Sullivan County Hosts Second Forum on “Understanding Gas Drilling”   

(Monticello) – County Manager David P. Fanslau has announced that on Thursday, July 15, the Sullivan County Legislature will present the second in a series of three public forums on natural gas development of the Marcellus Shale, under the title “Understanding Gas Drilling.”

“This panel is designed to address many of the legitimate environmental and health concerns that have been raised with regard to natural gas drilling and hydro-fracking in the Marcellus Shale. The County will host scientific experts, an environmental lawyer who has studied the state’s proposed regulatory regime, and representatives from one of the major corporations currently developing natural gas resources in the Marcellus Shale,” said Legislator Kathleen LaBuda, Chair of the Planning, Environmental Management, and Real Property Committee.

The second event in the series of Public Forums, “Understanding Gas Drilling,” will take place in Monticello High School Auditorium, 237 Route 42 in Monticello, NY, Thursday, July 15. The third and final forum in the series will take place Thursday, August 19, at the same location. All events run from 5:45 PM to 8:30 PM, are free and open to the public.

Each of the three Public Forums has been planned to address a different set of topics through a panel of professional experts and others with relevant experience. The first forum in the series, which focused on Property and Landowner issues was held last Tuesday, June 29, and drew approximately 120 attendees. At that event, a panel of three speakers made presentations on the basics of gas drilling and pipeline development, with regard to leasing ones land for drilling and the extent of municipal control afforded under state law. Speakers were Chris Denton, who heads the Denton Law Office in Elmira, New York, Bradd Vickers, President of the Chenango County Farm Bureau and Todd Mathes, an attorney with the Albany law firm of Whiteman Osterman and Hanna, LLP.

The speakers presented a wealth of information— much of it new to residents of Sullivan County. The Q&A period fostered a rich discussion among the panelists, where each brought a unique perspective on the issues raised for both individuals and local governments. Questions from the public were written on cards and then read from the stage by volunteers. The June 29 forum was video-archived; this and future archives can be seen via the County’s website at: www.co.sullivan.ny.us.

In the upcoming panel scheduled for Thursday, July 15, sub-titled, “Environmental and Health Concerns,” speakers will examine potential health and environmental risks associated with natural gas development, the current status of New York State’s proposed regulations, and industry practices designed to mitigate potential hazards. Panelists will include: Dr. Anthony R. Ingraffea, Professor of Engineering at Cornell University, who has researched and analyzed the fracturing processes involved in gas shale deposits; Dr. Adam Law, MD, a specialist in endocrinology and metabolic medicine and President of the Medical Staff at Cayuga Medical Center in Ithaca, New York, who will address risks to human endocrine and metabolic function from processes associated with natural gas development of the Marcellus; Kate Sinding, Deputy Director of Urban East Program of the Natural Resources Defense Council, who has analyzed New York State’s draft environmental regulations currently proposed for managing development of the Marcellus Shale; Paul Hartman, Chesapeake Energy Corporation’s NYS Director of Government Relations, who will speak on the company’s approach to mitigating risks in developing this resource. 

The third Public Forum, scheduled for Thursday, August 19, will focus on “Economic Development and Community Impacts” through reports on and from communities experiencing natural gas development. Speakers include Jannette Barth of the economic consulting firm, J.M. Barth & Associates, Croton-on-Hudson, NY; Jeffrey Jacquet of Cornell University’s Department of Natural Resources and Cornell Cooperative Extension’s “Marcellus Shale Team”; Craig Sautner, resident of Dimmock, PA, and Anthony J. Ventello, Executive Director of Progress Authority of Bradford and Susquehanna Counties, Towanda, PA.

These sessions will be moderated by Planning Commissioner Luiz C. Aragon and will provide an opportunity for the public to ask questions of the panelists.

For additional information, contact the Sullivan County Division of Planning and Environmental Management, Tel. 845-807-0527, or Email: planning@co.sullivan.ny.us

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