Natural gas report delayed; new lease signed

NORWICH – The state’s environmental conservation agency will take more time to present its revised regulations for high water volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing in New York State’s natural gas resources.

The draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement was supposed to be released next month, but now a spokesman for the New York Department of Environmental Conservation said the target date is more likely to be late summer. The DEC has been working on the permitting document for nearly three years.

Nonetheless, the delay didn’t prevent a group of Windsor landowners from finalizing a leasing contract this week for natural gas development with Inflection Energy worth $8.25 million. The landowners, who were part of the Windsor & Colesville Oil and Gas Lease Coalition, will receive $2,750 per acre in bonuses, plus 18 percent royalty payments on any gas extracted.

Due to the anti-drilling climate, it has been more than a year since a Southern Tier coalition’s holdings were leased. The president of a group of landowners representing 200,000 acres from Chenango and Otsego counties welcomed Tuesday’s news.

“I’m happy for them and I’m glad land is being gobbled up. But I see that transaction as somewhat of a bargain for companies. They still see leasing as somewhat of a risk because of the conditions here,” said Brian Conover of the Central New York Landowners Coalition.

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