Mission: Protect the Town from High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing Gas Drilling
1. Ban gas drilling in the Town of Vestal to protect the town’s residents health, safety, water, air, property and finances.
2. Work to ensure the town is fully prepared for gas drilling if it does come to the town or to nearby towns.
3. Support the efforts to ban gas drilling at the state level until proven safe and accepted by the majority of residents in the proposed affected areas.
Vestal Residents For Save Energy (VeRSE) is a volunteer group working to protect the health and safely of the town residents, the quality of life in the town and the economic interests of the majority of the town’s residents through a moratorium on gas drilling in the town.
What is High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing Gas Drilling?
High-volume hydraulic fracturing as used for natural gas extraction, is the process by which water, mixed with proppants and chemicals, is forced down a well bore at extremely high pressure in order to create or expand fractures to release gas from the rock formation in which it is trapped. Proppants are small particles such as sand or synthetic beads, that hold open the newly-created fractures so that released gas can flow towards the well. The process as currently practiced involves use of millions of gallons of fresh water and thousands of gallons of toxic chemicals per well.
The process is also known as industrial gas drilling, hydraulic fracturing, hydrofracking, fracking, slick water fracking, or any of several other variants. When the term high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) or other variants are used on this website we are typically referring to the entire process associated with shale gas extraction and distribution. We are not just referring to the actual fracking process in which explosives, followed by a mixture of pressured water and chemicals are used to break up the shale and free the gas.
Click here to download a 2-page PDF document featuring a pair of diagrams that outline the basics of high volume hydraulic fracturing.
- Canvass the town residents to determine the degree of support for a moratorium on HVHF gas drilling in the Town of Vestal. Record support via the VeRSE petition.
- Provide access to information for the town’s residents and Town Board members on the impacts and risks associated with high-volume hydraulic fracturing gas drilling.
- Raise concerns regarding high-volume hydraulic fracturing gas drilling with the Town Board members. Propose a ban or moratorium on high-volume hydraulic fracturing in the Town of Vestal.
- Make the case to the Town Board members that the largest proportion of the town’s population is behind them in imposing a ban or moratorium on industrial gas drilling.
Validity of a Ban
On June 30, 2014, the New York State Court of Appeals, which is the highest court in the state, upheld bans on high-volume hydraulic fracturing in the towns of Dryden and Middlefield. Both towns enacted bans a few years ago, and petrochemical interests challenged those bans in court. In February of 2012 a judge in Courtland upheld Dryden’s ban, and later the same month a judge in Wampsville ruled that Middlefield’s ban was also legal. The petrochemical interests appealed those lower court rulings, and on May 2, 2013, a four-judge panel of the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the lower court decisions in favor of the towns of Dryden and Middlefield. The petrochemical interests challenging the Dryden and Middlefield bans then appealed that decision to the NYS Court of Appeals, and the June 30, 2014 decision should now put the matter to rest. Following this ruling, towns in New York State can enact bans on high-volume hydraulic fracturing, and indeed, can choose to prohibit any form of industrial activity within their jurisdiction if they find it in their best interests to do so.