Oxford board decides to rely on local land use regs, DEC’s drilling rules

OXFORD – The Oxford Town Board considered a moratorium on high-volume hydraulic fracturing Wednesday night, but following comments from about 30 individuals who were evenly split on the subject, councilmen decided to remain neutral and wait for New York’s environmental regulators to release their new well permit rules first.

Oxford joins seven other municipalities in the southern half of Chenango County that have decided against enacting a moratorium on drilling. Governor Cuomo recently implied through media reports that local sentiment and land use ordinances would be a factor in the permitting of shale gas wells once the New York Department of Environmental Conservation’s releases its revised permitting rules. Chenango County is one of five Marcellus Shale-rich counties in the state that the governor has indicated will be permitted first.

The draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement, as its called, has been in the works for four years. Weighing in at an estimated 4,000 pages, the final document is expected at the end of the summer. High-volume fracking involves the use of water, sand and chemicals injected deep underground to fracture shale formations and release gas.

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