Drill site spacing bill opposed by many in Chenango County

NORWICH – Local reaction is mostly opposed to a proposed law that addresses the spacing of drill sites and the distance horizontal drilling can reach before impinging on a neighbor’s land.

It would also speed up the process for drillers to obtain permits.

The law was passed by the New York State Legislature in late June and awaits Governor David Paterson’s signature. He is expected to make his decision to approve or veto it on Wednesday.

The distance from a lot line for traditional wells was 660 feet; under the new law the distance for a horizontal well will be 330 feet. New horizontal drilling techniques are planned in order to access the highly desired Marcellus Shale layer that lies under much of Chenango County and the Appalachian Basin.

Promoters of the bill say it would standardize the permitting process and establish stricter requirements to protect the environment.

Opponents are concerned that the law does not adequately address the environmental hazards of “fracing,” the technique of pressing large quantities of water and chemicals down the well in order that free up the gas trapped in the rock.

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