By Matt Fossen
PM News Report: November 8th, 2013
Issues of police enforcement and fracking in Tompkins County are both highly charged topics following recent Ithaca Common Council negotiations and a Cornell hosted fracking forum.
Police enforcement, though less publisized than fracking, has had its fair share of contention following the ICC’s review of Mayor Myrick’s recent budget proposals for the upcoming fiscal year. Since the start of recent budget talks, the Ithaca Police Department has been more than adamant about the city expanding its officer forces, in spite of not initially achieving that desire. The original proposed budget created no provision for more officers on staff however the plan would increase the IDP budget for a fifth straight year to 11.72 million dollars.
In spite of the relatively generous allocations, the IPD has remained insistent on addressing staff needs. Police Chief John Barber has stated the force needs to add 6 officers to the current 57 officer staff, and the latest developments seem to be a movement in that direction. Following extended discussion, the council has now voted for an addition of two new police positions in the spring of 2014.
However, across town in Cornell’s Hollister Hall was a symposium hosted by Professor Tony Ingraffea addressing most recent corporate interests in fracking throughout upstate New York. The conversation- featuring New York geologists, a systems engineer, and two energy company executives with the Cornell faculty member, focused on fracking ambitions for the New York portion of the Marcellus rock Formation.
The conclusion of the talks seems to support general upstate dissent of fracking. The primary issue for corporate drilling is that given the upstate’s natural gas amounts only Broome and Tioga counties would even be appropriate to be extracted from, still New York environmental regulations would limit those efforts substantially.
Of course, corporate interests do remain high and well documented, but even a former Mobil executive has encouraged people to remain invested in preventing fracking.