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Portland NY town council hears from drillers

March 6, 2014 - Ben Klein
"Members of the Portland Town Council heard a lengthy public comment with open minds during a recent meeting. Several representatives from the gas and oil fields, some of whom are town residents, and all who have drilled on town property, came out to present their side to the League of Women Voters' requested moratorium on the transportation of hydrofracking materials."

"Tim Hull, vice president for Empire Energy, followed by noting that placing a moratorium would force the town to ask taxpayers to prepare a lot of documentation that would have no effect, since the legality of taking potential hydrofracking materials off of state roads would negate the moratorium.

"I don't see anything happening in this county for at least five to seven years. The permit process is a one-year-long process and you can't drill within 100 feet of a flood plain. Traffic studies have to be done so you don't disturb people, road use agreements, all of that is part of the process before the DEC can even look at an application," stated Hull.

He also gave a nod to local representatives in this part of the state that have to routinely fight downstate metropolitan politics in order to keep gas and oil businesses going. Potential issues with landowners having their rights taken away, especially in the realm of mineral rights or gas royalties and a potential decrease in the assessment of their property or increase in their property tax, were other issues that Hull stated could come from a moratorium or ban on hydrofracking.

"My job at that point, is to go to investors and if there is a politically shaky environment surrounding the process, it makes it harder to get the investments. It's not just a matter of pass the moratorium and it will have no effect - because it does" he added."


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