Debate draws strong viewpoints

Gas drilling has become a dominant issue in central New York, with money to be made and risks to be taken.

Thousands of landowners have signed leases to permit drilling, some with bonuses of $2-an-acre and others, near major pipelines, as in Deposit, at $2,500.

That's a mere fraction of what landowners might earn in royalties if the wells on their land are good producers.

On the other hand, the film, ``Split Estate,'' scheduled to be screened in Cooperstown Friday night, shows streams on fire and people sick in Colorado, where drillers have been hard at work for a few years.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is proposing new rules to govern horizontal drilling and hydrofracking, techniques the industry uses to extract gas from the shale that underlies the area.

Earlier this week, the DEC lengthened the period for public comment on the proposed Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement from Nov. 30 to Dec. 31, an extension cheered by U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and state Sen. James Seward, R-Milford.

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