Smyrna dealing with impact on roads from drilling activity

SMYRNA – The past couple of months have been relatively quiet for those who have been impacted by the heavy truck traffic and noise from drilling activities in the Town of Smyrna.

That’s because the Smyrna Highway Department posted the roads on March 8 after determining damages on several town roads would be made worse with the spring thaw. The ban is to be lifted on Friday.

Highway Superintendent Gary R. Graham said Coye Hill, Beaver Meadow, Quaker Hill and Davis roads would be repaired by Norse Energy, Inc. this summer. The Norwegian company is the primary player in developing Chenango County’s natural gas laden sandstone and shale formations. It has been most active in Smyrna, where 13 wells have been drilled since 2007.

Graham said he wasn’t initially concerned about the roads, and now feels confident that Norse will repair them.

“They messed up the blacktop and subbase. We’re putting some price quotes together for them. We are under the impression that they are going to repair them,” he said.

Upon a recent visit to his family’s farm in German Hollow, Ed Bliss of western Colorado (where hundreds of wells have been drilled over the past decade) said he found the landscape and the roads “ripped up.”

“I’m not really an activist, but this concerns me. This is like being back home. I didn’t expect to see all the gas trucks. It’s like seeing the enemy coming,” he said.

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