German weighs in on gas drilling issue

GERMAN – The Town of German is asking the state’s environmental regulators to require companies to use food grade fluids in hydraulic fracturing processes should shale gas well development proceed in New York.

The Department of Environmental Conservation’s revised and expanded regulations are anticipated shortly following four years of study and public comment. The latest draft of the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement stipulates that non-toxic fracturing formulas will be required unless drillers can show a need for an exemption.

“We request that no such exemptions be allowed in the Town of German,” wrote German Supervisor Richard Schlag in a July 13 letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and DEC Director Joseph Martens. “This single stipulation for permits in German would greatly reduce residents’ fear of, as well as the actual possibility of, groundwater contamination.”

The town board’s decision was unanimous. Though German is quite small, with a population of 370 citizens, Supervisor Schlag has studied natural gas drilling alongside members of a Chenango County natural gas advisory committee since the group was formed in 2009. Three pending Utica Shale permits in German are currently listed on the DEC’s website.

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