State ban on hydrofracking is not a sure thing

To the Editor:

The Berne Town Board has chosen to place its legal notices in the Times Union and not this paper, which means that notices of Berne public hearings are hidden among the many hundreds of legal notices the Times Union publishes daily.

Posted for only one day both online and in print, these notices are essential for open, transparent government, and, when only published in the Times Union, cannot be readily found by our residents. This essentially denies them knowledge and participation in deciding important issues that directly affect them.

Because of this, I believe your readers should be made aware of a public hearing taking place on Wednesday, March 11, at 6:45 p.m. for the consideration of Town of Berne Proposed Local Law 1 of 2020.

The board will consider whether or not to enact this law, which is an extension of the existing moratorium on issuing permits for the construction of hydraulic fracturing facilities within the town.

Contrary to many people’s understanding, New York State does not currently have a permanent ban on hydraulic fracturing, also known as hydrofracking, for gas or oil.

In 2015, Joe Martens, then the Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner, ruled the DEC would not issue permits for high-volume hydrofracking, but the issue was not taken up by the legislature, and the DEC could reverse its position at any time with no public notice.

Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced that he would include such a ban in his 2021 budget, but again, not through the usual legislative process, and, until it happens, certainly not a sure thing.  Additionally, there is no mention of low-volume hydrofracking, currently defined as using less than 300,000 gallons of water per completion.

I encourage anyone with thoughts or concerns about this issue to join me in attending the public hearing.  Berne Town Board meetings and public hearings are now being held at the Community and Senior Center at 1360 Helderberg Trail, and the proposed law can be found on the town’s website

Dawn G. Jordan


Editor’s note: Dawn Jordan, a Democrat, did not seek re-election in November as a Berne town board member.

Municipal legal notices published in The Enterprise are permanently posted on the newspaper’s website (, accessible for free. Additionally, readers may ask for a free newsletter that sends the published legal notices directly to their email boxes.

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