County board to take stance on ‘forest focus’ designation

NORWICH – Chenango County lawmakers could take a stance today against a state act that would exempt a majority of the land in the county from gas-drilling on behalf of birds and their habitats.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s nearly 900-page well permitting regulations would deem Chenango County a forest focus and grassland designation. What this means is that the county, which estimated to be 70 percent forest (15 percent of which is state land), would be subject to as much as a three-year study by a professional biologist on the breeding success of birds before being permitted for natural gas production, according to the DEC’s draft rules due out later this year.

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