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Hancock opposes Scenic Byway proposal;‘ a backdoor attempt… to ban natural gas development’

By Fritz Mayer
September 14, 2011

The board of the Town of Hancock is not happy with the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway (UDSB). On August 22, the USDB passed a resolution urging all levels of government to adopt a ban regarding some truck uses on Route 97.

The resolution proposed that “all large trucks and vehicles involved in new forms of heavy industrial use and mining” be banned from using the route, but that “traditional forms of truck usage on New York State Route 97, such as the use of vehicles for agriculture, lumbering, bluestone mining and transport of canoes” continue to be allowed, and that continuation was supported by the UDSB.

The stated reason for the resolution is that the mission of the USDB is to protect the appeal to visitors of the highway and the views and access it provides to the Upper Delaware River.

The Hancock Town Board did not see it that way. They passed a resolution of their own on September 7, which said that the UDSB resolution was “not a restriction on industrial traffic on New York State Route 97, but rather a backdoor attempt by a taxpayer-funded organization to ban natural gas development on private property within the whole corridor.”

The town board further said, “Delaware County is one of the poorest counties in New York State and it’s appalling that a portion of the $1,290,125.80 of federal and state tax dollars to fund the UDSB are being used to restrict private property landowners rights and home rule.”

The UDSB resolution suggested that the Norfolk-Southern railroad, which runs parallel to Route 97 for its entire length, is the “traditional form by which industrial equipment and materials have been moved through the Upper Delaware River Valley since it was constructed in the 1850s.”

The town board responded that UDSB’s resolution, as written, “would prohibit unloading the accessories from the railcars anywhere in the Upper Delaware Region.”
Further, the town board questioned whether the resolution was “meant to include the equipment and supplies for wind and solar energy also. Is it legal to ban one particular use?” it asked.

The town board said it had declined to join the UDSB when it was formed in 2001 because they feared the committee would usurp local control, and the UDSB’s resolution was the realization of their “worst fears.”

The board of the Village of Hancock, unlike the town board, is a member of the UDSB and the representative from the village voted in favor of the USDB resolution.

Nothing Natural about thousands of trucks on the scenic route 97

The Scenic Byway, enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people per year, begins at Port Jervis and follows the Delaware River approximately 70 miles northward to Hancock, just above Kilgour's Frackitt Farm, which seems to grow nothing, and perhaps, used to be a quarry. There is no relation between anything Natural, and the thousands of trucks per week that would be added by the shale gas extraction industrialization of, and in, the Delaware River Basin.

Why have a designated "Scenic Byway"? Why have a federally designated "special protection waters"? Why have a "Delaware River Corridor"? Why have a "National Park", when one can have a relatively few landowners of large tracts of land enrich themselves immensely? Isn't that the "American Dream"?

Why should not the small minority of owners of large tracts of land be allowed to gain great wealth at the expense of the health, well being, and economic prosperity of the vast majority of home, property owners, and existing small business owners, in that same area?

To many, this area borders on the sacred. To some, it is a whore to be pimped out for their profit.

It is our choice.

TOWN of Hancock is 100% right

To disagree with the UDSB's ridiculous resolution. Rt 97 is a state highway and is here to provide access to all. If we get rid of anything on it we should ban the bicycle riding jerks who are constantly impeding traffic! After all they pay NO highway tax, carry NO insurance and as far as I'm concerned they have NO right to be anywhere except to the right of the RH lane marker. While we're at it lets dump the NPS as well as the UDSB and the DRBC too!

The Town of Hancock has it right

The last sentence of the towns resolution, which the reporter failed to publish, sums up what many think of this unprecedented backdoor attack on property rights by the UDSB;

"The Town of Hancock hopes this ill-conceived resolution is disposed of in the most environmentally sensitive manner possible."

It seems that Hancock lacks

the large number of affluent weekenders (aka anti-drillers) that populate, part-time, the river corridor farther down stream. Good job Hancock and it is good to see KF and Frackman make comments.