Smyrna elections deep in natural gas issues

SMYRNA – Smyrna is Chenango County’s epicenter for natural gas drilling so it’s no surprise that the three candidates running for two open seats on the town council have opinions about it.

Natural gas reserves have been targeted in sandstone, and not employed the controversial hydraulic fracturing technology needed to reach gas in shale formations. Nonetheless, the government that represents the town’s 1,280 population has been immersed in discussions about seismic testing permits, road use agreements, taxation, spacing units and compulsory integration.

Overseeing it all has been Town of Smyrna Supervisor James B. Bays, who is running again for a sixth term in office. Bays was supervisor from 1988-1991 and again from 2006 to present. He is being challenged for office by Republican and independent “Square Deal” candidate John Grosso.

For council, incumbent Wayne C. Simmons will appear on the ballot under both the Democratic and Republican party lines; former town highway superintendent Gary R. Graham is running as a Republican; and newcomer Ernest F. Schraft Jr. is also running as a Democrat.

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