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Schlumberger project gets more scrutiny this week

The village Planning Board has already held several meetings to review plans to build a natural gas drilling services facility in The Center at Horseheads industrial park, and the village Board of Trustees held a public hearing Sept. 9.
The two boards will hold a joint workshop Tuesday to compare notes and ask questions about the volumes of information submitted by Schlumberger and its consultant, Bergmann Associates.
Due to the sensitive nature of the project -- including the fact that certain chemicals and explosives will be stored on the site -- many people have demanded that the village conduct a full environmental review.
But the village isn't yet at the point in the process where it can determine if a full review is warranted, according to Mayor Don Zeigler.
"We will hold a special meeting and go through the SEQR (state environmental quality review) process," Zeigler said. "People expect us to do a long form. We can't answer that. We have to go through the SEQR process and ask questions and see if they have been answered. We'll give it a thorough look."
The Schlumberger project is expected to create about 400 jobs.
Many people who have expressed concern over the project are worried about the safety of natural gas drilling, but there will be no drilling at the Schlumberger site, Zeigler said.
"We're dealing with a site plan review of a building and the normal things that go with a piece of land that's going to be developed," he said. "There's been a lot of comment about gas well drilling and so forth.
"Our planning board is looking at the building and associated items like water runoff and traffic, normal things you would do with any new project that comes on board."
Zeigler expects most of the questions at Tuesday's meeting will be directed toward Ron Sherman, the engineer hired as a consultant by the village.

Bergmann Associates will have representatives on hand to answer questions, he said.
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