On Tuesday night, residents from Tompkins County met with DOT officials to talk traffic. Specifically, heavy trucks. The public meeting was originally intended to address the heavy trash-haulers who take to rural roads in order to bypass thru-way tolls. But that impact pales in comparison to the potential consequences of truck traffic created by natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale. According to Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) documents and other estimates, it will take upwards of 10,000 trucks to haul the drilling rigs, equipment, chemicals and millions of gallons of water needed to drill each well.
"When they start issuing (drilling) permits is too late to regulate that truck traffic," said one resident. "Let's be proactive and regulate it now."
The DOT oversees permits for oversize and overweight trucks, and those permits could apply to trucks involved in gas drilling, say DOT officials. But newly enacted restrictions on which roads trucks will be allowed to use don't apply to local deliveries. Apparently DOT believes well pads in rural areas might be considered "local deliveries".
Counties and municipalities in the region are crafting "road use agreements" and even local ordinances that would require drilling companies - and others - who create road damage through heavy truck traffic to pay for road repairs. Unfortunately, those are left up to the individual towns, and some town and county officials would like to see the state take action to help them in road matters.
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