The Butternut Valley Alliance, Otsego 2000, Otsego County Conservation Association and Trout Unlimited will hold a press conference this morning to call for the withdrawal of the draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement, or SGEIS.

The press conference will be at 10 a.m. in Common Council chambers at City Hall.

The document was prepared by the state Department of Environmental Conservation to establish guidelines that would govern natural-gas drilling within the state.

The draft was made available in early October for public comment. The comment period is scheduled to end Thursday, after which time the DEC can amend or adopt the draft.

Organizations will be represented by BVA Co-chairman Robert Eklund, Otsego 2000 President Nicole Dillingham, Trout Unlimited President Jim Lennox, and OCCA staff member and Third Ward Alderman Erik Miller. The groups will be joined by Cooperstown resident Lou Alstadt, who is a former executive vice president of Mobil Oil.

"We're not satisfied because the draft SGEIS does not protect our water supplies. We should be afforded the same protection as the New York City watershed," Eklund said in a media release.

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection has also called on the state to rescind the draft SGEIS.

The BVA, Otsego 2000 and OCCA have all issued official statements expressing concern regarding what they call weak environmental protection afforded by the draft SGEIS. The BVA's statement calls on the DEC "to withdraw the present draft SGEIS and begin a new drafting process that is in full compliance with New York State law."

Like the BVA, Otsego 2000's statement asks that the DEC withdraw the draft until missing data is supplied and public comment can take place on all of the missing data.

Each organization's statement made be viewed at its website. Information is also available on the DEC and DEP websites at www.dec.ny.gov and www.nyc.gov/dep.

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