Vestal Town Supervisor: 'No need' for fracking ban

By Julianne Peixoto

July 9, 2014 Updated Jul 10, 2014 at 8:48 AM EDT

Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Residents in Vestal are once again asking the Town Board to ban fracking within the town's borders.

But Town Supervisor John Schaffer says that an additional ban isn't necessary since rules already on the books ban drilling of any kind.

Less than two weeks ago, the New York Court of Appeals upheld a ruling that gave cities and towns in New York the ability to block hydraulic fracturing.

The residents in Vestal are asking for a temporary ban on fracking until any possible negative health impacts are fully understood.

"Our town code says you can't do it here to begin with, and I've told these people [fracking protestors] that over and over and over," said Schaffer. "It's in our bylaws already, I see no reason to put a moratorium in at this time."

Several members of Vestal Residents for Safe Energy (VeRSE) attended Wednesday night's meeting.

"We're here to remind the Vestal Town Board that 2,500 residents of Vestal have signed a petition asking that the town impose such a moratorium," said Phil Kraft, a VeRSE member.

Schaffer says the board will address the issue of fracking if and when it is necessary to do so.

"We’re aware of the recent Court of Appeals decision regarding home rule," said Schaffer. "While the decision permits the town to enact legislation that would ban fracking, it does not require us to ban it. According to the town board, we will carefully monitor this issue and will act when and if there’s an incident for us to do so."