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Public Hearing on Broome County Gas Drilling Lease


This was the scene last month's EPA gas drilling hearing in Binghamton, Thursday night it was a much quieter picture as the public gave their opinion on the county becoming the lead agency that will review a generic lease for oil and natural gas drilling.

Thursday only one man sat behind a table, representing the Broome County Legislature, to hear the public's thoughts.

An earlier bid fell though but the county has made some changes this time around and is moving forward.

"It has taken out some areas that many people feel are more valuable because of geology," said Scott Kurkoski, Attorney, Joint Landowners Coalition, N.Y.

But the plan still contains valuable property to the community.

"Many of the public properties that are being considered for gas leasing are next to schools, churches, residential ares, parks, wet lands and even public water supply wells," said Walter Hang, President of Toxic Targeting.

Many expressed their fear over the quality of their drinking water

"We look all around the universe looking for water on planets. that is the one this we can tell about a planet. This is the one planet, so far, that has water.the is the one. We can't not destroy it. we have 1/3 of the planets fresh water in this state and in the Great Lakes," said David Fry, BU Junior.

Despite water pollution in Dimock, Pennsylvania that state environmental regulators blame on gas drilling, industry supporters insist water isn't at risk.

"Sixty years of hydro-fracking and no evidence what so ever of ground well contamination in all those million wells," said Kurkoski.

There were even differing opinions on whether the county is capable of leading a project like this.

"The Broome County Legislature is in no way prepared technology wise or legally to conduct this incredibly complicated review," said Hang.

But one attorney believes Broome County is ready to lead.

"We really commend our county on its efforts. our county is more educated about this issue that any other in the state," said Kurkoski.