Oxford sets date to vote on fracking moratorium

OXFORD – The Village of Oxford is on the verge of becoming the first municipality in Chenango County to signal its opposition to shale gas development should Gov. Cuomo and the state’s environmental regulators permit drilling and hydraulic fracturing next year.

Trustees will vote on Dec. 11 whether or not to a impose a nine-month moratorium on gas exploration, extraction, and disposal in the village. A meeting to review the Oxford Fire Department’s annual report was previously scheduled on that day, beginning at 7:30 p.m., and now the agenda will include time for this last piece of what has been a push since the spring to update the village’s zoning laws and comprehensive plan with language that addresses the issues surrounding natural gas drilling.

“This buys us some time,” said Mayor Terry Stark on Tuesday during a regular meeting of the board. “We want to put the industry on notice that we are stopping everything relative to gas drilling. We don’t want people making financial decisions about us, like takings and investments.”

At the end of the pause, Stark said the board would vote to either ban drilling in the village entirely, or allow it under special exemption.

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