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Town enacts drilling moratorium

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Bartonville Town Council members voted Wednesday evening to place a moratorium on new gas drilling permits, hydraulic fracturing permits, and the use of chemicals in the fracking process for three months.

The ordinance stipulates that no applications will be accepted for drilling, fracking, or introduction of chemicals into the ground for the next 90 days. However, it does authorize the town council to grant waivers for the activities on a case by case basis.

A full quorum of five councilmembers was present with Carla Anderson, Jim Ferrell, and Bill Reaves voting to adopt the ordinance. Councilmembers Gracie Egan and James Ashburn, after having each submitted a conflict of interest statement, abstained from voting.

The ordinance also authorizes an Ad Hoc committee consisting of two councilmembers, two representatives from the gas industry, two residents, and a third person with knowledge of natural gas production or that works for a state or federal agency.

The council has the option to renew the moratorium for one additional 90 day period after conducting a public hearing. The full text of the ordinance can be viewed here.

The council’s action comes on the heals of the town being listed by the Environmental Protection Agency as a possible study site to measure the impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources.

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