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Imaginary friends of natural gas

April 10, 2013

Two months ago, Sullivan County Planning reminded the Town of Callicoon that “the purpose of a comprehensive plan is to set forth the desires of a community’s residents.” It recommend that the town edit those parts of its draft plan that seem “favorable to gas drilling” because there was no evidence that it was supported by the public. In fact, hundreds of residents have told the town they object to that language, while only a handful of people have indicated that they support it.

Editing the plan would be easy. The pro-fracking language sticks out like a sore thumb in a plan which otherwise faithfully records the desires of stakeholders to see development in harmony with the town’s rural character.

But now, instead of editing the plan, the town board wants to handpick a “volunteer committee” to consider the recommendations of the county. But will these “volunteers” be bound to respect the “desires of the community’s residents?” Apparently not. The board continues to suggest that the expressed opinions of town residents may be set aside in deference to a supposed “silent majority” whose opinions just so happen to coincide with those of the members of the board.

It’s not unusual for small children to have imaginary friends, but you don’t expect it of members of a town board.

Bruce Ferguson
Jill Wiener
Callicoon Center