Letter to the editor: Meredith election not a referendum on drilling ban

Editor's note: We received the letter below from Keitha Capouya, former supervisor of the town of Meredith who was narrowly defeated in last November's election, in response to our story of Dec. 20, 2013, "Meredith bans gas drilling." In it, we reported that during a public hearing on a new town law banning gas drilling and other heavy industry, Meredith's newly-elected supervisor, Jim Ellis, spoke out against the adoption of the law, and characterized the election as a referendum on the law.

Here's the comment we were referring to, made by Ellis at a Dec. 9 hearing: 

"During the past meeting, or a past meeting, this past fall, a statement was made, with most attendants nodding in agreement, the statement was that the election of Town Supervisor will determine, would be a determining factor in the progress of this new local law [banning heavy industry and gas drilling]."

Full transcripts from both public hearings conducted on Meredith's new law are available on the Town of Meredith's website. --Ed.

To the editor,

I was glad to see your article on Meredith's new Local Law Prohibiting Heavy Industry.

I disagree with Jim Ellis's contention that the election in Meredith was a referendum on fracking. Indeed, re-elected Board member John Janiszewski, and member-elect Rachel Polens, both ran very strong anti-fracking campaigns.

At both Public Hearings on the law, Mr. Ellis suggested waiting to let the new Board consider the matter sometime in the future--after more study, a new survey, and perhaps a referendum--citing the 40% change in the makeup of the Board in 2014. At the second hearing, Rachel Polens' comment concluded with "...speaking as 50% of the 40% that Jim Ellis was talking about...I encourage you to pass this law."

As for Mr. Ellis's stand on fracking, I don't know what it is; but I do know that he tried to convince the Town Board that clean air and unpolluted water regulations were all that were needed to keep the gas companies in line.

That level of ignorance of the industry's practices; of the process itself; of gas and oil industry exemptions from the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Safe Drinking Water Acts; and of the environmental destruction that has followed fracking throughout the world is breathtaking.

I would have been worse than negligent had I left office without bringing this law to a vote.


Keitha Capouya