Madison County landowners have rights

Representatives from the state Attorney General's Office will talk Oct. 7 on the subject of landowners' rights in respect to oil and gas leases. The forum will be held at 6:30 p.m. at Cazenovia College's Cathering Cummings Theatre, 8 Lincklaen St., Cazenovia.

The topic is getting hotter in the area as gas exploration indicates the Marcellus Shale Formation may contain the largest natural gas supply in the country's history.

Drilling companies have contacted Madison County residents as far north as the town of Sullivan.

Supervisor James Goldstein (D,C,I -- Lebanon) has been working to raise awareness of the intricacies and impacts of seismic testing, drilling and lease issues in his town.

According to Supervisor John Salka (R,C,I -- Brookfield) at the August meeting of the Madison County Board of Supervisors' Public Health Services Committee, residential water supplies have sustained permanent damage as a result of a test well drilling in his town.

Madison County Board of Supervisors Chairman John M. Becker (R,C,I -- Sullivan) issued an advisory to county residents earlier this summer that no one should sign anything that possibly relinquishes their land rights until they have consulted an attorney knowledgeable in the field.

Becker said he made the announcement because several Sullivan residents contacted his office for more information about gas leases after being approached by gas well drilling representatives.

Goldstein and Becker said the Farm Bureau is trying to serve as a clearinghouse for information on leasing issues.

The Cazenovia program is presented courtesy of Assemblyman Bill Magee (D -- Nelson) and Sen. David J. Valesky (D -- Oneida).

For more information, call the AG's office at 448-4848 or visit oag.state.ny.us.

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