SIDNEY – On January 9, Acting Delaware County Supreme Court Judge John Lambert ruled against the 2013 local ban on hydraulic fracturing set into motion by the Sidney Town Board, saying their actions were invalid.
Last year, the Town Board voted to ban the natural gas drilling process within the Town of Sidney's borders. The Delaware County judge ruled the board needed a minimum of four of its members to vote in favor of the moratorium – what's known as a super majority – in order for the local ban to hold, according to Rob Wedlake, attorney for Howard, Hinman & Kattel of Binghamton.
Typically, a majority vote of three of the five board members is all that is needed for motions to pass into law at the town level. In this case the voice of those who own more than 25 percent of the land in the town – more than the 20 percent mandated threshold to enact super majority requirement – led to to the decision and was sited as the reason Judge Lambert defaulted the 2012 moratorium.