Town of Avon
Outspoken residents back Avon fracking moratorium
The Avon Town Board devoted about an hour of its Thursday, July 12, meeting to “visitor comments” at which about 20 spoke and 40 attended — one of the largest turnouts the board has seen since moving into its new Opera Block quarters four years ago.
The great majority of those speaking asked the board to maintain its position in regard to a one-year moratorium on high volume hydraulic fracturing, which had been adopted June 28 in a three-to-two vote.
In the aftermath of the adoption, John Holko of Lenape Resources ordered all the company’s gas wells in Avon turned off, thereby shutting down income and shutting off household use of gas by lessors having wells on their property.
Bob Docherty, one of those lessors, told the board he supported the moratorium and, in fact, was thinking about filing suit against Lenape for unjustifiable stoppage of his natural gas supply. He invited other Avon lessors to join him.
Even though he is out of gas and can’t heat his water he supports the moratorium,” Town Supervisor David LeFeber advised.
Supposedly, language in the moratorium allows for ‘grandfather’ immunity to the moratorium and continued operation of preexisting gas wells.
There were two lessors, Joe Tuchrello and his daughter Elizabeth Welch, who had a contrary viewpoint and asked the town to repeal the moratorium in the interest of returning the gas flow.
“Overall the people showed great support for the board to hold our position and not waiver,” LeFeber said, adding, “And that included several gas property owners. People knew we were under pressure all week and I think they just came in to solidify our position — although we have never considered going back.”
“The support for the board was tremendous and certainly solidified Tom Mairs, I believe,” LeFeber noted. (Deputy Supervisor Mairs was earlier considered to be the ‘swing’ vote which could have made or broke the moratorium.)
LeFeber was asked why Lenape wells in Caledonia have not been shut off, since the Town of Caledonia enacted a fracking moratorium in June as well. LeFeber has no answer, but the reason may simply be that Lenape’s attorney was not yet aware of the Caledonia action. (He was not when he spoke with this reporter two weeks ago.)
The speakers were Town of Avon residents, except for a representative from the Once Again Nut Butter Company in Nunda.