Land use issues continue to dominate county discussions

NORWICH – Those monitoring the natural gas industry in Chenango County have found a discrepancy between how New York regulates leasing state land and how the county’s attorney has ruled on Cook Park in Greene, a parcel that a gas company could desire for either a pipeline easement or exploration.

A case in point, they say, is a Nornew, Inc. well in the Town of Plymouth. When the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation’s unitization of the well site was permitted, it included a 26-acre parcel of state land. Because Chenango County Attorney Richard Breslin had previously advised a special committee on gas exploration that Cook Park couldn’t be leased - only compulsorily integrated - the gas committee began to monitor how the state would treat their opportunity.

As it turned out, the group was surprised with what they learned: The state doesn’t have to compulsory integrate nor does it have to lease unless the well is found to be successful. An interview with DEC spokesman Yancey Roy confirmed their findings. “State law permits the state to lease the land (instead of following compulsory integration procedures) and the royalty terms are to be determined if the well is successful,” he said.

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