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TOWN OF LUMBERLAND Supervisor John LiGreci favors gas drilling.
LiGreci sees bright future with gas drilling
Editor’s Note: The following Q&A represents the second in a periodic series focusing on the organizations that have rallied to promote, oppose, learn about, negotiate with, and regulate the locally burgeoning natural gas industry.
Save for a brief introduction, the format for each article will be question-and-answer, allowing these groups to speak for themselves.
If you have a recommendation for a group we should interview, feel free to contact Editor Frank Rizzo or Senior Staff Writer Dan Hust at 845-887-5200 or editor@ sc-democrat.com.
By Dan Hust
GLEN SPEY Though he’s head of the county’s Association of Town Supervisors, John LiGreci is first and foremost the supervisor of the Town of Lumberland.
And while the association has urged townships and the state to get tough on gas drilling, LiGreci himself is not actually that worried about the industry’s entrance into Sullivan County.
Q: How do you feel about the prospect of gas drilling?
A: The Town of Lumberland is concerned about drilling but not afraid of it. We’re concerned but not afraid because of the opportunity it brings.
Q: So what are you doing to prepare for this opportunity?
A: I don’t think Lumberland is ready to enact a moratorium, because we haven’t found anything negative about the impacts. The DEC [NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation] thinks it’s safe.
Q: So you’re not worried about potential environmental damage, say with open pits of water used in the hydrofracturing process?
A: In New York, it’s mandated that you have to truck the water in and, after you use it, truck it out immediately.
The positive is that people could make money off of their properties, though I strongly recommend they get a very good gas attorney.
Q: Are you looking to regulate gas drilling in Lumberland?
A: We changed our [mining] laws about 4-5 years ago. Our town was growing, and we were trying to be very careful what we allow and what we don’t allow.
So we already have laws to deal with that, since drilling and mining in the earth are the same system. We will impose our bonding [for road damage] and [property] setbacks on that drilling.
The way state law reads, it seems to indicate [we can do] that, although it is questionable whether a local law could enact a bond or demand infrastructure fees for damage.
The law does say, however, that we can tax them at a higher rate [if they do not pay those fees].
... I believe the state will enact regulations to give us an opportunity to enact regulations to make the county and town’s laws stronger.
Q: Do you know of any Lumberland property owners who are negotiating leases?
A: Not at this point, but we are definitely part of the action.