Sullivan County will be hosting a series of public forums designed to provide more information about gas drilling. Their announcement can be read on their web site.

This series of Public Forums, “Understanding Gas Drilling,” will take place at Monticello High School, 237 Route 42 in Monticello, NY, on the following dates: Tuesday – June 29, Thursday – July 15, and Thursday – August 19. All events run from 5:45 PM to 8:30 PM, are free and open to the public.

The first Public Forum, scheduled for Tuesday, June 29, will cover “Property and Landowner Issues. “ Panelists include

  • Chris Denton, an attorney from Elmira, New York, who specializes in representing property owners and landowner coalitions in negotiations over the technical terms of natural gas leases. 
  • Bradd Vickers, President of the Chenango County Farm Bureau, has spoken, written and worked extensively with farmers in Central New York on the issues landowners need to consider in signing a gas lease. Both Denton and Vickers participated in a panel organized by the Division of Planning at Sullivan West High School in August 2008. 
  • Todd Mathes, an attorney with the Albany law firm of Whiteman Osterman and Hanna, LLP, specializes in environmental and municipal law in New York State. He has written on the complexities involved in local governments exercising home-rule powers with regard to natural gas development, from managing town roads to limited zoning and land use controls.

 
The second Public Forum, scheduled for Thursday, July 15, is sub-titled, “Environmental and Health Concerns.” The panel of speakers will examine potential health and environmental risks associated with natural gas development, the state of current New York State regulations, and industry practices designed to mitigate potential hazards. Panelists include

  • Dr. Anthony R. Ingraffea, the Dwight C. Baum Professor of Engineering at Cornell University, who has researched and analyzed the fracturing processes involved in gas shale deposits.
  • Dr. Adam Law, MD, a specialist in endocrinology and metabolic medicine and President of the Medical Staff at Cayuga Medical Center in Ithaca, New York, will present his concerns over the lack of information regarding risks to human endocrine and metabolic function contained in New York State’s draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (DSGEIS) covering natural gas development in the Marcellus Shale. 
  • Kate Sinding, an attorney and Deputy Director of Urban East Program of the Natural Resources Defense Council, will provide an analysis of the proposed environmental regulations contained in the DSGEIS. 
  • Paul Hartman, Director of Government Relations in New York State for Chesapeake Energy Corporation will speak to his company’s approach to mitigating risks through drilling practices and other operations that comprise the natural gas extraction process.

 
The third Public Forum, scheduled for Thursday, August 19, will focus on “Economic and Community Impacts,” exploring the diverse predictions and empirical data on economic “gain” and “strain” among communities that have experienced natural gas development, most recently in the northeast but also over the past decade and longer in western states. Speakers include

  • Jannette Barth, an economist with her own consulting firm, J.M. Barth & Associates of Croton-on-Hudson, who has examined potential economic gains and unforeseen costs in New York and Pennsylvania.
  • Anthony J. Ventello, Executive Director of Progress Authority of Bradford and Susquehanna Counties, based in Towanda, Pennsylvania, oversees economic development programs for this two-county region experiencing rapid growth of natural gas exploration and extraction. 
  • Jeffrey Jacquet is a Ph. D. candidate in the Department of Natural Resources at Cornell University; he is a member of Cornell Cooperative Extension’s “Marcellus Shale Team” and has examined regional economic trends related to natural gas development in Wyoming, Texas and most recently north-central Pennsylvania. 
  • Craig Sautner, a resident of Dimmock, Pennsylvania, will speak from direct experience on his community’s challenges with gas drilling.

For additional information, contact the Sullivan County Division of Planning and Environmental Management, Tel. 845-807-0527, or Email: planning@co.sullivan.ny.us