Hundreds Turn Out to DEC's Natural Gas Public Hearing in Fenton

By WBNG News

July 22, 2010 Updated Nov 13, 2009 at 12:12 AM EDT

New York's Department of Environmental Conservation drew up 800 pages of proposed gas drilling regulations.

That comes to about a page per person in the crowd at Thursday night's public hearing in the Town of Fenton.

And as Action News Reporter Leigh Dana tells us, while only a limited number of people got to say their peace, the DEC says it will address all concerns.

Hundreds swarmed into the Chenango Valley's High School auditorium.

Some armed with signs and tee-shirts, showing their stance for or against the DEC's proposed natural gas drilling regulations.

Local elected officials were the first to take the mic.

Some said the natural gas industry could help bring more business to the area, and hopefully more jobs.

But some of the taxpayers that followed are concerned with the mark the industry could leave on the region.

"Maybe one of the most important ones has the fact that they didn't deal with cumulative impact. Which is the overall result of what happens when they put a lot of wells in," says Glenn Williams of the Town of Chenango.

"My concerns are for my neighbors. And the people that live in our area. The jobs that have been going to China, Indonesia, to Mexico. This is jobs that can't be taken away. These are jobs that are here to stay and they're here for a long time," says Victor Furman of Chenango Forks.

And while about less than 80 people have to opportunity to voice their concerns aloud here, the DEC says will read and respond to everyone's concerns.

"A lot of the comments we've heard several times before. We'll consider all of them, As new things come up, we jot them down. We make it a point that we need to look at that once again in the final document," says Ken Lynch with the DEC.

We asked the DEC if it was concerned with multiple spills that have recently plagued water wells in Susquehanna County.

It would only say that is does look at other places natural gas companies are tapping into, to help guide them in setting regulations.

Now that they've heard what people in our area had to say, the DEC says it will review all the comments thoroughly before releasing its final draft of regulations.

Which is likely to come out sometime next year.

In the Town of Fenton, Leigh Dana, WBNG TV Action News.

If your voice wasn't heard, a 4th and final hearing with take place in Corning next Wednesday, November 18th.

You also have until December 31st to submit your comments via mail or email the DEC.

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