!

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David F. Slottje
PO Box 898, It haca, NY 14851


CcLober 17, 2011


Covernor Cuomo's ueparLmenL of LnvlronmenLal ConservaLlon ls movlng lnexorably
Loward publlcly announclng lLs foreordalned concluslon LhaL hydrofracklng ls ºsafe"
for our sLaLe - or aL leasL for LhaL porLlon of lL (ouLslde Lhe n?C and Syracuse
waLersheds) lnhablLed by Lhose whose heaLh, safeLy, and voLes are consldered Lo be
expendable by Lhe Covernor.
ln response, numerous local governmenLs across upsLaLe new ?ork are uslng Lhelr
home rule and oLher consLlLuLlonally derlved powers Lo enacL land use laws (zonlng
amendmenLs, pollce power-based laws ln Lowns LhaL don'L have zonlng, or moraLorla)
Lo prohlblL hlgh-lmpacL land uses such as fracklng wlLhln Lhelr borders.

8uL ln some communlLles, cerLaln local offlclals are urglng LhaL efforLs Lo enacL such
laws be sLalled. 1hese offlclals offer a varleLy of explanaLlons for wanLlng Lo delay.
Some of Lhem clalm Lo be 'undeclded' abouL Lhe advlsablllLy of a fracklng ban even aL
Lhls laLe daLe, and say LhaL Lhey need more Llme Lo make an lnformed declslon. Some
of Lhem say Lhey wanL Lo walL Lo make a declslon unLll oftet Lhe uLC has flnallzed lLs
regulaLlons and beglns lssulng drllllng permlLs. And some of Lhem clLe Lhe recenL flllng
of Lwo lawsulLs challenglng Lhe auLhorlLy of locallLles Lo enacL such laws, and say Lhey
wanL Lo walL for Lhose cases Lo wlnd Lhelr way Lo Lhe CourL of Appeals, even Lhough
by mosL accounLs LhaL process wlll Lake Lwo years aL besL, and even Lhough durlng
LhaL Llme Lhe uLC cerLalnly wlll have begun lssulng drllllng permlLs.

SupporLers of Lhe fracklng lndusLry admlL LhaL parL of Lhe reason Lhe lawsulLs were
flled was Lo have a 'chllllng effecL' on Lhe movemenL Lo enacL munlclpallLy-level bans
of Lhe lndusLry. What they don’t tell you however is that they are at least as
concerned about when a ban is enacted as whether a town enacts a ban.
!"#$# &'( )# &*$# +"', &##+- +"# #(# ."#, /*0'/ *11202'/- 3 4'$+205/'$/( +"*-#
."* +"#&-#/6#- "'6# /#'-#7 *$ ."*-# 4'+$*,- 1'6*$ 7$2//2,8 3 -'( +"#( .',+ +*
.'2+ +* #,'0+ 4$*+#0+26# /'.- *5+ *1 ' 7#-2$# +* )# 9$#-4*,-2)/#:;
<#-4*,-2)/# +* ."*&=
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Indeed, I believe that the real goal of industry’s present legal challenge is to
forestall the enactment of as many local bans and moratoria as possible, until
sometime after the DEC begins issuing permits.


ln evaluaLlng Lhe bona fldes of Lhose local offlclals who clalm Lo belleve LhaL walLlng
Lo pass a ban ls ºLhe responslble Lhlng" Lo do, ºparLlcularly ln Lhese Lrylng flnanclal
Llmes," lL ls worLhwhlle Lo deLermlne wheLher Lhose local offlclals bove tbemselves
slqoeJ qos leoses, wbetbet tbey belooq to locol (pto-Jtlllloq) looJowoets´ coolltloos,
ot wbetbet tbey ote bebolJeo to pto-Jtlllloq qtoops ot loJlvlJools. !"#$ #$ &'()*$'
+"',' #$ )&$-.*+'./ 0- 1*'$+#-0 +")+ 2 3-, .'4). ,')$-0$ 2 &-+" +"' 4)$ 5,#..#04
#05*$+,/ )05 +"' 6'-6.' 7"- 7)0+ +"' #05*$+,/ +- 5,#.. -0 +"'#, .)05 7#.. &'
-28,2120',+/( '76',+'8#7 #3 8-0#04 .)7$ -, 9-,)+-,#) 6,-"#&#+#04 5,#..#04 ),' 6)$$'5
'1+#$ +"' :;< &'4#0$ #$$*#04 6',9#+$=

Local offlclals who favor allowlng Lhe drllllng lndusLry Lo enLer Lhelr communlLy
should have enough respecL for Lhelr consLlLuenLs Lo sLand up and declare Lhelr
poslLlon. Pldlng behlnd Lhe flg leaf of Lhe lawsulLs ln oLher Lowns ln worse Lhan
dlslngenuous. MosL neuLral aLLorneys agree LhaL Lhe Lowns should wln such sulLs aL
Lhe appellaLe level, and plalnLlffs ln such sulLs Lyplcally do noL seek flnanclal damages
(and dld noL seek Lhem ln Lhe uryden or Mlddlefleld sulLs). 1hus, Lhe 'cosL' Lo Lhe
munlclpallLy ls essenLlally legal fees. And ln facL Lhere are very compeLenL lawyers and
law flrms ouL Lhere who are wllllng Lo defend munlclpallLles for sLeeply dlscounLed or
even no fees ln Lhese sulLs.

8uL as Lhese supposed 'responslble' local offlclals well know, Lhe cosLs of dolng
noLhlng, of walLlng Lo pass proLecLlve laws unLll uLC permlLLlng beglns, deprlves Lhe
Lown of Lhe sloqle proLecLlon for local conLrol LhaL Lhe uLC has bullL ln Lo Lhe drafL
SCLlS - Lhe rlghL Lo say LhaL a proposal Lo frack ln Lhe Lown ls ºlnconslsLenL wlLh local
land use laws." Can any local offlclal acLlng ln good falLh have AN¥ doubL LhaL Lhe
cosLs of rebulldlng even one road wlll dwarf whaLever Lhe Lown mlghL spend on
lawyers Lo defend a land use law?

SlLLlng back and noL acLlng under Lhe qolse of acLlng responslbly wlll preclude Lhe
Lown and lLs resldenLs from brlnglng a lawsulL of Lhelr own - one LhaL challenges a
drllllng permlL lssued for a well slLe ln Lhelr Lown. A properly drafLed local law ls boLh
a sword and a shleld LhaL a Lown can wleld Lo proLecL lLs resldenLs from
unconvenLlonal drllllng. A Lown wlLhouL a ban or moraLorlum has no such weapon, lL
!"#$ ) '( )
ls defenseless. Such sLaLe of affalrs may be accepLable Lo Lhose local offlclals who
have Lhemselves leased or whose paLrons favor drllllng, buL ls LhaL sLaLe of affalrs
whaL ls ln Lhe besL lnLeresLs of Lhe communlLy as a whole?

Cf crlLlcal lmporLance, and as l belleve many local offlclals who have Lhemselves
leased are qulLe aware, lf a Lown wolts Lo pass a land use prohlblLlon unLll afLer Lhe
uLC has beglns lssulng permlLs, Lhe Lown runs Lhe rlsk LhaL so-called ºvesLed rlghLs"
may rlpen. 1hls facL ls why lL ls so lmporLanL Lo many lndusLry supporLers LhaL
proLecLlve laws geL passed - whaLever Lhe excuse - '1+#$ Lhe uLC beglns permlLLlng.


ClLlzens ln communlLles who deslre Lhelr elecLed local represenLaLlves Lo Lake sLeps Lo
proLecL Lhelr way of llfe from fracklng are enLlLled Lo know where Lhose offlclals sLand
on such an lmporLanL lssue, and need Lo be aware LhaL Lhere may be much more aL
play Lhan meeLs Lhe eye when Lhese offlclals - 4'$+205/'$/( +"*-# ."* "'6# /#'-#7 *$
.',+ +* /#'-#> *$ '$# -#$62,8 +"# 2,+#$#-+- *1 4$*?2,75-+$( 4'+$*,- - clalm Lo be golng
slow ºLo be responslble." 8ecause ln polnL of facL LhaL deflnlLlon of belng
ºresponslble" bos tbe leqol effect of deprlvlng Lhe communlLy of Lhe only locallLy-level
conLrol Lhe uLC has bullL lnLo Lhe drafL SCLlS, and poLenLlally exposes Lhe communlLy
Lo flnanclal llablllLy wblcb woolJ oot exlst lf Lhe proLecLlve law was passed before uLC
permlLLlng beglns. Serlously now, how can LhaL be responslble?


/s/ uavld l. SloLL[e, Lsq.
lLhaca, n?

uavld SloLL[e ls an aLLorney and an envlronmenLal acLlvlsL.