Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Residents from the Town of Chenango met at the State Office Building today to call on Broome County Executive Debbie Preston to back away from her advisory opinion against a one year drilling moratorium proposed to the Town Council.
Through a county land use rule known as a 239 review denial, the county is forcing a vote on a moratorium to be a super majority, rather than just a simple up or down vote.
"She defends for towns to defend what's best for them," said Leanne Avery, democratic candidate for Chenango Town Council, "I've heard it numerous times, but for me this opinion does not support those public statements."
The town council would have to vote four out of five to pass a one year ban on hydraulic fracturing.
Something advocates against gas drilling said is nearly impossible.
"Miss Preston's administration through the county review process has raised the bar to make it virtually impossible for our town to take steps to safeguard our future through a moratorium," said Ben Perkus, a resident of the Town of Chenango and member of New York Residents Against Gas Drilling.
Advocates said they've already collected 1,600 signatures to support a ban on drilling.
Broome County is only the third county in New York to use the "denial of approval" law to prevent bans on hydraulic fracturing from taking effect. The other two are Delaware and Chemung counties.
The county executive's office chose not to respond to the actual advisory opinion issued to the Chenango Town Council.
However, the Preston campaign called the timing of this event into question.
Campaign Manager Bijoy Datta said today's press conference was nothing but a political stunt to benefit the Abdelazim campaign days before the election.