FRACKING OPPONENTS FORCE TOWN MEETING
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.