Last night, the Town of Board of Westford opted to NOT take any action on a proposal presented to the town board to enact a ban on natural gas activities within the town. It was hoped that a possible measure similar to the one being pursued in the Town of Middlefield and Town of Otsego would be adapted to help curb any natural gas activity within Otsego County. The meeting was well attended by longtime residents (generations deep) and also residents who moved here for the tranquility that a small town in upstate NY provides. There were two distinct sentiments; those that felt that natural gas drilling was inherently dangerous and detrimental to the environment, and those who had faith that the DEC and Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) regulations would be sufficient enough to protect the environment and to warrant natural gas exploration.
The downside of all these town board meetings is that they tend to show the rift that is forming between neighbors. Majority of the drilling opponents have spent time gathering information from anti-drilling forums whilst opponents are relying on information provided by coalitions and the industry. Both sides offer distinctly different viewpoints. Since truth cannot be mutually exclusive, the stance has forced residents into taking sides and putting their faith/belief into one side. It is my contention that only through a common ground approach that as a community we can move forward and choose and the most practical and realistic solution for a specific community.