Town of Sidney votes tonight on Leatherstocking Pipeline

Above: A lecture on the dangers of fracking organized by Friends of Sustainable Sidney on Tuesday at the Greater Maywood Rural Community Services Community Center. 

A group called Friends of Sustainable Sidney is hoping that tonight's Sidney Town Board Meeting will be packed. The Sidney Town Board is scheduled to vote on whether to give the Leatherstocking Gas Company public utility status, which will allow it to build a natural gas pipeline through Sidney, Coventry, and Bainbridge.

At a public hearing in August, a crowd peppered Leatherstocking officials with questions. Some residents fear that allowing Leatherstocking to build a pipeline through Sidney will open the door to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in Sidney.

Last week, Trish Tyrell of Friends of Sustainable Sidney sent us a statement about tonight's meeting:

The Town Board of Sidney votes on whether or not to allow Leatherstocking LLC, a joint venture between Corning Natural Gas and Mirabito, a 50-year franchise deal to build a natural gas pipeline through the Town of Sidney. It already passed the Village legislation earlier this year. This pipeline’s purpose is said, by Leatherstocking execs, to be a provider of cheaper energy to the large industries of Amphenol and Mead West Vaco located in the Village of Sidney.

There are many people concerned about this proposed deal, both within Sidney and from surrounding areas. Of major concern to most is whether or not this pipeline is a ploy to bring the heavy industry of unconventional natural gas drilling commonly known as fracking to Sidney, and beyond.

The president of the Leatherstocking Gas Company, Michael German, has said that his company has nothing to do with hydraulic fracturing. In August, WBNG reported that German said:

"Our goal is to hook up to conventional wells that are around here that have not been hydro-fracked and provide gas service to the locals. We are not in the drilling business," says German.

Tonight's meeting is at 7pm at the Sidney Civic Center, 21 Liberty St. in Sidney.