Protest held before natural gas drilling hearing in Otsego County

By MIKE LaFAVE

COOPERSTOWN, NY (WKTV) - Protesters of natural gas drilling in Otsego County rallied in Cooperstown Wednesday, shouting their opposition to hydro-fracking.

The Otsego County Board of Representatives gave residents an opportunity Wednesday to voice their opinions on natural gas drilling coming to the county. Along with the anti-drilling crowd, many residents in favor of horizontal drilling were also in attendance.

The anti-drilling crowd worries about the environmental impacts of natural gas drilling.

The American Petroleum Institute is estimating there is $2 trillion worth of Marcellus shale natural gas reserves. That could mean billions in tax revenues.

Right now, the county is waiting on the DEC to release drilling regulations before making any permanent decision. County Representative from the 5th District, Stephen D. Fournier, says right now they are in the dark on what the regulations will be, but he has confidence in the DEC.

"I believe when they're done, when they do come out, New York State will have some of the most stringent regulations for gas exploration and production," Fournier said. "I do believe that."

Fournier, who represents residents in Hartwick, Milford, New Lisbon, says the county is already sampling surface water and is looking into an emergency service plan.

Tonight's anti-drilling rally was the second one Otsego County residents have held.

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