Walton Reporter (no website), October 27, 2010
By Glenn Graves
ONEONTA – At its annual meeting, the Delaware County Farm Bureau passed a resolution calling for a moratorium on hydrofracturing of horizontal gas wells until the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) completes its study of the effects of hydrofracturing on water resources, which is anticipated sometime in late 2011 or 2012. Although there were only 13 of the 350 voting members of the county farm bureau in attendance, there was plenty of debate before the resolution was passed by a vote of seven in favor to six opposed.
The resolution, like the others passed at the annual meeting, will be presented and supported at the New York State Farm Bureau convention later this fall.
Legislative Chair Mark Danau introduced the EPA resolution, following the bureau’s prior approval of resolutions to “support the reinstatement of home rule for gas and oil drilling” and support for “a moratorium on hydraulic facturing of horizontal wells until water resources are fully protected.” The EPA resolution was met with an objection from Adolph Schaefer of Deposit that the draft generic supplemental environmental impact statement that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is developing should be sufficient to make certain water resources are protected and that the county Farm Bureau might support a moratorium until that is released. Gregg Starheim, a county Farm Bureau director, suggested that passing a resolution to put the decision in the hands of local governments, with the “home rule” resolution and then insisting that the federal government’s position should be considered “seems like we’re being hypocritical.”
Despite these considerations, the resolution was passed.
The Farm Bureau also supported a national resolution for “quick development “ of a replacement for atrazine, a herbicide that Danau described as “a nasty endocrine disrupter that mimics estrogen.”
In addition, the county Farm Bureau passed a resolution opposing the Chesapeake Bay total Daily Maximum Load (TMDL) regulatory proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that is intended to lessen the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment in the bay, but, according to the resolution, “imposes disproportionately heavier restrictions for water quality in New York in order to help other states meet their overall TMDL goal, ignores New York’s excellent record of environmental accomplishments over the past 25 years using state and local conservation efforts and forces unrealistic costs on the businesses, governments and residents within the (Susquehanna) watershed area.”