Its Time to Get the SGEIS Done
I was born on a farm in the Town of Thurston. The first 50 acres was acquired by one of my ancestors in 1824 and the rest of them moved here in the 1860’s. After nearly 200 years my dream has been to pass the farm to the next generation and it would certainly be much easier for my children to manage and upkeep the farm with income from natural gas. With this history I would not support hydraulic fracturing if I thought there was any danger to our land or water supply.
I have been an elected assessor for 40 years and elected Director of the Steuben Electric Coop for the past 30 years. Both the town and the coop have the same problem, only 4 residents per mile to maintain the roads and the electric lines. So I was doubly excited when I first heard about the Marcellus Shale nearly 4 years ago. The potential influx of money and jobs would relieve some of burden on our residents. I was happy with the regulations four years ago, my opinion is the present proposal is overkill for a proven technology that has been in use in New York for quite some time. One small example, nearly 150 wells have been developed and hydraulicly fractured in the Jamestown Aquifer, one of the state’s largest. In the long history of developing natural gas in New York there has been minimal harm to the environment and maximum reward.
I would like to mention that the footprint of Marcellus shale and the area called Appalchia are similar. The area has been depressed for a long time and I have been witnessing the decline for the last 40 years performing my job as an assessor. Then to add insult to injury my second favorite bureauracy the office of real property has used a few inflated land sales to shift the school and county burden onto property taxes. They raised the value of my town 20% (based on speculation sales of 4 parcels out of 1000 parcels), which resulted in a 25% increase in school taxes and probably the same for the count tax. As a result, a large portion of last years taxes have not been paid yet.
Unlike NY, at least there are portions of Appalachia in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia are enjoying some recovery from the natural gas activity ocurring there. So New York I ask you please do not drag this process out any longer. Almost 4 years is long enough, so lets get this done.