Saturday, June 2, 2012

Every Resident in Steuben County Needs to Read Jeff's Letter that was Published in The Leader May 30th

"Now is the time for all good men (and women of course) to come to the aid of their towns and villages." That may not be exactly how the original saying went, and it probably did not apply to the current situation, but for now it does apply to the natural gas drilling issue in Steuben County. To understand the relevance of the above statement you have to review the statement made by Mr. Martens. He said: "I think logically where there is less resistance and less opposition and there is not a local land-use plan in place, I think those will be easier to permit than in other places." As a result of Marten's statement, and in part to counter the moratoriums the antis are pushing - have you noticed 90% + are outside the Marcellus Shale area (and isn't Vermont cute!) - the land owners coalition has sent a resolution of support for gas drilling to all 32 towns and 13 villages in Steuben County. These resolutions simply state support for gas drilling and trust in the DEC to safely monitor the process. In a recent article in The Leader on this subject the reporter stated: "Any vote by the board on any matter dealing with drilling would require the four leaseholders to recuse themselves, or abstain, from voting,..." Two prominent Steuben County Attorneys, who have represented several towns in the County, have researched the NYS ethics laws and found nothing that would call for a recusal in this situation. This resolution would not put any money in anyone's pocket. Any land owners on the board who are under lease now would have already received their money from their leases. Any future money to be made from drilling would benefit the board members exactly as it would all land owners. In addition, the Ad Valorem tax revenue would benefit everyone in the town. A "conflict of interest" is where the Board Member has a unique and personal benefit not available to others in the community. With the tax revenue benefits for our towns, counties, and school districts under Title V's ad valorem tax in New York, and the benefits that represents to all the residents, and all the other economic advantages (undeniably illustrated in Pa. and Ohio), coupled with the undeniable needs of our state, we need what gas drilling will bring. We need to get over all the imaginary, emotional, "problems" the antis keep bringing up, accept the fact that they often are not telling the whole truth, look at the fact that at least sixteen other states are using horizontal hydraulic fracturing, and realize that none that are using it are stopping the process. We need to realize that if the "devastation" the antis see was even remotely true, those states would in fact stop the process. Remember the little old lady in Dansville screaming" They're killing hundreds of babies in Pennsylvania" - you really had to be there! So, if you are a resident who supports gas drilling, and all it will bring to our area, now is the time to contact your town or village board members and let them know how your feel. The anti's have had it their way for four years, it's time for the rest of us to raise our voices too! Jeff Heller SCLOC Bradford, N.Y.

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