Penfield board poised to approve fracking ban


By the end of the month, Penfield could be the fifth Monroe County community to ban fracking. And the second with an all-Republican town board to do so.

The Town Board is holding a public hearing at 7:30 p.m. today on a law that would prohibit natural gas and petroleum extraction within Penfield. Barring any major issues emerging during tonight's hearing, the board should adopt the ban at its December 17 meeting, Supervisor Tony LaFountain says.

And the law would also prohibit the disposal of gas and petroleum extraction wastes within the town, including disposing waste water in injection wells and spreading well brine on Penfield's roads. 

Rochester-area anti-fracking activists have pushed for the local bans to symbolize opposition to the natural gas extraction technique and to protect local communities should drillers take an interest in Monroe County. Brighton, Mendon, Perinton, and Rush have bans similar to the one proposed in Penfield, while the City of Rochester has a moratorium.

Penfield has had a moratorium on oil and gas drilling for about two years. During that time, the town examined ban ordinances from different communities and considered perspectives on both sides of the issue, LaFountain says. And while extraction companies say that they aren't interested in drilling in Monroe County, LaFountain says, that doesn't meant they won't be interested at some point in the future.