New Milford Town Council Enacts Citizen-Led Fracking Waste Ban

We’re not going to let anything into the town!¬†Councilman Tom Esposito staunchly promised to a full house of concerned citizens during the New Milford Town Council meeting on Monday, July 10, 2017. Esposito’s impassioned support of a citizen-led initiative to ban fracking wastes from the town was matched in full by his fellow councilors, as well as the many commenters who spoke for nearly an hour during the public comment section of the meeting, and the dozens more in the room backing each speaker with thunderous applause.

In the weeks leading up to this regularly-scheduled meeting, a group of townspeople known as The Committee to Ban Fracking Waste from New Milford used ordinance language that passed in nineteen other towns urging the Town Council to ban the use of by-products of hydraulic fracturing within town limits, and to require that contractors do the same. After the requisite 164 registered voters signed petitions in support, as per the Town Charter, the Town Council was set to tackle the subject.

However, there would prove to be little debate, as the only contentious points were minor details such as wording. Democratic Councilors Frank Wargo, Scott Chamberlain, and Mary Jane Lundgren — plus Mayor David Gronbach — joined Republicans Tom Esposito, Paul Szymanski, and Katy Francis in speaking out fervently in favor of the taxpayer-backed fracking waste ban. Two hours into the discussion, bookended by many speeches and a quick consult from the town’s attorney, John Tower, a bipartisan and unanimous 7-0 vote made New Milford the twenty-first municipality in Connecticut to ban the use and import of fracking waste products (Councilman Walter Bayer and Councilwoman Jessica Richardson were absent).

While the ordinance has passed, the town’s attorney still needs to review the text and make whatever minor corrections deemed necessary for it to apply to New Milford. The Town Council will ratify the final ordinance at their next meeting on August 14.

The Green Party of New Milford would like to toast a glass of clean drinking water to The Committee to Ban Fracking Waste in New Milford for their tireless efforts in collecting signatures around town. We’d also like to thank The Sierra Club, Food & Water Watch, and 350CT for their support of this ordinance.

Green Party members and concerned citizens in other towns are welcome to contact Jen Siskind at jsiskind@fwwlocal.org for ordinance information and free materials.

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