Marcellus Shale

Delaware, NY Dives Into Property Rights!

Last week, the Town of Delaware, New York, Sullivan County passed the recommended natural gas resolution composed by the Joint Landowners Coalition affirming their commitment to allow safe, responsible natural gas development in their community. Residents in Delaware feel they should be able to choose what they do with their property and mineral rights. A landowner’s property is their biggest asset and investment, something we all work to improve and hold on to. These residents are more than capable of making informed decisions about how their land is used and are ready for permitting to begin in New York.Prior to last Wednesday, the Town of Delaware maintained a neutral stance on the natural gas development issue. At Wednesday’s meeting, though, they voted overwhelmingly, 4-1, to adopt the resolution. The resolution read as follows:

“Be it hereby resolved that any landowner or entity that owns the rights to minerals within the corporate bounds of the Town of Delaware has the right to determine how they exercise and protect their mineral rights in accordance to the laws of the State of New York and to the laws of the United States of America. Be it further resolved that if gas drilling does come into the Town of Delaware, that those who are involved in the process of gas drilling and those who regulate the gas drilling process see to it that the entire process of gas drilling be made in a responsible and safe manner.”

Of course the anti-natural gas development crowd was shocked and begged the board, who had just welcomed natural gas development based on facts and science, to consider a ban or moratorium instead. When emotional appeal and scare tactics didn’t work in their favor, they resorted to threats and bullying to change the outcome of the evening. Luckily for the landowners in Delaware, the board was not intimidated by these desperate threats and held firm to their position.

Shale Resolutions Versus Non-Shale Bans

Approximately 45 towns in New York State have passed similar resolutions. The towns hope by passing the resolutions they will send a clear message to the natural gas industry they are open for business. If and when the Department of Environmental Conservation allows permitting, these towns will give their constituents the freedom to choose whether or not they will develop their minerals.

Attorneys David and Helen Slottje have admittedly (at their meeting in Newfield, New York) said they have been working on getting towns to pass bans for years. It’s crazy to think they have been doing this for 2-3 years and they only have approximately 115 towns signed on to their cookie cutter moratorium/ban. Further, most of the towns and villages that have passed bans or moratoriums are completely out of the shale region while those adopting resolutions of support are located within the shale region.

Sending A Clear Message

Other groups in Sullivan County have expressed their support for natural gas exploration in a different way–with a billboard! The Sullivan County Farm Bureau, businesses and residents now have a billboard (below), on Route 17 headed northbound between the Monticello and Liberty exits. As one can see from the sign, there are many in Sullivan County who disagree with part-time neighbor, Mark Ruffalo, on what the people of the county need to improve the economic situation in the county.

Several businesses, groups, and individuals in Sullivan County are ready to welcome the natural gas industry to the region, and it was nice to hear another town has upheld the property rights of their constituents. As we get closer to the approval of permits in New York, it is becoming more and more clear the towns within the shale play have taken the time to educate themselves and are prepared for the opportunity development could mean for their communities.



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