FROM DR. SCOTT CLINE:
4647 County Road 5
Stanley, NY 14561
February 3, 2012
Town of Pulteney Board
9226 County Route 74
PO Box 214
Pulteney, NY 14874
Dear Town Board:
My name is Scott Cline. I am a summer Keuka Lake cottage resident of the Town of Pulteney and a land owner in nearby Ontario County. I do not support a drilling moratorium, urge the Town of Pulteney to reject any such motions and recommend instead working in cooperation with oil and gas companies and the Steuben County Natural Gas Task Force as necessary and prudent.
I worked in the oil and gas industry for almost 30 years and was involved in the early implementation of horizontal drilling in many parts of the country. I have never worked in an area where any Town ever felt the need to propose a moratorium. Without exception Towns across the country simply relied on state and federal regulations for development guidance and then worked in cooperation with oil and gas companies and other stakeholders to ease traffic and infrastructure strains. Companies are more than willing to cooperate. To be sure there are temporary inconveniences to a Town but with proper planning and cooperation these can be mitigated while simultaneously reaping enormous economic benefits to both landowners and the Town through ad-valorem taxes.
Very few accidents occur in shale gas development and NY proposed regulations including the setbacks from public sources of drinking water (currently 2000 ft proposed) and their tributaries (500 ft.), well construction rules and well pad construction under storm water permits mitigate the rare incidents. These setbacks and rules have been developed based on scientific studies of worst-case spill scenarios.
Unfounded shale gas fears obscure facts and continue to be perpetuated by those with no experience in the process or an anti-fossil fuel agenda in general. I have only to point to the recent full page ad in the January 15, 2012 Chronicle-Adviser by the “friendsofbarrington.com.” Pictures were shown of a drill site that are not accurately labeled and in fact NY does not even allow any open pits during drilling or completion, instead requiring closed system with drilling and completion fluids directed to only closed tanks. Claims in the ad of allowing farm and lake property to diminish and scaring off farmers including Mennonites are ridiculous. My farmer neighbors in Ontario County including Mennonites would love to have the chance for responsible development of our land.
I am neither concerned in the least about any decrease in my Keuka Lake property nor any contamination risk as a result of drilling. I am however concerned by the steadily declining economic condition of the southern tier, an anti-business sentiment and attempts to block landowners and towns from reaping the benefits of natural gas development! I could go on-and-on about the misinformation in this advertisement, the innumerable letters to the editors of local newspapers and the perpetuated myths and fiction at anti-drilling meetings by attorneys like Helen Slottje, biologists such as Sandra Steingrabber among many others who have no expertise in the shale gas development technology.
In reality shale gas exploration boils down to a temporary traffic nuisance and strain on local resources such as housing that can be mitigated by working with local communities to minimize short term inconveniences. To be sure there are community changes when drilling arrives. But in my opinion based on 30 years of experience working in communities affected by drilling, the long-term benefits of gas development in terms of reduced carbon emissions, economic stimulus and national security far outweigh these temporary and manageable short-term nuisances.
As you should know, I do not categorically support all shale gas development activities. In fact I was an opponent of the industrial waste injection well previously proposed in the Town by Chesapeake. That however is a far different matter than transient drilling operations whose development pace can be controlled and where the entire community shares in the economic bonanza as I would be happy to explain in detail.
Thank you for considering my comments and again I hope the Town will decide that planning and collaboration is the preferable to a moratorium that will unnecessarily alienate business, deny landowners their right to develop their resources and deny the Town and school system of vast economic benefits that it needs.
Scott B. Cline