The document below shows that our shale is high in uranium and thorium with a high level of radioactivity as compared to the low-level radioacivity found in traditional sandstone wells of the past. The concern here is the high levels of radiation that we are exposing ourselves to by disturbing these shales. (This partial document found at the Coventry town hall was marked to check page 5.) -Kim Michels
The document below shows that our shale is high in uranium and thorium with a high level of radioactivity as compared to the low-level radioacivity found in traditional sandstone wells of the past. The concern here is the high levels of radiation that we are exposing ourselves to by disturbing these shales. (This partial document found at the Coventry town hall was marked to check page 5.)
Public Hearing in town of Sidney (8/4/2011)
ARE THE PROPERTY RIGHTS OF TOWN RESIDENTS BEING STOLEN?
A Public Hearing in the town of Sidney has been scheduled concerning whether or not to sign a franchise agreement with Leatherstocking Natural Gas Co., LLC which would allow the company to lay natural gas pipelines under town roads and in the right of ways in the town. This will be held on Thursday, August 11th at 7pm at the Civic Center on 21 Liberty Street. This may be the final opportunity for residents of Sidney and other towns to be affected to have their say. According to an inside source, the informational hearing was held with no notice to the public.
The Village of Sidney signed an agreement in February. The other two towns involved in the start-up of this controversial project are Bainbridge and Coventry. They had packed public hearings in both towns with some people leaving when unable to get in. Despite objections in the form of petitions which outnumbered the number of speakers on both sides during public hearings, both towns are moving ahead with negotiations although neither town has signed as of yet. Both towns have had requests for a poll of the townspeople as the project will have such a life changing impact on the townspeople. So far those requests have been ignored. Plans for the initial pipeline start with the Houben well on Buckley Hill Road in Coventry, follow Rte 206 to Bainbridge and Route 7 (possibly I-88) to Sidney with the two "anchor" companies being Amphenol and Meade-Wesvaco. Franchise agreements with all three towns are needed to make this project work. Sidney holds the customer, Coventry the first gas well and Bainbridge in between. In addition, these agreements would be the first step in gaining public utility status for the company which it needs to make this work. If these are obtained, they sign contracts with the producer (Norse), the anchor companies and then go to the PSC. Considering a comments quoted on the Unatego Landowner Coalition website, by the paid Chenango County Natural Gas Advisor, Steve Palmatier, it would seem that the best chance for stopping the pipeline, if that is what people want, resides with the towns. Steve Palmatier noted the absence of an east/west pipeline. Such a conveyance would open up a lot of new territory. Political help with the PSC would be useful in this area. /Steven Palmitier summed up the general tone of the meeting. “How can we make it easier for a driller to do business in our area?”
Many residents are as yet unaware of the proposed pipeline or the impact it will have on their lives and properties. Some concerned residents who are aware of the issue, believe that this company, the initial gas producer, Norse Energy and the town governments are taking advantage of this ignorance to rush the deal through before citizens even know what's happening.
They have many concerns, but the two most controversial, revolve around the loss of property rights to a private company by giving it the right to use public right of ways, and possibly the right of eminent domain. A third is safety and health issues related to leaking or exploding pipelines as well as compressor stations and the VOC's they emit which are measured by the tons and can be observed by checking the DEC permits for the Dunbar Compressor station in Windsor. http://www.dec.ny.gov/permits/74110.html Another is that if this pipeline goes through, controversial drilling will ensue en mass. The small Town of Coventry alone, quoted an anticipated 400 wells during a meeting some time ago with an expectation of several new wells just recently when the pipeline was proposed. Despite the moratorium and popular belief, drilling (and accidents), have continued in NY. One such accident was on the property of Assemblyman Crouch's uncle Charles Crouch, on Soule Road in the town of Lebanon described on page 2 for the months of March and May www.co.chenango.ny.us/Planning/Minutes2009.pdf and also on pages 11/12 of http://www.scribd.com/doc/22163083/Drilling-Spills. The assemblyman admitted to the family relationship though not knowledge of the incident, at a landowner coalition meeting several months ago. (A description of aquifer contamination and contaminated water wells in the town of North Brookfield, NY is also mentioned in the minutes.)
This very thing seems to have been questioned by the DEC in a letter to Supervisor Phelan in June. "The Department would like to express its' concern regarding the Town's decision to grant public utilities the use of right-of-ways for natural gas distribution pipelines." and "In most cases, State Reforestation Areas own fee simple title across or to the center lines of the Town road beds. While the Town maintains a ROW on these roads, it has no authority to transfer that right to a public utitlity." and "...may take an act of the Legislature." The response by John Phelan, Sr. in July: "It may very well take State Legislation to grant these right of ways. "In the event they are needed, I'm sure that with the right compensation package the State Legislature would consider same. You may wish to take note of the DEC Final Plan for State Land 33 in the Town of Coventry; this plan includes potential drilling sites, water resources and pipeline routes on State land."
2) The right of this company to gain eminent domain power, which generally accompanies public utility status has been a contentious and confusing issue. Confusing because the story changes depending on whether the desire is to intimidate or appease the residents. When the proposal first came up, Phelan raved about the benefits the town could get, (none of which seemed to involve residents) because Leatherstocking needs "our" franchise to make this work. Then, in response to a resident's opposition to signing the agreement, Phelan stated, "They can do whatever they want because they've got eminent domain. If we tell them no, they'll sue us in court for eminent domain and the state will force it through. They'll bulldoze this town and turn the whole place into a nuclear waste dump just like they were going to eliminate this town 20 years ago." (~23min pl brd audio). At the (2nd?) public hearing, he stated, "This local delivery company does not have the power of eminent domain. They cannot go off the public ROW. All the town ROW's are 25' from the center of the road.." From Coventry plans - Use of Eminent Domain on case by case basis and requires public referendum. (attachment)
This is local gas for local people - Phelan mentioned planned connections to Greene, Cooperstown and Binghamton and Leatherstocking mentioned Windsor, Great Bend and Hallstead and that they had already spoken with Laser(which connects to the Millenium (and the ports?)) The towns of Afton and Unadilla have also been mentioned.
Compressor stations will not be needed - During meetings, Leatherstocking mentioned a possible compressor waaay down in Binghamton. Said that while they don't plan to have a compressor locally they didn't know what Norse will do. In draft of Coventry plans - Compression stations must comply with Site Plan Review.
This will not initiate the drilling of more wells - Phelan had mentioned how Norse was unable to complete their pipeline, in part due to financial issues and in part due to being unable to get enough landowner agreements. Norse wants to drill more wells but can't if the gas has nowhere to go. Orphan wells he called it. 120 wells have been drilled in Smyrna. (twn brd audio may)(Smyrna has a pipeline. It also has the Davis well, where 20 -25 tons of drill cuttings which were refused at the landfill due to radioactivity were buried on-site. The cuttings were tested by Upstate Labs which had been raided and under investigation by the EPA under accusation of fudging tests. Mistakes had been made with this testing and Tracy Banks was going to be asked to re-test after the fact. A suggestion by a resident, that Chenango County might want to find a new lab was rejected at the Chenango County Gas advisory meeting.) Described on chenango cty gas comm audio/PA news article.
Despite reassurances on safety, town and village proposed agreements and plans address these issues from a financial standpoint to protect themselves. For example : $5,000,000 umbrella liability coverage at all times including explosion coverage/
The Company agrees to collaborate with the municipalities' fire department in an effort to mutually develop emergency response procedures relating to natural gas emergencies/ The Company shall comply with all NYS PSC requirements related to Emergency Response Services related to gas leak calls./ Gas company shall provide training and emergency plan for local fire districts and EMT's.
According to plans obtained at the Coventry town hall, pipeline routes include Stiles, North, 206, Spisak, Wylie Horton, CR 30 and Stone Hill roads.
For those who are interested, the Coventry Examiner website provides information on this topic and NYRAD.org plans to provide on-line petitions opposing the pipeline as well as information.
Sincerely, Kim Michels
Source Information Below:
(Please note: the audio files below take quite a while to download for listening. You will need to be patient and turn up your volume.)
4-County Gas Collaborative – Chenango, Delaware, Otsego and Madison (and now it also appears Broome) recorded
Audio from January 2011 Chenango County Gas Advisory Committtee