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Some Chenango County residents say they're seeing benefits of hydrofracking

By JOLEEN FERRIS

NORWICH, N.Y. (WKTV) - Some Central New Yorkers oppose hydrofracking as a means of extracting natural gas from beneath the earth's surface, citing concerns about radioactive wastewater, contaminated drinking water and torn up roadways.

However, there are 125,000 acres of land in rural Chenango County whose owners are interested in doing business with gas companies who hydrofrack.

"Our residents understand what's going on with gas drilling; they're well informed. They're not swayed by the fear and the hyperbole of the opposition and I think they're making a very well informed decision," says Brian Conover, president of that association of landowners.

One of those landowners is Steven Palmatier. He signed a five-year lease with Norse Energy, which is based in Buffalo.

They paid him a flat, up-front leasing fee and because the well, near County Route 10A is producing, there are quarterly royalty checks as well. However, this retiree says it's not about lining his pockets.

"It has provided a lot of jobs, both in the primary side, I mean, Norse has 16, 17 people working in their office in Norwich; 15 are local..then the local contractors, they're employed by this company whether it's leveling the paths, getting the paths shaped up, hauling gravel," says Palmatier.

The rural Chenango County resident says he didn't blindly sign the lease with Norse Energy.

"I've gone and actually gotten an education from the scientific community, the engineering community, where most people are grabbing their information from the first four pages of the internet," says Palmatier.

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