Landowner to NYC: Stop Stealing Our Rights

I am a resident of Deposit in Delaware County, New York.  My family owns 55 unleased acres courtesy of the ongoing 3 and 1/2 year moratorium on natural gas development in New York State.  If the regulations put forth in the SGEIS stay the way they are currently written, this injustice of our property rights will continue, as we will never have the opportunity to lease our land and our mineral rights.  This means that my family and many like it could be faced with the decision of having to move from our homes, our land, our community, and possibly even our state, because few can afford to live in New York without the jobs and economic benefits natural gas development will bring.

Why do these regulations impact my community so much, and more so than other communities in Upstate New York?  Because Delaware County is the home of the Cannonsville Reservoir.  This may sound like a nice thing to have nearby, but it comes with its own challenges and costs to our community.  When the reservoir was established in 1965 to supply New York City with drinking water they had to demolish several towns. This included moving nine cemeteries, all for New York City to have water, while Delaware County was left carrying the burden for making a living here.

Today we still feel the effects of the reservoir being placed here. We cannot use the reservoir for recreation without overcoming extreme hurdles because it flows to New York City unfiltered, so we receive none of the benefits of its intrusion on our community. We especially feel the pinch in property taxes, as the destruction of villages for its construction left a void in the tax base of the county.

Now, after everything we have sacrificed for New York City, we are told that, because we live near its watershed, our property may not be leased or developed for natural gas because of the proposed 4,000 ft set-back in the SGEIS for the reservoir.  Let me tell you that NOTHING about the relationship between our two communities is fair and this latest act  only manages to worsen the situation, allowing the City to further gorge itself on our property rights.   The watershed protects itself through the boundaries surrounding it and it should stop at those boundaries.  The residents of Delaware County have been asked to sacrifice enough!

If the DEC wants to stop us from utilizing our minerals, it must compensate us for our carrying this burden for New York City.  Seems only right, if I can’t develop my resources due to this fact than it should be a cost New York City must bear.   Consider the losses to my family alone.  First, there is the up-front cost of what I stand to lose from not being able to lease my land, which is $275,000.00, using the very conservative figure of $500 per acre.  There is, in addition, an estimated total of $1.5 million per year connected with royalties that will be lost (assuming a royalty of 12.5%, at $3 per cubic foot wellhead price and 0.2 million cubic feet per day) for the acreage that we own that might conceivably be part of a production unit, according to a royalty calculator on  As you can see, at even a fraction of this estimate, there is a lot that we stand to lose because of New York City, and this doesn’t even take into account all the sacrifice we have already given to the City.

Three and a half years is long enough!  Let’s get this done right and  develop our natural gas resources now!



  1. nelson says:

    I must say dear Sandra you are quite wrong.

    It is the New York City Department of Enviromental Protection that has deemed that hydraulic fracturing / gas drilling is NOT SAFE for upwards of seven million of the city residents who utilize their water supply at Cannonsville, Pepacton and other Catskill NYC reservoirs.

    If it’s not safe for NYC…what makes you think it’s safe for others?

    Call Bloomberg and complain.


  2. Kilgour Farms says:


    My father’s family is from Cannonsville and my great grandparent were buried there. Their bodies were exhumed and now have been reburied in separate cemeteries. NY and NYC decided to use a backdoor deal to create the Cannonsville reservoir, there were no hearings, the voice of the landowners were not heard and they were not given a choice, receiving a pittance for their land rights.

    Now the people of the watershed are again under attack by the state and the city. Under the current GEIS proposed regulation people of the water shed are again being denied their landowner rights and due compensation. This must not be allowed to happen, the rights of the landowners must not be infringed upon without due compensation.

    NY do you hear us, if not you will soon!!!!



    I agree with your letter and I believe that drilling will come to your lands in the DRB. forget the naysayers because they have nothing but fracking fears, no science just lies upon lies. A judge will decide and hopefully it will be a judge from Upstate.

  4. Tom G says:

    Well, you want hydrofracking on your property? Ok..then YOU and the 7 million New Yorkers will have no drinking water when that process contaminates everything under your land with carcinegous elements released into YOUR soil and water. Have fun surviving there with no water to drink or wash with.

    • John says:

      More fear and propoganda. Hydraulic fracturing has never been tied to groundwater contamination. DEC Commissioner Martens himself said the only reason those lands are off-limits is because they don’t want to lose EPA FAD Determination. Which is not due to contamination concerns but political reality that increased activity in the area will lead them down the path of re-examining the exemption.

    • Tom G,
      You are clueless no case have ever linked hydraulic fracturing to contaminated ground water. Even Dimock the home of the misinformation campaign has had its water tested by every agency and deemed safe not contamimated. Go and hug your sky scraper. I will be fine drinking my well water.


  1. […] The people of Cannonsville gave up homes, land, and jobs so that New York City could have water. My husband and I lived in a trailer with 4 children.  In 1965 we found a farm to buy, using his GI Bill from his overseas service in WWII and Korea. […]

  2. […] the taking of property values this represents for landowners in the watershed, who already saw some communities completely destroyed to provide for the City’s water needs.  No one, either, seems to notice the gigantic […]

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