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Orchard Park debating 'fracking'

The Orchard Park Town Board is still talking about whether it should outlaw hydrofracking in the town.

The board conducted an information session last month on hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking, the process of pumping water into shale to extract natural gas.

"Where do you want to go with this?" Supervisor Janis Colarusso asked councilmen during the board's work session Wednesday evening.

Several residents have asked the board to enact a moratorium on hydrofracking, such as what the Town of Wales did earlier this year. They are concerned about the effect of the chemicals used in the process on underground aquifer.

"I want to see what the state will do," Councilman David R. Kaczor said. "I don't want to do a knee-jerk reaction."

Kaczor suggested the town make sure there is a proper procedure in place in the town for companies that want to use the procedure.

Town Attorney Leonard Berkowitz said drilling for natural gas is governed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

He said the town could issue a ban on hydrofracking, but it may not be enforceable if someone sued the town.

Councilwoman Nan Ackerman said experts agree there is no Marcellus shale -- the shale that the controversial technique is used on -- in Orchard Park.

Councilman Eugene Majchrzak said he has concerns about the rights of property owners and control of their land, while Kaczor said he wanted more information.

The DEC has issued recommendations that could lead to fracking, but the state is in the middle of a 60-day waiting period for public comments on the recommendations.

email: bobrien@buffnews.com