentation on what the committee feels are potential additional challenges a munipality faces with HVHF hydrofracking to the Avon Town Board this past Thursday night.
“There is no guarantee that hydrofracking will not come to Avon,” said Morgan.
Many potential issues that were raised by the HVHF Committee like road maintenance, tax issues, emergency response, social and human services, and regulations and enforcement.
The road maintenance issue is a concern that the town of Avon would not be ready to handle this much maintenance if hydrofracking came to Avon due to to the increased amount of truck traffic and weights of loads in which they would be transporting.
According to the HVHF Committee, the issue with taxes is that New York State must establish a new severance tax that would be shared with local governments in order to have the resources for the roads to be properly maintained.
“Hydrofracking could present problems for our first responders as they would need additional training,” said Morgan.
Morgan explained that he has researched reports in HVHF areas of higher negative social and human impacts.
As for regulations and enforcement, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation, DEC, fracking is exempt from The Clean Air Act, The Clean Water Act, The Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act, and The Safe Drinking Water Act, along with many more. The oil and gas industry is the only industry that is exempt from these laws.
According to the powerpoint presentation The HVHF Committee gave, the main issues brought up by independent organizations are that there are not enough inspectors, the fines are too low, violation data is difficult to obtain, and enforcement data is inaccessible.
Town Supervisor, David LeFeber thanked the committee for their presentation and research that they have done for the Town of Avon.
“People know very little about the dangers of hydrofracking, if others towns want our help we are more than willing to help educate,” said Morgan.
The committee was originally established to conduct ‘unbiased’ reserach that would educate the voting members of the Town Board on the impact of HVHF to the community. Town Council members Dick Steen and Bob Ayers, who voted against the moratorium, recused themselves from the committee.
Jim Harrington, who is running for Avon Town Board has previously stated that he would vote against a moratorium if electected.
Harrington is in a four person race for two seats against Tom Mairs, Jim Blye who voted in support of the moratorium. Gary Wheat is running as well.
Lenape Resources, which is currently veritically fracking natural gas wells in the region has stated that HVHF would bring millions of dollars in revenue to the region.
Commitee Members are:
Ann Cady Henson
Mike Froome (Chair)