ARCHIVED: Fiala Lobbies in Albany for Natural Gas Development, May 2009

County hires lobbyist to assist with outreach efforts

(Binghamton, NY) Broome County Executive Barbara J. Fiala traveled to Albany this week to lobby state leaders on the potential for natural gas development in the Greater Binghamton region. 
Executive Fiala traveled to the state capital on Tuesday, to meet with representatives of Governor Paterson’s office, Senator Malcolm Smith’s Office and the head of the Department of Environmental Conservation, Peter Grannis.
“We wanted to let our leaders in Albany know that we are anxious for them to stay on course with their expected timelines for the Supplemental General Environmental Impact Statement,” said Executive Fiala. “We all understand and appreciate that government review takes time but we also wanted to make sure the process does not get bogged down and delayed indefinitely.”
Fiala has indicated in the past that development of the Marcellus Shale could have a tremendous positive economic impact on our region. Fiala has also cautioned that if we pursue this industry we must have the proper environmental protections in place.  Broome County has tried to set an example by soliciting leases on public lands.  Those leases will contain protections even stronger than standards required by NYS DEC.  Fiala believes that developing this natural resource and protecting the environment are not mutually exclusive.  Both can be accomplished.
“We told them our hopes for the future as well as our concerns,” said Fiala. “We explained to them the dire economic situation we now find ourselves in and how this industry, if pursued properly, has the potential to financially impact our region and the entire state.”
At the end of the day, Fiala says she is hopeful state leaders not only listened but heard what Broome County had to say and she is hopeful the state will stick pretty close to its announced schedule of a draft SGEIS this summer. That will then be followed by public hearings and then expectantly a renewal of the state DEC permitting process on horizontal drilling for natural gas.
Fiala encourages all of those supportive of bringing this industry to our region to make sure their voices are heard in Albany. She says she will keep up her own lobbying efforts. In fact, Broome County has recently hired a lobbyist. Representatives with the Wladis Law Firm will be helping the County in its efforts to convince state leaders of the importance of the natural gas industry to the economic future of our region.


05/27/2009 - 11:06am