Syracuse Common Councilors vote unanimously to ban hydrofracking on city property

Oct 25, 2011

Lawmakers in the city of Syracuse Monday unanimously voted to ban hydrofracking on city property.   Julia Walsh, from the statewide network Frack Action says this move sends a message to Albany.

“This action, along with actions by many other municipalities across the state that are banning it on their own within their rights through home rule, shows the governor and the state that there are serious concerns and a backlash about this process moving forward,” said Walsh.

Adam Schulz, a Syracuse attorney representing the gas industry, says the discussion over hydrofracking has taken a wrong turn.

“What we should be discussing is the best way to approach the safe regulation of the industry to encourage its continued development in the state,” said Schulz. “It’s been here since the 1800s and to make sure it’s done safely and enjoy the benefits of that activity.”

Schulz contends  the city is overstepping its bounds  by this vote, on an issue that is being considered by the state.  The gas industry has taken some municipalities to court over bans on hydrofracking.   Syracuse Councilor Kathleen Joy though isn't worried about a potential lawsuit.

“Every municipality and every law can be subject to a lawsuit,” said Joy. “I’m confident that our law can withstand that kind of judicial scrutiny.”

Hydrofracking involves injecting water mixed with sand and chemicals into shale to release natural gas deposits.   Opponents say there are health and environmental dangers to the drilling method.  Supporters claim it is a safe way to extract vast natural gas reserves, as well as a way to create jobs.