Landowner reps urge DEC to move ahead

NORWICH – Representatives from the two major landowner groups in Chenango County told New York’s environmental regulating agency that hydrofracking into the natural gas rich Marcellus Shale could be performed “safely and in an environmentally secure way” and should be allowed to proceed.

Bryant Latourette, chairman of the Oxford Land Group, said members of coalitions have become increasingly frustrated by those who are opposed to the possibility of any type of natural gas exploration.

“While natural gas exploration has been conducted safely in New York for decades, the public has been misinformed repeatedly by extremists/obstructionist groups whose agenda is only to kill new investments in some of the state’s most economically deprived regions,” he said.

Latourette’s comments were among hundreds received since Sept. 30 when the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation released its 800-page environmental impact statement and began seeking public input. The fifth and final public hearing concluded two weeks ago, and less than five weeks remain for sending out comments by mail, e-mail and online.

Charles Rowe, representing the Central New York Landowners Coalition, said his group was united in favor of safe drilling for natural gas with strong oversight from the DEC. A fourth generation dairy farmer, Rowe said the environment is “very dear to us” and without land and water “we are nothing.”

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