Report: 30 percent of gas rights in Finger Lakes region leased

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A look at eight counties within the Finger Lakes region found that 30 percent of gas rights to the land was leased to natural gas companies between 2005 to 2010, an environmental group found.

Citizens Campaign for the Environment released a report today mapping out where and to whom lands have been leased, finding that 20,000 gas leases for 602,000 acres of rights have been executed. The report looked at Cayuga, Chemung Cortland, Livingston, Ontario, Seneca, Schuyler and Steuben counties.

Of those counties, Cortland County had the most acreage leased: 41 percent. Livingston had the smallest percentage, coming in at 7 percent.

The group says the information must be used by the DEC to look at the total impact of high-volume hydraulic fracturing as the state moves toward allowing the gas-stimulation process in the Marcellus Shale region.

“New York’s Finger Lakes region is defined by slender glacial-cut lakes, award-winning wineries, productive agriculture, and tourism that beats out Italy and California,” said Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment. “We are calling on DEC to use this new information to provide a meaningful cumulative impact analysis in the new draft SGEIS to protect these signature areas.”

The DEC’s latest draft review of hydrofracking — the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement — was released last week. A group of grassroots anti-fracking organizations are in Albany today to call for a statewide ban on the practice.

The full report — Fair warning: it’s 29 megabytes — can be downloaded here.

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