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Public hearing held on proposed permit for gas drilling

ONEONTA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The city of Oneonta and Otsego County held a public hearing Monday night about natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale.

Gas drilling is a new, and potentially very profitable industry for New York. Many property owners around Otsego County have signed leases and drilling has begun on two wells. Monday's meeting was for residents to voice their concerns about drilling.

Cooperstown resident Lou Allsteadt has spent 31 years working in the oil and gas industry. The former Executive Vice-President of Mobil Oil says he is shocked the New York State DEC has been so lax regulating drilling in the Marcellus Shale. He says the state needs to tighten the reigns on the gas industry.

"The approach to drilling wherever...is just an insane approach," he says.

Allsteadt isn't the only one concerned. More than 100 people turned out for Monday's public hearing. Natural gas is a new industry for the state, and folks say they want it done right.

Planning Director of Otsego County Terry Bliss, says natural gas drilling can be a huge money maker for the area. But he says the county and the state need to be prepared and informed of the environmental impacts gas drilling can have.

Residents at Monday's hearing asked the state to think safety before money.

If you have concerns about natural gas drilling, you can email them to the DEC at dmnsgeis@gw.dec.state.ny.us before November 30.

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