ARCHIVED: Natural Gas Resources, last entry April 8, 2010

The Marcellus Shale is a deep black shale formation extending from Ohio and West Virginia northeast into Pennsylvania and the southern tier of New York. Although the Marcellus Shale has not been extensively developed in New York State, the information available from historical production wells, core samples, nearby producing fields and regional data suggests that Broome County is over a deep, thick, rich layer of tight shale.

In order to prepare for the eventual issuance of drilling permits by the State Department of Environmental Conservation, Broome County has investigated natural gas development.  We want to do everything possible to protect our air, water, roads, environment and residents. Many such preparations are highlighted below.
Broome County has approached this natural gas play from two perspectives: as a property owner and as a representative of those who work and live in our community.  The County has tracked the various environmental, legal and political issues attached to gas drilling. Among others, the County has taken the following steps:
  • Worked with our state representatives in the Legislature and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
  • Made numerous comments to DEC about the draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (dsGEIS). Our comments are designed to accomplish two goals: protect the environment and move the state regulatory process forward. The comments are linked below.
  • Recommended that the natural gas industry adopt a better outreach program in NYS. See Editorial in Powell Barnett Shale Newsletter.
  • Represented Broome County's interests at Natural Gas Nation hosted by SMU and the George W. Bush Presidential Center.
  • Researched natural development issues in other communities including the Trenton Black River Formation in New York, the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania and the Barnett Shale in Texas. Officials in those communities have shared their ideas and expertise with us.
  • Developed a local law and regulations designed to protect County roads.
Rural producing well
Ft. Worth, TX
Producing well at
edge of urban core 
Ft Worth, TX
Rural producing well
Chemung County, NY
Seismic testing
Chemung County, NY
Click on an image above to view a larger version of that image
*Photos courtesy of Former County Attorney Joseph Sluzar
  • Consulted with geological, environmental and engineering experts experienced with exploration, drilling, production and transmission issues.
  • Hosted natural gas development conferences
  • Commissioned an Economic Impact Study which identified community wide financial benefits from natural gas development.
  • Worked with our local municipalities on natural gas development issues.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), regulates most aspects of natural gas drilling. Nevertheless it is important that local governments and local coalitions work together. This will foster an atmosphere which will allow us to accomplish two important goals—protect our neighborhoods and environment and enjoy the economic benefits from this play.
As this natural gas play develops and matures, we will continue to address these issues.  The County has released the following statements/press releases regarding the future of natural gas development in New York State.

November 12, 2009 - Statement urging NYS DEC to complete its environmental review and lift the moratorium on horizontal well permits.

December 21, 2009 - Technical comments to draft SGEIS proposed by NYSDEC. These comments include recommendations for better secondary containment at drill sites, more comprehensive record keeping, more required use of closed loop drilling systems, formal cooperation between state agencies and other suggestions.

December 31, 2009 - Press Release in response to the requests for more delay in completing the sdGEIS process.

April 8, 2010 - Technical comments to draft SGEIS.  These comments include recommendation that a separate environmental impact statement should be completed for areas that have unfiltered water supplies such as New York City.   

Current News and Events:

Broome County received an offer from Inflection Energy, LLC, Denver, Colorado.  The offer was rejected by the Broome County Legislature on November 18, 2010.