News in Cortland NY

July 28, Natural Gas Seminar

7 - 9pm, NYS Grange Headquarters. Natural Gas Exploration Seminar on DEC Regulations on Natural Gas Drilling and the Powers of Towns.

The Natural Gas Play in the Marcellus Shale is knocking on the door of Cortland County. Many residents have been contacted in recent weeks by gas company representatives, known as landmen. These landmen are looking to lease or extend a lease of the landowner's mineral rights for gas exploration activities. While it's important for landowners to be educated on natural gas exploration in order to protect their land, it's equally important that local officials know how activities will affect their municipalities and what measures they can take to protect the residents and resources within their towns, villages, cities and counties.

The Cortland County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is hosting an informational seminar for all local officials, landowners, and interested residents looking to better understand the role of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Law as it pertains to natural gas exploration. Many residents are aware that DEC has suspended drilling activities, involving a technique known as hydrofracing, until the final Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS) has been released. This GEIS is expected to be wrapped up by the end of the summer/early fall opening the doors for drilling activity to pick up in the area.

To talk about the GEIS and the actions local municipalities can take to protect resources in their jurisdictions, the SWCD has arranged for environmental and municipal attorney, Kimberlea Rae, Esq. from Bosworth, Gray & Fuller along with Mark Millspaugh, P.E., President of Sterling Engineering to speak in Cortland at the New York State Grange headquarters off of Clinton Avenue. The speakers bring a wealth of knowledge to Cortland and will discuss details such as:

• The impact of the GEIS on the hydrofracing process for gas drillling of Marcellus Shale gas wells for local governments ­ what wiill be the regulations, when will these be implemented and how.
 
• Actions municipal governments can take to address local road impacts and to protect local roads.
 
• Actions municipal governments can take to protect critical, sensitive areas in their municipalities.
 
• The current system of assessment of fuel production and property taxes in New York State and proposals to create a severance tax or fuel production tax, and its ramifications or opportunities for local municipalities.

Information about this seminar and other services provided by the SWCD can be found on their website at www.cortlandswcd.org, by e-mailing shawn.murphy@cortlandswcd.org, or by calling (607) 756-5991. The SWCD invites all to attend this session, who are interested, as gas drilling is sure to have an impact on all residents, landowners and local officials in some way or another. Residents please urge your local officials to attend in order to protect the resources within your municipalities.