NEW BERLIN – More than 400 local citizens filled the Unadilla Valley High School auditorium Thursday night to listen to a presentation put on by the Central New York Land Owners Coalition.
The coalition represents the interests of over 84,000 acres over five different counties – 48,997 of those acres are in Chenango.
The group was organized and operated by volunteers, many land owners themselves, such as the president of the Coalition, Richard Lasky.
Lasky is critical of the companies attempting to obtain gas leases, citing his own poor experience which originally motivated him to help form the group.
“As long as they can take advantage, they will. It’s business. American business. It’s all just numbers to them, but to us it’s people’s lives. They will threaten and they will lie,” said Lasky.
The coalition has grown so quickly, explained Lasky, that he had to create two steering committees to help operate the group. “It’s much bigger than I ever assumed it could get,” he said.
Lasky told the crowd that he receives ten phone calls a day from farmers in central New York wanting to get out of their leases. “Once you’ve signed it, you can’t get out,” he said.