December 01, 2008, Times Herald Record: DEC will hold final hearing on gas drilling

DEC will hold final hearing on gas drilling

LOCH SHELDRAKE — If you live in the Catskills and want better regulation before gas drilling comes to your neighborhood, this week might be your last chance to have your voice heard.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation will hold a final public hearing Thursday at Sullivan County Community College on its study to expand drilling rules. The study will create new regulations for gas companies seeking drilling permits.

But even before the public hearing, community groups around Sullivan County will prepare residents to make educated comments. Monday night, in Narrowsburg, residents can learn more about gas drilling, the state’s study, and how best to present their arguments at Thursday’s hearing.

"It’s a chance for people who want to comment on the (study) to come in and find out the basics so that they feel comfortable either testifying or submitting written comments," said Denise Frangipane of Sullivan Renaissance, one of the groups sponsoring the information session.

Those who have been carefully monitoring the approach of gas drilling have already prepared their critiques. They want the DEC to study gas drilling’s potential boom-and-bust effect on communities, how it would affect the second-home market and whether the state should pass strict clean air and water standards.

They also want the state to add to its bullpen of 19 drilling inspectors and to prove that drilling is safe by studying the hydraulic fracturing process.

"We’re saying, ‘show us the science,’" said Bruce Ferguson, of Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy. "Do the peer-review studies that have never been done to prove it’s safe."

if you want to go…

Community info session

6:30 p.m. Monday, Tusten Town Hall in Narrowsburg.

DEC draft scope public hearing

Thursday at Sullivan County Community College. Meeting starts at 4:30 p.m., public comment begins at 6 p.m.

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