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Hydrofracking forum held in Morris

By WKTV News

MORRIS, N.Y. (WKTV) - Some people who live in the Town of Morris want to ban the controversial practice of hydrofracking. Hydraulic fracturing involves shooting water at a high rate of speed into the ground-- breaking up shale--and releasing natural gas. Residents presented a petition that organizers say 75 percent of registered voters signed, asking the town to ban the practice.

Instead, town officials put together a gas committee and decided to host a forum, about hydrofracking, hoping to dispell any myths. "We want the town to be informed," says Gas Committee member Bob Thomas, "It's a big decision, we think, the possibility of natural gas drilling and the changes it could make in a small town."

Butternuts resident Teresa Winchester came to Thursday night's forum hoping to hear what hydrofracking supporters had to say. She had doubts they would convince her that the practice is safe. "Gas drilling is by far and away the most important issue. There's never been anything like this in memory in New York to date. "It's divided the communities but it's also brought a lot of us together for a common cause, common interests and common values- values that concern the long term," says Winchester. She is so passionate about the topic she has decided she will run for office in the near future. "I think there are 7 or 8 people stepping up for town board. I'm running for county board because our representative belongs to a landowners coalition-- and he fully intends to sign a lease and is completely unresponsive to our concerns all along and I think the people need better representation than that."

Thursday night's forum was held at Morris Central School. It was moderated by the League of Women Voters. Guest speakers included Lou Allstadt, former executive vice president of Mobil Oil Corp, environmental consultant Uni Blake, Professor Ron Bishop and Geological hydrologist Alan Springett.

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