Planning for Marcellus Shale activity is ‘a reality’

HAMILTON – In a response to a Binghamton Press & Sun article on Sunday about hydrofracking into the Marcellus Shale, a Chenango County planner said yesterday that natural gas exploration and the importance of planning for it are “a reality,” not the far off in the future fantasy as so described.

The Chenango County Natural Gas Advisory Committee and its economic development consultant have been actively educating themselves and county residents on how the community “can all benefit as well as protect our resources from the reality of natural gas exploration,” said Planner Rena Doing in an e-mail distributed yesterday. 

“(We are) keeping this door open, working toward economic development, as well as opening doors for education and job opportunities. This is sometimes a thankless job, but when dealing with the reality before us, it is appreciated.”

As far as Chenango County is concerned, when it comes to exploring the natural gas-rich Marcellus Shale, energy companies won’t be as interested in the northern half of Chenango County because the formation there is much too shallow. Geologists say the Marcellus lies only 2,000 to 3,000 feet deep north of the town lines of Smithville, Oxford and Guilford versus more than 4,000 feet deep below the demarcation.

Hydraulic fracturing, the controversial technique used to extract natural gas from fissures in organic rich black shale, simply won’t work in formations less than 4,000 feet, and is more likely in depths almost twice that amount.

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