Natural gas a key issue in senate race

NORWICH – Candidates for New York’s 51st Senatorial District weighed in last week with their opinions about natural gas drilling in the Southern Tier. While the district encompasses counties as far north as Herkimer and as far west as Tompkins - where minimal drilling is currently planned - they are both making the issue an integral part of their campaigns.

Don Barber, who participated in the Chenango County Fair Fireman’s Parade on Tuesday, said natural gas is a necessary resource, but not at the expense of the environment.

“There are many concerns with the process that have not been fully addressed by the DEC (New York’s environmental conservation agency), like where will the water come from?” the Democrat said.

Water has been the subject of much concern over the past month, especially from downstate officials who fear reservoir sources in the Catskill Mountains could eventually be tainted by sands and drilling chemicals as a result of future drilling in the Marcellus Shale.

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