Denise Sheehan, Acting Commissioner
Department of Environmental Conservation
Albany, NY 12207
Dear Ms. Sheehan:
I am writing to request an extension be allowed for written comments on Oil and Gas leasing from July 29, 2005 until at least August 26, 2005, which is the deadline for comments on the Draft Broome Unit Management Plan. Contained within the plan is a proposal to sell oil and gas leases on 512 acres of state forest land known as Broome-Tioga Reforestation Area #1 (Tracy Creek State Forest). I don’t think that residents of Vestal have had an adequate amount of time to respond to the draft proposal. Hearings were held in Elmira, Cortland and Windsor, NY making it inconvenient for Vestal residents to attend.
I will be holding a meeting for residents at the Vestal Public Library on Monday, August 22nd at 6:30 pm. I am also writing to request that a representative from DEC be present at this meeting to answer questions and accept comments. I discussed this with representatives from DEC who were at the Windsor meeting and they seemed open to the idea of participating at a meeting in Vestal.
As you can well imagine, there has been significant opposition to this proposal. Attached is a resolution "Regarding Drilling In The Town of Vestal" from the Town of Vestal requesting that no drilling be done on State lands. I also anticipate a similar resolution from the Broome County Legislature.
In addition to the concerns expressed in the Town’s resolution, I am also specifically concerned with the effect the drilling would have on the operation of the Kopernik Observatory site. According the George Normandin, President, Kopernik Astronomical Society, "The gas drilling would essentially make our observatory useless. Any source of bright light, air pollution and vibration like that would be a detriment to our operation".
I look forward to hearing from you in the very near future.
Donna A. Lupardo
Member of Assembly
cc: Honorable Thomas DiNapoli