On Monday night, Town of Onondaga council members unanimously voted to ban hydrofracking within the township. There was previously a moratorium on the controversial drilling practice.
Neighbors expressed relief and happiness over the decision. "I'm shaking," said Anita Williams, as she left the meeting. "I'm so excited. I'm very, very pleased, very happy."
Williams is one of several neighbors who has spoken out against hydrofracking. Many came away from the meeting happy with the council's decision. "I'm just ecstatic," said Linda Destefano. "Some of us have been working for at least two years now to help the members of the board to understand how serious the question is of hydrofracking for gas in our town."
Council members said they listened to neighbors' concerns and educated themselves on the issue. "There has been extensive external research, and I have a binder that is very thick that will be part of the record tonight on the research that was done," Town Supervisor Tom Andino said before the meeting.
Hydrofracking is currently banned in New York State, but if the ban is lifted, Onondaga will still be able to avoid hydrofracking. Drilling will only occur in areas that vote to allow it.
Governor Cuomo's decision on hydrofracking remains contingent on a report from the Department of Environmental Conservation detailing its potential health risks.