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Local News

September 17, 2013

Natural gas firm refuses to retreat

A Boston-based supplier of compressed natural gas has determined that, without a network of customers in the Cooperstown area, it would "not be economical at this time" for Otsego County's government buildings to be converted to compressed natural gas.

However, while Bassett has yet to show any public interest in converting its heating equipment from oil-fired to natural gas boilers, a representative of XNG Inc. said the company is actively trying to find other clients throughout upstate New York, including Otsego County.

"We simply need a certain amount of committed volume to make it economical to bring gas services to a county," said Matt Smith, XNG's vice president for marketing. "We are actively offering and developing our gas option for the state of New York."

Anti-drilling activists have urged Bassett executives to spurn overtures from XNG, contending the introduction of trucked compressed natural gas into the county could result in an eventual build-out of gas services throughout Cooperstown as well as the installation of feeder pipelines from larger transmission systems.

Representatives of XNG sought to put distance between its projects and the controversy over fracking, saying the company simply transports compressed natural gas to clients and has no involvement with drilling operations.

The company's web site touts the advantages of compressed gas - including significant reductions in the "carbon footrprint" for those institutions that have switched form oil to gas. However, Adrian Kuzminski, moderator of Sustainable Otsego, and county Rep. John Kosmer, D-Fly Creek, have argued Bassett should look into relying on renewable forms of energy rather than staying dependent on fossil fuels.

In a recent letter to a county official, Jack Flood, a representative of XNG, noted data supplied by the county indicate county office buildings last year consumed 36,061 gallons of No. 2 home heating oil and 43,163 gallons of propane. "The conversion of the county's equipment to CNG (compressed natural gas) as a stand alone project would not be economical at this time," Flood wrote.

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