PLYMOUTH – The calm and orderly tenor at the town board meeting in Plymouth last month, when nearly 30 individuals were given five minutes each to expound on the subject of natural gas drilling, gave way to a citizen being evicted from this month’s meeting of the board.
It was the first time Supervisor Jerry Kreiner, R-Plymouth, was forced to remove a member of the public from a government meeting. On April 9, Kreiner called upon the Chenango County Sheriff’s Office to escort a resident out of the town hall because his angry shouts were disrupting another’s public comment.
“You don’t want to have to call a police agency to have members of the public removed. That’s not a good feeling for anybody,” Kreiner said.
The outburst began when a resident read aloud oil and gas leases that had been signed by the evicted person, who happens to also be a prominent anti-drilling activist, Peter Hudiburg. In person and through many letters to The Evening Sun, Hudiburg has repeatedly called on town and Chenango County government officials to ban high impact industrial drilling for natural gas. Last summer, he delivered a petition with 600 signatures calling for a moratorium in Plymouth.
Hudiburg left on his own accord and was not cited. He said he considered the attack personal and called Kreiner’s refusal to allow individuals to exchange comments during the public session “unfortunate.” As for leasing his land for drilling, Hudiburg said he “was sucked into” leasing because the 61-acre parcel he purchased adjacent to his farm back in 2004 already had a lease on it, and that he had no choice in the matter when the lease was renewed in 2007 and again in 2008.