Regional gas meeting addresses standardized regs

NORWICH – Whenever an energy company moves into a new town, telephone calls and e-mails from landowners, supervisors and town officials begin pouring into the Chenango County Planning and Development Department.

They want to know the latest standards for road maintenance and sound control, and the protocols for permitting seismic testing and road borings. A standardized set of regulations that would cross town and even county borders would be beneficial, said Chenango County Natural Gas Consultant Steven Palmatier, who works closely with the county’s planning department and Commerce Chenango.

Those attending a regional meeting last week at the County Office Building in Norwich discussed creating such a document, as well as a directory of businesses that companies could refer to and the types of curriculum needed to educate and train a future workforce for the energy industry.

More than 40 public officials, landowners and industry representatives attended the second gathering of the Chenango, Otsego, Delaware, Madison Regional Natural Gas Collaborative. Palmatier served as moderator.

Town of German Supervisor Richard Schlag said his town board had been discussing road bonding for about two years, looking at other town’s regulations and trying to formulate their own. “We haven’t come up with a formula yet that protects our town roads, but isn’t too exorbitant for companies to want to drill,” he said.

Speaking for the handful of energy industry representatives in attendance, John Holko of Lenape Resources, Inc. of Alexander, said companies coming into New York aren’t really frightened by the regulations that are being proposed at the state level, but rather what at the local level “might jump out and ruin a $100 million project.”

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