FRACK­ING OP­PO­NENTS FORCE TOWN MEET­ING

The News-Times (Sunday) - - News - — mack­[email protected]

With anti-frack­ing pe­ti­tion­ers con­firmed as hav­ing reached their sig­na­ture-col­lec­tion goal, se­lect­men sched­uled a pub­lic hear­ing and town meet­ing in early Jan­uary on a law to ban hy­draulic frac­tur­ing in Ridge­field, as well as stor­age, trans­porta­tion or use of frack­ing wastes and byprod­ucts.

The pub­lic hear­ing is set for Satur­day, Jan. 5, at 10 a.m. in town hall. The town meet­ing and vote on the is­sue will be Wed­nes­day, Jan. 9, at 7:30 p.m. in town hall.

Un­der town char­ter and state statutes, pe­ti­tion­ers seek­ing to call a town meet­ing need to col­lect valid sig­na­tures equal to 2 per­cent of the town’s reg­is­tered vot­ers. With a lit­tle over 18,000 vot­ers, that’s a few more than 360 sig­na­tures.

Michael Gar­guilo has said that his cit­i­zen-led group had turned in pe­ti­tions signed by 674 peo­ple who want to vote on the frack­ing is­sue.

One of the rea­sons lo­cal frack­ing op­po­nents pe­ti­tioned for the town meet­ing is that the se­lect­men — while not op­pos­ing their re­quest for an or­di­nance — dis­cussed it for months and months, even draw­ing up their own al­ter­na­tive ver­sion, with­out tak­ing de­fin­i­tive ac­tion.

Both or­di­nance pro­pos­als would have banned the use of hy­draulic frac­tur­ing for oil and gas ex­trac­tion in town and ad­dressed re­lated is­sues, such as the stor­age or dis­posal of frack­ing wastes or byprod­ucts here, or their trans­porta­tion through town.

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