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The Steuben Courier Advocate
  • Hydrofracking pro, con debate set for Prattsburgh

  • Both sides of the “hydrofrack” natural gas drilling debate will present their sides from 6-9 p.m. Oct. 16 in the Prattsburgh Central School Cafetorium.

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  • Both sides of the “hydrofrack” natural gas drilling debate will present their sides from 6-9 p.m. Oct. 16 in the Prattsburgh Central School Cafetorium.
    Town Clerk Pam Kula said the town board called the meeting in order to inform residents of the issues. At this point, there are no known plans to drill for natural gas in Prattsburgh, Kula said.
    The issue has been divisive in other areas of Steuben County, with some town boards adopting moratoriums on the controversial drilling method, and other towns approving resolutions saying they will not enact the temporary bans.
    Hydrofracking involves inserting horizontal drills in Marcellus shale deposits deep below the surface of the earth.  Enormous volumes of chemically treated water are forced at high pressure through the drills, cracking the shale and releasing natural gas.
    Supporters say the methods are safe and represent a way to bring in more revenues for property owners, particularly local farmers struggling to make ends meet.  Drilling also provides jobs and benefits counties, schools and municipalities by boosting the tax base, supporters say.
    Opponents say the drilling is unsafe and threatens to contaminate water sources beyond repair and disrupt the area’s way of life.
    At the same time, drilling in Pennsylvania has all but stopped, due to the glut of natural gas now on the market and low prices.
    Regulations on hydrofracking are expected to be released soon by the state Department of  Environmental Conservation. However, those regulations are expected to unleash a number of lawsuits and countersuits, further delaying drilling in the region.

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