County wooing gas-related prospects, promoting job training

NORWICH – For the past two years, local economic planners and educators have been making forward-thinking preparations for developing Chenango County’s natural gas reserves in subterranean shale formations.

And now, with the new chief of the state’s environmental conservation department stating yesterday that New York won’t wait for a federal ruling regarding hydraulic fracturing, those plans can’t come to fruition too soon.

In his presentation before the Chenango County Natural Gas Advisory Committee Jan. 25, contracted consultant Steven Palmatier outlined a list of firms interested in coming to the area and described new training programs that may be offered locally.

Palmatier, who was hired in 2009 as the county’s economic development consultant for the natural gas industry, said he has met or talked with various companies that design well pads, operate frack water (from hydraulic fracturing) treatment plants, redevelop brownfield sites for drilling, build aggregate gravel bed plants and manufacture remote, well-monitoring devices.

The consultant said he is working with Commerce Chenango and local realtors to identify sites that are available in the county. Most of the firms he is in contact with already have offices in Pennsylvania where drilling in the Marcellus Shale is well underway.

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