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Schneiderman Asking Questions About Local Fracking Votes

Posted By Jon Campbell On December 12, 2012 @ 10:27 am In Other | Comments Disabled

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office has written letters to at least three towns in the Southern Tier, inquiring about their ethics rules and how they relate to votes concerning hydrofracking.

From the Press & Sun-Bulletin’s Steve Reilly [1]:

In single-page letters sent in October, Assistant Attorney General Judith Malkin indicated that drilling-related action by town boards earlier in the year raised questions about potential conflicts of interest.

“We have been alerted to concerns about Windsor Town Board members with signed gas leases voting on issues related to hydrofracking,” one of the letters states. “This concern raises possible conflict of interest issues.”

“In that regard,” the letter adds, “would you please send us a copy of the town’s ethics code.”

Michelle Hook, a spokeswoman for the state Attorney General’s Office, declined to disclose the number or a full list of the municipalities that are involved in the inquiry, or discuss the status of the inquiries.

Following requests under the state Freedom of Information Law to a sample of municipalities, the Press & Sun-Bulletin received correspondence between the AG’s Office and the towns of Colesville, Sanford and Windsor.

The boards of those three towns are among more than 40 across the state that passed a similarly-worded resolution stating that it would be an “irresponsible and premature misallocation of town resources” to pass a ban or moratorium on natural gas drilling until the state Department of Environmental Conservation completes its review of hydraulic fracturing.

At least one member of the each of the Colesville, Sanford and Windsor town boards has an active natural gas lease a review of records in the Broome County Clerk’s Office shows.

In June, a plan was floated that would allow high-volume hydrofracking only in towns that have passed resolutions in support of shale-gas drilling. It led some to question [2] whether it would pose a conflict for land-owning board members who vote on various fracking-related issues.

Via the Press & Sun, here are the three letters the paper obtained:

Cb 1980191211 [3]


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URLs in this post:

[1] From the Press & Sun-Bulletin’s Steve Reilly: http://www.pressconnects.com/article/20121211/NEWS11/312110060/AG-inquires-about-conflicts-fracking-votes-Southern-Tier?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

[2] led some to question: http://www.pressconnects.com/article/20120625/NEWS11/206250348/Hydrofracking-plan-could-create-conflict-town-boards

[3] Cb 1980191211: http://www.scribd.com/doc/116542350/Cb-1980191211