All sides of issue represented at Hydrofracking Forum at MVCC

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Area residents had the chance Saturday to hear about hydrofracking from people on both sides of the issue at a Hydrofracking Forum at MVCC hosted by Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente.

Picente invited representatives from companies that do the drilling, as well as some people who have gone through the effects of hydrofracking first hand in West Virginia, where this type of natural gas drilling has been done for a few years.

Bill Hughes, a resident from New Martinsville, West Virginia, said, "A major issue is trying to get adequate regulation in place. All states are grappling with that. They're also trying to come up with sufficient enforcement people, because without enforcement folks for the regulations, it's almost like being unregulated."

Adam Schultz of the Independent Oil & Gas Association of New York said, "People have to recognize that if you're going to be opposed to natural gas, then you need to accept responsibility for the impacts of dirty coal and imported petroleum, which as much greater impacts than natural gas does."

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente said, "Today is an opportunity to hear from both of those, very clearly in a reasonable dialogue, ask questions and just really informational purposes only, there's no action going to be taken today, but it's just a mater of trying to understand the process a little bit better."

The head of the State Department of Environmental Conservation says a decision on whether to allow fracking is likely this year but no timetable is set.

The DEC is still reviewing more than 61,000 public comments that were sent in during last year's public comment time line.

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