Letters to the editor February 1
Make your voice heard on fracking
Most of you are aware of the de facto moratorium on fracking in the Delaware River Basin because of all the well-documented risks associated with this fossil fuel industry, and of the recent proposal of a permanent official ban by the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC). It was clear at the DRBC public meeting this past Tuesday, January 23, that the majority of the attendees agreed with a ban.
There is significant evidence that natural gas development, and its related operations, which include all phases of the fracking process, have substantial adverse effects on public health, property interests and agriculture; and on our air, water and land.
Furthermore, the DRBC should ban water withdrawal and wastewater injection in the basin. The water injected for fracking is not only “consumed,” but is a total loss to its source. This water is no longer available to the hydrologic cycle because most of it is left sequestered deep in the ground, cut off from the natural water cycle, compounding the impacts of the loss. And 96% of the water withdrawn for fracking is used “consumptively,” meaning that it will never again be available for consumption. Never.
Considering that only 1% of the earth’s water is drinkable, how we manage water will define our future and the future of the planet. Since 99% of that water is groundwater, how we look after our aquifers is the most critical component involved.
And then there’s the issue of earthquakes. My hometown, Youngstown, OH, has unfortunately allowed fracking wastewater injection into deep disposal wells. Since then—and never before in recorded history—there have been a series of earthquakes. In 2014 there were 77 quakes. Oklahoma had 887 in one year of a magnitude of 3.0 and over.
You can voice your opinion by March 30 at the DRBC website by filling out a simple form online at dockets.drbc.commentinput.com/?id=PGChb Your voice matters.
By the way, the states of New York and Maryland have a statewide ban.
Misdiagnosing the problem in Eldred
I wish I could give Dr. John Morgano a “mulligan” on his recent comments to the Times Herald-Record in the January 26 issue, in which he said, “If the state would provide the state aid that we need, we wouldn’t be in significant fiscal stress.” I like him, and I understand what a good superintendent can do for an education system (i.e. Karl Ebers, Joseph Horan). However, after three months at the Eldred Central School District (ECS), I am not sure he fully grasps the situation.
An extreme loss of enrollment since 2000 has exacerbated the state aid issue. The state aid formula, to a large extent, is based on the property wealth per student—basically, the total assessment in the district divided by the number of students.
Every time enrollment is lost, the wealth per student goes up and the district looks wealthier and state aid suffers. ECS is a relatively wealthy district with its many lakefront second homes. Poor financial management and a board that ratifies contracts without understanding or having a concern for the consequences is the problem.
A $2.5 million fund balance that was accumulated by over-funding budgets in ‘08, ‘09 and ‘10 was gobbled up in no time. Rest assured, I have the auditor’s reports. New York State Comptroller DiNapoli in a news release said, “school officials should... carefully consider how their budgeting decisions will affect their long-term fiscal condition and local taxpayers.”
So be careful what you wish for. The state could easily come in and ask why you are operating two buildings with 546 students when you built for 1,000 students. Apparently there are no more “mulligans” at ECS.
Paul A Clark Jr.
A baffling zoning decision in Tusten
Update: In July 2015, the Town of Tusten received an application to convert an old clubhouse on two acres to a 10-family structure on a private road in R1 district.
We have pointed out many laws to the planning board such as those pertaining to density, lot conforming, and abandoned building, that would be violated if permission were given.
In March 2016, nevertheless, the application was approved six to one. We brought our concerns to the code enforcer and town supervisor. Following town law 11.6.2, we tried to take a complaint to the ZBA. But we were told by the ZBA chair that this law was not consistent with New York State. After reviewing New York State guidelines for applicants to the ZBA, we once again submitted an application to the ZBA after the permits were issued. Again our application was denied. When three town officers and the new ZBA chairperson wanted to review the situation, they were told by town supervisor and town council, “It is not a zoning board matter at this point”.
The New York State guidelines for applicants to the ZBA, titled, ”Who may apply to the ZBA for relief,” reads as follows; “...in addition, any officer, board or commission of the municipality may appeal a decision of the enforcement officer whether or not that officer, board or commission is aggrieved.”
I have a letter from a town officer requesting a review of the code enforcer’s decision.
The question still remains as to how many of our town laws were dismissed for a project that has been denied in the past by a code enforcer. There have been no explanations or justifications of the laws broken for this project; why?
Why have our civil rights been dismissed by this town?