Our friend John Holko, President of Lenape Resources, has had enough. The Town of Avon, which is home to many of his employees and landowners, and benefits tremendously from the taxes and free natural gas he provides, decided they could take all that for granted and still play games with the anti-energy contingent by fashioning a moratorium that would grandfather John’s existing operations. Local officials naively believe that all John has to do is to keep pumping his existing wells, keep paying his landowners, keep paying them taxes and keep providing them free gas – all with no new sources of income while they twiddle their thumbs entertaining a ban on something they have no right to regulate in the first place!
The Town Board demonstrated an appalling lack of knowledge about natural gas development in the process, precisely the kind of ignorance that fully explains, without need of further amplification, the reason for state pre-emption of local regulation in this field. Local officials have neither the experience, nor the knowledge to regulate such an industry. Yet, they would if they could. Holko, though, has just told them they’re not going to starve out his business while pretending to protect it; that he’s going to fight back. He’s told his attorney, Michael Joy, who has guest blogged on these pages, to protect his rights. It’s a powerful lesson for all local officials considering moratoriums. He’s just told them “be careful what you wish for,” especially when you’re trying to do zoning by applause. The news release says it all.