The Town of Perinton adopted a local law banning hydrofracking within town limits at a board meeting held Wednesday, Sept. 12.

“We believe that, as the hydrofracking industry and its methodologies stand today, this practice is not compatible with our town, its existing development pattern and its tradition of the preservation of open space,” said the town supervisor, James Smith.

Drafted in response to the efforts of the Citizens Alliance for a Pristine Perinton (CAPP), the law prohibits the extraction, exploration and storage of petroleum and natural gas.

The law brings changes to the town code that detail the potential consequences of fracking – including air pollution, dust, odors, and excessive truck traffic, as well as the unauthorized disposal of hazardous waste.

The CAAP, formed earlier this year, initially asked the board to either prohibit hydrofracking or implement a one-year moratorium on the drilling method for the purpose of further review. The organization delivered a detailed presentation, highlighting the negative consequences associated with hydrofracking, to the Town Board in late May.

Though the adverse environmental impacts of hydrofracking are well documented, some residents stand in opposition to the new law. Among the reasons for disapproval are the beliefs that hydrofracking can be done safely and that banning the drilling method is an intrusion on the public’s rights.

“If I have a significant piece of property sitting on a gas field, why shouldn’t I have the ability to derive income from that,” said Perinton resident Bill Davidson, citing the profitability of gas drilling. “(This law) interferes with property rights. There’s misleading information from both sides, but I support hydrofracking if it can be done safely and properly.”

S. Christine Fredette, a member of the town’s conservation board, which endorsed the new law, said the potential for water contamination resulting from hydrofracking – caused by a liquid flow containing radioactive materials – is too great a risk.

“My concern lies with the town’s agriculture and the people who depend on water wells,” Fredette said. “We can do without natural gas, but we can’t do without water.”  

Fellow resident, Judith McNulty, agreed with Fredette’s comment, stating that alternative forms of energy is what governments should be focusing on.

“This new law serves as a statement that says (allowing hydrofracking) is not the best direction for the state to be heading in,” McNulty said. “We don’t need (hydrofracking) because there’s already a glut of natural gas on the market.”