A local road use law that could add regulations and restrictions to gas drilling companies was adopted in the town of Cochecton by a four to one vote. Our Eva McKend has more on what implications the law could have for the rest of Sullivan County.
COCHECTON, N.Y. -- It's been four years in the making, a road use and preservation law intended to protect the taxpayers of Cochecton from the heavy truck traffic that could destroy their roads and leave them with the bill.
"Cochecton was affected by some road damage earlier by the Millennium Pipeline. They put a pipeline through here and unbeknownst to us, they had to move a lot of equipment through our town because of the DEC didn’t allow them to do a straight through run. They had to move a lot of equipment back and forth and damaged our roads. If we would have had this law in place back then, we would have a little bit better footing to recover the cost of fixing our roads," said Town of Cochecton Supervisor Gary Maas.
While some Sullivan County contractors are concerned, others believe the law makes sense, especially given the current condition of local roads.
"Our roads especially in a rural area have been built from back with horse and buggies and they just have been upgraded a little every year. They have never really constructed a full road," said Sullivan County Paving and Construction owner John Bernas.
"I’m not really upset about the road use. I was at first and Gary stopped down and talked to me and showed me how it’s calculated and I don’t see how it’s going to affect any of us because nothing that big is going to happen in Cochecton except if gas drilling does come," said Cochecton Mills owner Dennis Nearing.
Though opponents of natural gas drilling will likely be happy about the new law, local business owners in favor of it aren't necessarily anti-fracking.
"If we do get drilling in the area, which I definitely hope we do, the economy here needs something to spruce it up and some of the people need it to keep and own their property," Nearing added.
The town of Cochecton is not alone. Towns throughout Sullivan County are expected to pass their own road use and preservation laws in the coming weeks.