JLCNY In the News
June 14, 2012 Updated Jun 14, 2012 at 6:42 PM EST

(WBNG Binghamton) The possibility of natural gas drilling coming to the Southern Tier gets a little more real.

New York Times reports the Cuomo administration is working on a plan to allow Marcellus Shale drilling to begin, but only in communities that want it.

Town supervisors from upstate New York appealed at the State Capitol in Albany to state officials to allow responsible natural gas drilling in their communities.

“We believe drilling can be done in a way that protects the environment and provides tremendous economic benefits,” said Tim Whitesell, Supervisor of the Town of Binghamton. “We are in what is referred to as the sweet spot of Marcellus Shale. We believe that the industry will be coming to us first. Those regions that have put the moratoriums on, the reality of drilling going on in those areas at least in the Marcellus Shale, at least in the near future, is nonexistent."

Whitesell was joined by other Supervisors from the Southern Tier. Jim Finch, Town of Conklin Supervisor, also participated.

Each of the officials were from a community that has recently approved a resolution in favor of responsible drilling.

Finch says he would like to see natural gas drilling happen "tomorrow."

"We have all of their pipelines running through Broome County ready to hook into the gas wells. We're ready," he said, "We are representing from the Coalition about 95% of the residents of the Town of Conklin and Binghamton. We have a lot of people asking us to go to Albany and get this for them."

Finch says two major floods, 2006 and 2011, has taken its toll on Conklin's population.

"We lost over 499 people in 2006. We're going to lose another 200. That affects our sales tax revenue for the next ten years, based on population," he said, "Our water and sewer districts are depleted because they're going to come green areas and we're still going to have to pay the bonds and that comes back to the taxpayers in the town of Conklin."

Both Whitesell and Finch said jobs is their main agenda in pushing for drilling.

"There's nothing in the area. The county is broke and the state is broke. Both of our towns are in sad shape because of revenues," said Finch.

"We believe that it's the economic boom will create jobs, increase business and we just feel the benefit is just too huge for us to be ignoring," Whitesell said.

The Joint Landowners Coalition of New York says more than two dozen towns in the Southern Tier, where natural gas reserves are most prevalent, have approved resolutions in favor of drilling.

The Supervisors for the Towns of Deposit and Sanford also attended the news conference in Albany on Thursday as well as members of the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York.

The New York Times article stated natural gas drilling using hydraulic fracturing would be allowed in the deepest areas of the Marcellus formation.

The DEC still has not released permitting regulations which has kept shale drilling on hold in New York.

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