Coalition representing 170,000 acres urged to amp up their pro-drilling voices

NEW BERLIN – About 1,500 members of the Central New York Landowners Coalition gathered in New Berlin Saturday to learn the latest news and information about natural gas drilling from the attorney who represents them, a consulting geologist and their coalition’s president.

Representing 170,000 acres of the 12 million acre Marcellus Shale region in New York, the group claims to be the largest landowner coalition in the United States. Further, they proclaim that their lease, with its stipulation for closed loop drilling and other safety measures, is the most environmentally conscientious offer on the market.

“There’s no one more pro environmental than me,” said CNYLC President Richard Lasky. “Ours is the most environmentally sound lease in the world. I always say this to the environmentalists: You should all get together and join a land group to make sure the gas companies will do the right thing.”

Lasky echoed the prevailing sentiment within the gymnasium at Unadilla Valley High School: After two long years and now three large-scale meetings, the coalition appears to be growing weary of the media attention gained by those against drilling.

They’ve watched in earnest as a handful of large land groups around them have sign leases with multi-national energy companies for upwards of $4,000 an acre plus lucrative royalties. They’ve been stunned by Gov. David Paterson’s halt on hydrofracking, and watched from the sidelines as potential energy companies turned away from New York. And now they are feeling the pressure from the opposition, who they say are to blame for the delay.

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