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Hector wants involvement with gas drilling

HECTOR—At the Aug. 11 town meeting, Hector became the first town board in Schuyler County to use a special category in the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) regulations regarding industrial development on a local level. The measure passed unanimously with all board members present.
The notice, when accepted by DEC, will allow the town to have advance notice of drilling on specific sites in Hector and gives the town extra time and authority to protect town infrastructure, such as roads and bridges from sudden increases in use with much heavier vehicles attendant to the drilling and extracting process.
The Comprehensive Plan Committee, made up of board members Alvin White, Marie Stevens and Jeff Mangus, recommended the action.
DEC is currently reviewing a wide range of environmental factors in deciding how and where international gas drilling operations may choose their sites and establish large pads, situated over suspected gas-producing Marcellus Shale formations deep in the earth.
 Among the issues DEC may directly address in their forthcoming regulations are: where fresh water will be drawn to supply the drilling companies in very large amounts; what chemicals and other ingredients the water will be mixed with in order to make it an efficient, pressure-inducing formula to crack the deep-seated shale formations; how to responsibly dispose of large quantities of chemically laced water produced in the drilling process; how to deal with the air and noise pollution that will result from large-scale operations all over the southern tier upstate counties from the Catskills to the Alleghenies.
The DEC will not attempt to regulate leasing terms with landowners or the financial arrangements with municipalities, which retain responsibility for maintaining roads, bridges, public safety, emergency response, protection of historical areas and other culturally sensitive locations.
The letter from Hector officials takes advantage of a provision in DEC’s regulations which allow municipalities to notify DEC of the town’s interest in drilling activity. The town is not interested in stopping any drilling, nor can it do so under the law. But the impact on taxpayers for road and bridge maintenance is a concern for municipalities such as Hector. Town Supervisor Ben Dickens will be sending the notice to the DEC in the near future.

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