County appoints gas drilling consultant

NORWICH – A Preston manufacturing entrepreneur could be given the helm to navigate what he says are the tremendous economic development opportunities for Chenango County with regards to natural gas production.

Last week, the Planning and Economic Development Committee unanimously appointed Steven Palmatier as a consultant. The committee’s action will be offered for consideration by the full board of supervisors in August.

Committee Chairperson Linda Natoli said Palmatier, who would report directly to the committee and work from an office at Commerce Chenango, was recommended by members of the Chenango County Natural Gas Committee in conjuction with Chenango County Board of Supervisors Chairman Richard B. Decker, who approved of the appointment.

“A group of us, we asked ourselves, ‘Would we be ready if natural gas phenomena were to hit Chenango County?’ We decided we weren’t ready and needed a consultant to identify the potential jobs that could be an offshoot of this,” said Natoli.

The natural gas committee and members of the Chenango County Planning Board have been requesting economic development leadership over the burgeoning natural gas industry here for many months. Leasing, drilling and pipeline development has become a reality in many parts of the county, particularly in the towns of Plymouth and Smyrna where Norse Energy, Inc. of Norway is already producing natural gas through its pipelines to the Dominion in northern New York.

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