Pelham residents urge ‘fracking’ ban

Last modified: Thursday, February 06, 2014
PELHAM — Members of a Pelham group will ask their town’s Conservation Commission next week to ban the extraction of natural gas by hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking.

Michael Hussin of Pelham said the group Neighbor to Neighbor has been meeting for over two years and will outline its environmental concerns about fracking. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. Feb. 13 in the Rhodes Building.

Hussin said members want the panel to consider adding by-laws that would ban fracking in Pelham as well as the transportation, disposal and storage of fracking waste products.

Hussin said in an email that he believes Pelham would be the first town in Massachusetts to institute such policy.

Elsewhere in the United States, over 400 cities and towns as well as the state of Vermont have instituted bans.

“While it is unlikely that drilling will occur in the Valley or Pelham, technological developments and financial demands for gas production could leave us wishing we had done something while we had the chance,” Hussin said in a statement.

State Rep. Ellen Story, D-Amherst, is the co-sponsor of a measure that calls for a 10-year statewide fracking ban. The House and Senate Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture has voted to advance the bill.

Abbie Jenks, a member of Neighbor to Neighbor, said it is good that legislators see value in a ban, but cautioned that the public must also speak out.

“Bills in the Legislature have a way of quietly dying in various committees unless there is a strong show of support and determination from constituents,” she said in a release.