300 folks pack Sullivan fracking forum

LOCH SHELDRAKE — So what if the proposed regulations for gas drilling in the state would be among the toughest in the country.

No matter that one of the nation's largest natural gas companies, Chesapeake, just said it would not drill in one of the most contentious areas of Sullivan County, the New York City watershed; the minimal amount of land it leases there "is insignificant to us," said Chesapeake Vice President Scott Rotruck before Wednesday night's public hearing on those regulations.

Most of the speakers in the standing-room-only, mostly anti-drilling crowd of more than 300 at Sullivan County Community College said the proposed Department of Environmental Conservation rules for drilling of the Marcellus shale fall short.

The flaws — cited by some who favored drilling for its economic benefits — ranged from a lack of standards for the cumulative impact of drilling scores of wells to the amount of time allowed to review the 800-page-plus rules for an industry some say could forever change the land and life of rural Sullivan.

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