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October 19, 2012 - 3:04pm

No wells proposed, but Stafford puts a temporary block on hydrofracking in the town

There are no known plans to open a hydrofracked gas well within the town limits of Stafford, but Jim Southall thought it a good idea to purchase an "insurance policy" so to speak.

At his suggest, the town board has passed a one-year moratorium on hydrofracking within Stafford.

A committee has been appointed to study the issue, according to Supervisor Robert Clement and that report will help the town determine what, if anything, it might do next related to hydrofracking.

The moritorium is part of a statewide trend over the summer of local officials throughout New York rising up against hydrofracking, even though the state already has a four-year moratorium against new wells in place now.

Fracking involves injecting water, saline and other chemicals into shale to break loose natural gas deposits that can then be extracted from the ground.

It's controversial because opponents believe the chemicals used can be carcinogenic and toxic.

Southall said he's read of cows in West Virginia being born with deformities and a whole town in Wyoming had to be closed because of hydrofracking pollutants ruining the groundwater.

As a representative of the Genesee County Fish and Game Association, owners and operators of Godfrey's Pond in Stafford, Southall thought it important to get out in front of the issue, before hydrofracking came to the area.

"With the kind of chemicals they're using, once the water is polluted, it's gone, and being a conservation club, we want to be sure that doesn't happen," Southall said.

At a public hearing on the topic a month or so ago, Clement said, there were no speakers in favor or against the moratorium.

He's not aware of any fracked wells in Stafford or any requests to open up such a well.

"For most people, I think it's a non-issue," Clement said. "I think the state will step in before anybody else does. But it's a conservation issue and I think most of them (Genesee County Fish and Game) are against it."

C. M. Barons
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Every community should consider this type of pro-active response.

Mark Brudz
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THERE IS NO EVIDENCE WHAT SO EVER THAT HYDRO FRACKING IS HARMFUL TO THE ENVIRONMENT NONE

There is a multitude of evidence that communities where hydr0fracing is taking place are thriving and unemployment is near zero as a result.

Go Stafford..... Good move.

C. M. Barons
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Doug Yeomans
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Hydrofracking is not a new technology and it has been used in NY state for many decades. Every energy technology has some drawbacks but I'm confident that fracking is safe. We are sitting on top of an easy boom industry that means generations of good paying jobs with benefits...LOTS of them!

I'm tired of real energy projects being squashed while heating and vehicle fuel prices soar. I want the nat/gas, I want the oil and I want the coal. If we can't have the coal, then build the damn nuclear power plants. Windmills and solar panels aren't going to scratch the surface of our "constant" energy needs. Stop bitching about fuel prices if you're not willing to allow industry to supply the fuel that's readily abundant. We need the fuel and we need the jobs, period.

Mark Brudz
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Let me get this one straight CM, you post a link to a Pennsylvania landscapers blog, who shows a ton of pictures of a fracking site in development. He quotes a bunch of councilman and town supervisors ( No one science based mind you) and you post that as some sort of evidence?

Doug Yeomans
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I'm glad I invested in a coal stove this year. I can heat the house for $500 per year and I don't have to worry about the electricity going out which would prevent me from running a propane furnace. When pricing out fuels per BTU, coal was the winner by a huge margin.

I paid $1070 to have 4.25 tons of anthracite coal delivered to the coal bunker I built in my basement. That works out to about $251.75 per ton. The following list shows what other fuels would need to cost in order to compete with coal.

Heating oil per gallon - $1.25
Electricity per KWH - 3 cents
Natural gas - 9.5 cents per cubic foot
Propane - 81.5 cents per gallon
Wood pellets - $145 per ton

I'm pretty sure that I'll be using coal until something better comes along, which doesn't look like that will happen in my lifetime.

C. M. Barons
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Considering that you have made up your mind, do the credentials attached to the contrary evidence really matter? Why wouldn't you trust the observations and photographs collected from people who live near operating wells?

The cost of these exotic extraction processes is so high that none of the resulting gas or oil will be sold domestically. Anyone who imagines that fracking will make America energy-independent is misinformed.

The process is energy-wasteful, expensive and environmentally damaging.

Mark Brudz
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What I saw in those photo's was construction and development of the site, not the finished product. Any development or construction looks horrible at the outset and it is doubtful that you will see finished product photos from your source.

"The cost of these exotic extraction processes is so high that none of the resulting gas or oil will be sold domestically."

Interesting statement, however the evidnce suggest otherwise. Wyoming, North Dakota and South Dakota are all prospering from the same processes.

CM NO energy is 100% environmentally sound, each has it's issues, Including your precious windmills and solar panels. The problem is everyone seems to pull a strawman to argue against the form of energy production that doesn't fit their political ideology.

"Considering that you have made up your mind, do the credentials attached to the contrary evidence really matter?" YES. let me say it again YES!

"Why wouldn't you trust the observations and photographs collected from people who live near operating wells?" Simply put, it's the old NOT IN MY BACKYARD SYNDROME, I am willing to bet most of those people have no problem turning on the light switch from NG produced in some other community. It is very much akin to wind farms here, everyone thinks windmills are an alternative, until you start to erect one in the view of their living room window.

"Anyone who imagines that fracking will make America energy-independent is misinformed." I doubt even hard core supporters of HydroFracking believe that, but it is one small piece of the puzzle, like windmills, solar panels, coal, hydro power, nuclear power and NG fired power plants

The question is what is economicall viable vs impact, and despite your assertion, Hydro Fracking is much more economically viable thatn wind and solar.

Doug Yeomans
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Wind and solar energy to the power industry is what the heroin residue in the baggie is to a junky.

Junky: "ohhh..I can see it and taste it but it just won't do it...FML"

mike nixon
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funny...... no really really funny.... great example.... if you dont mind I'll use that with some of my tree hugging friends....

as far as every one else above, for every paper or scientific study for, there is like and kind against...

I say use up every last drop of every thing we can get our hands on.

just sayin...

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You hit that one out of the park, Mark. I'm in the commercial heating and AC industry and I was in a meeting a few months ago about changing out some steam meters and a few other capital projects. A consultant who must remain unnamed because of ongoing litigation, told me about a fracking project in a state south of here.

Everything was going beautifully until a landowner said their well was contaminated with fracking fluid. The landowner sued and won. The company who was working the drilling process knew it was not even remotely possible for that to happen. First of all, the fracking was taking place thousands of feet underground in SHALE. After drilling many test bores all around the area and testing other wells, it was confirmed that the landowners well was intentionally contaminated. A countersuit has been filed and I'm not sure if a verdict has been reached yet or not.

I wonder how many times that's happened just because someone wasn't offered money to drill on their property.

C. M. Barons
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"your precious windmills and solar panels..." I don't own either. I have a geothermal system that costs $70/month to heat my house. There are infinite opportunities to develop power that are ignored or wasted- most require no combustion. I drive by the dam on Black Creek in Churchville regularly, and each pass I wonder why that village has never captured the squandered hydropower. It was built for energy; at one time it powered a grain mill. Now it is just water over the dam. I bet they could power all of their streetlights with a small investment. Bergen has a food processing plant that produces tons of vegetable waste- methane that just peters-away in their treatment lagoons (adding to greenhouse gases). But we don't think about the cumulative impact of small steps; we wait for some profiteering corporation to bulldoze mountain tops, pollute precious water and foul the air. It's called lazy and short-sighted. Windmills have been around for centuries. They used to build them in Elba. They may be quaint, but they don't deserve the animosity aimed at them. My only objection to windmills is that the farms are owned by big business instead of the communities they are installed in.

Mark Brudz
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CM, you may be surprised that I agree with some of what you say, "your precious windmills and solar panels..." was merely a reference to some of your other post implying green energy overall, please do not take it so persaonal.

As far as vegetable process waste I totally agree, but the fact is that much of that waste is now or in a few short years be added to manure digesters to accomplish exactly what you you suggest which also benefits the farmer with added natural fertilizer value, also farms like one that I know in Bergen purchase vegetable processing waste as a feed suppliment.

I am not against green energy, just green energy at the expense of current energy sources. Use it all, every drop, every breeze, every bit of manure animal or vegetable. In fact every waste treatment plant in the nation has energy potential.

I know from many of your post your distain for big business, but there would not be functional dams, digesters and such without big business. No one wants to pollute water or air, that is why reasonable(Not excessive) regulations should be in place. And Geo Thermal, my hat is off to you, more rural and semi rural homeowners should investigate that, but 75% of the population lives in metro areas and that would be impractical enmasse.

Sometimes your post seem to imply that we are all close minded, on the contrary, I am certain that most are not with reference to energy production, all of the above, every source you can is likely more the prevailing attitude.

Personally, I think your constant using of big business as a straw dog is a bit close minded but I respect your right to that opinon.

This is the 21st century, it is highly unlikely that the clock will be turned back on energy use, in fact more likely the opposite. Right now, in this moment of time, the proponderance of energy has to be fossil based or nuclear, or world wide manufacturing and things that we take for granted will cease. Windmills as you have pointed out have been in existance for centuries, windmills for power generation backed by tax dollare since the Nixon Administration. And 35 years later will still haven't made it practical enough to replace fossil fuels.

The choice is not green or fossil, it is more economic growth versus retraction.

John Woodworth JR
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Mark, I live in Stafford and I for one would like to make sure hydro fracking will not affect farmer's livestock or their crops. Little is still known about the hazards that these chemicals used in the process may have on the environment. As we have seen with things in the past that were once consider safe; we then learn years later that they were actually harmful. Yes, this energy boom would create jobs and would help with supply and demand issues, but how would it affect a farming community? As it is now the farmers have to deal with natural issues such as droughts, insects, feed, etc... So, before we possibly add another hindrance to the farmers, let’s ensure hydro fracking actually is safe for an environment like Stafford. Whose ground water is important to the farmers in more ways than one.

Besides hydro fracking will do little to lower the cost of gas. Diesel fuel the least process of the fuels is more expensive than, unleaded which has additives and goes through a cleaning process. Yet you hear these big wigs from oil companies claim that fuel prices jump because of the cleaning process and additives put into gasoline. Would bringing in more natural gas wells lower our cost? Hard to say, whether it would or not. I am sure it would for the land owners where wells are established. Look at the wind mill project they tried to bring to Genesee County. That was for the benefit of the New York City area and the land owners only. None of the electricity product would flow for use in Genesee County.

Those who do not believe solar power would help maintain our energy needs, I would argue differently. You have a farm in Stafford that runs on solar power and is doing extremely well. One of my co-workers has solar panels on his house and he paid zero for electric and heats his house with no issues with these panels.

I am not against hydro fracking, but I would like to know more on the actual effects it has on the environment. If it is so safe then why are there so many disputes? If, other farming communities are claiming they are having issues, let’s check them out for validity. Instead of the dreaded statement, “They are tree huggers!”

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