Chenango's gas committee "way ahead" of other counties, advisor says

NORWICH – An advisory committee tasked with tracking the natural gas industry for Chenango County recently referred matters of safety, private water well testing and land reclamation methods to government standing committees.

The referrals are just the latest on a long list delivered to supervisors, county officials and department heads since the committee was formed in 2008, well before the nation turned its attention to the massive quantities of gas within the Marcellus Shale and the reported environmental damages associated with hydraulic fracturing.

“We are way ahead of the other counties in getting things done,” said Chenango County Natural Gas Industry Consultant Steven Palmatier, who sits on the committee. (To read minutes and see a list of referrals, go to the Chenango County Planning Department website at

Chenango County Board of Supervisors Chairman Richard B. Decker, R-N. Norwich, created the advisory committee after receiving numerous complaints from property owners about landmen’s aggressive leasing tactics and a legal challenge for permitting seismic testing along County Rd. 10A in Preston. At about the same time, many supervisors were taken aback upon learning that the county’s attorney and Decker had signed - without consulting town supervisors - a compulsory integration agreement in a Norse Energy Inc. spacing unit, also in Preston.

Norse Energy Inc., a Norwegian company that has offices in Buffalo, has 180,000 net acres of mineral rights in New York. In Chenango County, it has pipeline infrastructure that supports 28 active wells in Smyrna, six in Plymouth, and two in Preston. Norse commenced drilling this fall and projects seven more wells by the end of the year and 30 next year.

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