natural gas information

Natural gas exploration has the potential to be a very rewarding economic development tool in Otsego County. Natural gas can provide environmentally healthier alternatives to current fuel sources (coal and oil) to meet our energy demands. Click here for more on OCCA and horizontal drilling for natural gas.

However, as with any development, there are risks that need to be understood. Local officials as well as the public have a responsibility to become educated on the issues surrounding gas exploration and pumping, the transportation of this resource, and effects on the environment. Otsego County Conservation Association is providing the informational links below to help county residents make informed decisions.


General Information

Marcellus Shale Formation Report 08 – "Shale Gas: Focus on The Marcellus Shale"

A timely report on potential oil and gas development in the Marcellus Shale formation in northeastern Pennsylvania and southeastern New York. By Lisa Sumi for the Oil & Gas Accountability Project/EARTHWORKS.


"Drilling Around the Law"

Report released by Environmental Working Group, based on a six-month investigation of chemical disclosure records filed by several of the largest drilling corporations and interviews with regulators in five states.

"Drilling Down: Protecting Western Communities from the Health and Environmental Effects of Oil and Gas Production." Report released by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

"Gas Drilling, Hydraulic Fracturing and Water Quality"

Information presented by Win McIntyre, watershed coordinator for the Village of Cooperstown Watershed Supervisory Committee, to the Otsego County Solid Waste and Environmental Concerns Committee.

"Gas Drilling: What Lies Beneath, What Lies Ahead"

Links to articles relating to the March 23, 2010 presentation sponsored by Concerned Citizens of the Butternut Valley.

"Impacts on Community Character of Horizontal Drilling and High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing in Marcellus Shale and Other Low-Permeability Gas Reservoirs"

This report was prepared for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, Albany, by NTC Consultants of Saratoga Springs.

"Unanswered Questions About the Economic Impact of Gas Drilling in the Marcellus Shale: Don't Jump to Conclusions"

Prepared by Jannette M. Barth, PhD, JM Barth & Associates. March 22, 2010.

Information for Landowners

"Guidelines for Construction and Restoration at Natural Gas Well Drilling Sites in Agricultural Areas."

Created and released by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

"Lease Termination."

Materials developed by Gas Drilling Awareness for Cortland County, including a Lease Termination Packet with instructions on how to use the information to put a legal end to an expired lease; excerpts of the appropriate sections of the New York General Obligations Law 15-404, sample notice letter and sample affidavit of service.

"Natural Gas Lease Forms and Addendum."

Provided by Natural Gas Forum for Landowners,

"Oil and Gas at Your Door? A landowner's guide to oil and gas development"

This 200-page book from the Oil & Gas Accountability Project has been written to help demystify oil and gas development, and educate landowners on their legal rights and the laws that pertain to oil and gas.

Information for Municipal Officials

"Discussion Paper: Home Rule and Hydrofracking."

This paper by OCCA Environmental Planner Peter Manning explores several topics related to decisions made by the Appellate Division (3rd Dept.) in May 2013 concerning local prohibitions on gas drilling in the towns of Middlefield and Dryden, including zoning, police power, the appeals process, moratoria, and the importance of comprehensive planning.

"Getting to Know the New Neighbors: Communication Is Key to Good Relations When Natural Gas Drilling Companies Come to Town"

Exploration of Pennsylvania’s vast and largely untapped natural gas reserves has begun in earnest. This article in "PA Township News," by Jennifer L. Hawbaker, includes a sidebar titled "Road Repair: Post and Bond Roads Now to Head Off Future Hassles."

Links to Draft Templates of Proposed Local Laws

• Road bond agreement – Town of Lebanon

• Road permit – Southlake, Texas

• Road preservation – Town of Berkshire

• Road preservation – Town of New Lisbon

• Road remediation – Southlake, Texas

• Vehicle permitting – Broome County

Natural Gas Development Checklist for Municipal Officials

From the Penn State University College of Agricultural Sciences

"Preparing for Natural Gas Development: Understanding Impacts and Protecting Public Assets"

A Gas Drilling Research Task Force report for Sullivan County, NY: February 13, 2009.

"Preserving Municipal Roads: What Are Your Options?"

Starts on page two of the Cornell Local Roads Program Spring 2010 newsletter, "Nuggets & Nibbles." Includes sections on creating a highway system inventory, defining section boundaries, estimating traffic volumes and other essential information.

"Tioga Investigates Natural Gas (TING) Potential Impacts & Opportunities Faced by the Public Sector from Natural Gas Development and Production"

Issues noted include: business opportunities; communication and outreach; economy; education; employment and income; water quantity and quality; soil concerns; landscape; pollution; inspection and oversight of projects; solid waste and materials handling; mapping needs; planning; public safety; roads and infrastructure; weights and measures; workforce development; future impacts.

"Tioga Investigates Natural Gas (TING) Summary, March 2010"

Steering Committee members, subcommittees and activities,end goal, training and technical assistance needs.

"What Local Governments Can Do To Minimize the Negative Impacts of Gas Drilling"

Written by Mary Jo Long, attorney, Afton, NY


Atlas Energy, Inc. “How We Drill” Videos

Atlas Energy, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATLS) formerly Atlas America, Inc. ("Atlas Energy" or "the Company"), has been engaged in the energy industry since 1968 and is currently a leading producer in the Marcellus Shale.

Natural Gas Horizontal Shale Drilling

Vertical Multi-Stage Fracturing

"Basic Forensic Watershed Monitoring Procedures"

How to recognize, document and report possible violation of environmental laws. Created by Erik Miller, OCCA executive director, for the Earth Festival 2010 Seminar Series. Special thanks to the Pine Creek Headwaters Protection Group.

"Dr. Anthony Ingraffea Speaking on Hydro-fracking and the Marcellus Shale, Penn Yan, NY, March 2, 1010"

This presentation by Ingraffea, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Cornell University and a member of the Cornell Fracture Group, is part one in a series of three which segues into the full presentation.

"Environmental Concerns & Mitigating Actions, Otsego County, NY."

PowerPoint presentation given by Gastem USA at the OCCA offices on June 17, 2010.

"Guidelines for Agricultural Resources Protection at Gas Well Drilling Sites"

Created and released by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, this PowerPoint presentation discusses the locating of access roads, wells and gas pipelines to minimize agricultural resource impacts, and correct construction and restoration measures to minimize the potential damage to agricultural resources.

"Horizontal Drilling and Hydraulic Fracturing"

In this video, Chesapeake Energy takes you behind the scenes of a natural gas drilling rig to highlight two major advances in gas production technology: horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

"How Not to Regulate Gas Drilling: What New York State Got Wrong"

Created by Lou Allstadt, former Mobil executive, for the Earth Festival 2010 Seminar Series.

"Introduction to Marcellus Shale Natural Gas Development"

PowerPoint presentation provided by CCE-PRI Marcellus Shale Team, Ithaca, NY.

"Marcellus Gas Shale: Exploitation and Our Fish"

PowerPoint presentation created by Dr. Anthony Ingraffea, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Cornell University.

"Marcellus Gas Shale: Exploitation and Us"

PowerPoint presentation given by Dr. Anthony Ingraffea, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Cornell University, in Penn Yan, NY, March 2, 2010.

"New York Marcellus Shale Natural Gas Educational Summit: Challenges and Opportunities"

(Click "log in as a guest") This seminar series includes sessions on: Water Withdrawals in the Susquehanna River Basin - Local Government Preparation; Workforce Development and Small Business Application; Landowner Management; Big Picture Community Development; How Much Does It Cost?; Marcellus Shale vis a vis State and National Energy Plans; Community Infrastructure: Wastewater Treatment Facilities and Roads; and Investment Fraud Prevention.

Power Point Presentation on DISH, Texas and the Barnett Shale

In response to numerous health complaints, DISH, Texas Mayor Calvin Tillman and the DISH City Council spent almost 15 percent of the town’s annual budget on an ambient air study that confirmed what many DISH residents long suspected – the natural gas infrastructure around their town was emitting high levels of toxic emissions and making them sick. (DISH is located in the heart of the Barnett Shale gas fields.  It has 11 compressor stations, three metering stations and 20 pipelines within two square miles.)

"Transportation Topics Related to Heavy Industry"

Strategies towns may employ to protect roads from the damaging effects of heavy industry. Created by Erik Miller, OCCA executive director, for the Otsego County Planning Department spring series of training workshops on land-use regulations.


Citizens’ Groups

Damascus Citizens for Sustainability

A grassroots nonprofit, 501(c)(3), organization dedicated to protecting the Upper Delaware River Basin and beyond from the ravages of deep-shale gas extraction and the threat posed by the natural gas industry.

Numerous Marcellus Shale resources are available here for citizens and municipalities who are facing decisions about gas leases, township ordinances related to gas drilling activities, and other Marcellus issues.

Otsego 2000

Otsego 2000 provided extensive comments on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s “Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement on the Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Regulatory Program Well Permit Issuance for Horizontal Drilling And High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing to Develop the Marcellus Shale and Other Low-Permeability Gas Reservoirs.”


Since July 2008, Riverkeeper has tracked the prospect of industrial gas drilling in New York State. While gas drilling in New York is not new, what is new is the magnitude, scope, and location of the proposed drilling method of high-volume hydraulic fracturing.

Sustainable Otsego

Sustainable Otsego is a loose, minimally structured network of local activists and supporters who seek to promote sustainable practices in the rural Leatherstocking region focused on Cooperstown and Otsego County, New York. Its listserv provides a forum for the discussion of sustainability issues, focusing recently particularly on resistence to shale gas drilling in our region.

Why natural gas is not the answer – created by the Chenango Delaware Gas Drilling Opposition Group. Sections on well spacing, eminent domain, water consumption and disposal, pipelines, community and infrastructure, more.

General Information

EPA Underground Injection Control Program: Hydraulic Fracturing

Over the past few years, the use of hydraulic fracturing for gas extraction has increased and has expanded over a wider diversity of geographic regions and geologic formations. It is projected that shale gas will comprise over 20% of the total U.S. gas supply by 2020. Given this expansion and the increasing concerns raised by the public, media and Congress, EPA announced in March 2010 that it will study the potential adverse impact that hydraulic fracturing may have on drinking water. EPA will use the results from the study to help evaluate potential risks associated with hydraulic fracturing in the Agency’s efforts to protect America’s resources and communities.

Natural Gas Resource Development Center, Cornell University Cooperative Extension

Includes sections on: Upcoming events; new resources; about the Marcellus shale; community task forces; landowner information; municipal officials' information; business and industry resources; Marcellus shale and the environment; Marcellus shale: economic impacts; general resources; CCE/Cornell Marcellus shale team.

Norse Energy Corporation, USA v Town of Dryden, 108 AD3d 25, and Cooperstown Holstein v Town of Middlefield, 106 AD3d 1170

In the cases (Norse Energy Corporation, USA v Town of Dryden, 108 AD3d 25, and Cooperstown Holstein v Town of Middlefield, 106 AD3d 1170) the Appellate Division (3rd Dept.) of the Supreme Court considered whether or not the New York State (NYS) Oil, Gas, and Solution Mining Law (OGSML/ Environmental Conservation Law §23-0303) preempts a local zoning law that bans “all activities related to the exploration for, and the production or storage of, natural gas and petroleum.” In its discussion, the court examined the scope and importance of home rule, the doctrine of preemption (on what grounds and to what extent does a state law take precedence over home rule authority), the intent of the OGSML, and the specific language of §23-0303(2).

Otsego County Planning Department – Natural Gas Drilling Information

Includes sections on information for local governments, water quality and testing, hydraulic fracturing, leases, etc.

Oil & Gas Accountability Project

EARTHWORKS' Oil & Gas Accountability Project works with tribal, urban and rural communities to protect their homes and the environment from the devastating impacts of oil and gas development. Sections including: about OGAP; citizen and community support; health and toxics; public lands; doing it right; resources.

Oil and Gas Well Drilling and Servicing eTool (OSHA)

"The oil and gas industry employs hundreds of thousands of people and is a vital component of the national economy. Worker safety and health are important to this industry. This eTool identifies common hazards and possible solutions to reduce incidents that could lead to injuries or fatalities."

Tioga Investigates Natural Gas

The Tioga Investigates Natural Gas (TING) Steering Committee believes that the impacts and opportunities related to natural gas drilling county wide are either not being addressed or are being addressed piecemeal by several public, not-for-profit and private organizations. TING desires to coordinate and streamline these current fragmented activities.

Information for Municipal Officials

Municipal Officials' Information from Cornell University Cooperative Extension

Includes research papers on preparing for natural gas development and negotiating a municipal gas lease, presentations on legal concerns and impacts, resources on road issues, links to additional websites, and frequently asked questions.