Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Albany: Stop Discriminating Against New York State’s Farmers! For nearly five years all three branches of the New York State government have discriminated against New York’s farmers. The majority of state employees in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches have a prejudice against the petroleum industry and fossil fuels in general. This prejudice has been shown in the form of a moratorium on gas and oil permits on land owned by farmers in New York. This discrimination has caused many farmers and the small businesses that support them to go out of business in New York. Look at what is happening to New York’s farming community in the southern tier. These farmers pay the highest property taxes in the country and are not able to take advantage of the abundant natural gas in the Marcellus Shale under their farms. In the northern tier of Pennsylvania, there has been an economic renaissance in the farming community, because the government in Harrisburg is not prejudiced against fossil fuels and does not discriminate against its farmers! Why is this discrimination against New York farmers occurring in Albany? Prejudices are based on a lack of knowledge and understanding of an issue. Horizontal drilling and high-volume hydraulic fracturing is a very technical and scientific process that was developed by scientists and engineers. The decision-makers in Albany are mostly lawyers and few have any real knowledge of science and technology. The governor keeps using the excuse that science has yet to determine this issue, even though the science has always supported this industrial process. The Governor could have received an actual science or engineering degree during these five years of delay! Green energy and climate change is another issue that is confusing our lawyer-leaders in Albany. Nothing will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by fifty percent faster than the conversion from terrorism-supporting Middle East oil to American produced natural gas. This will produce millions of family-supporting jobs and help with our nation’s overdue economic recovery. The science behind horizontal drilling and high-volume hydraulic fracturing has been proven years ago. It can be done safely. There are twenty-eight states that are performing this exact type of drilling in shale plays. This has been occurring in many of these states for over fifteen years. Not one governor, legislative body, attorney general, regulatory agency in those state or federal agency in the US, has ever asked the drilling industry to stop! New York State has always been a leader against discrimination in the past. New York assumed leadership roles for women’s suffrage, civil rights and marriage equality. It’s time for Albany to stop discriminating against the two most important economic sectors of Upstate New York. Agriculture and the petroleum industry have worked together harmoniously for over one hundred years for the benefit of the state and country. Free them from Albany’s discrimination and they will lead us to the economic recovery that we all hope for. Neil Vitale Steuben County Organic Dairy Farmer
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
We have the answer to the tax issues and jobs in the southern tier, it is under our feet, and the governor is not helping landowners and municipalities harvest it either. JLCpulse!- Written by Joseph Spector Albany Bureau Chief in Pressconnects.com ALBANY -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo offered little sympathy Monday for the plight of local governments, saying they need to do what the state government did: solve their own fiscal problems. He defended the property-tax cap and said it has successfully limited property taxes in a state with among the highest taxes in the nation. The cap limits growth in property taxes to 2 percent a year, or it can be overrode by local boards or by voters on school budgets. "You can only spend that which you take in. That’s life," Cuomo told reporters. "That’s everybody’s kitchen table. You have a pay check; you can’t spend more than the paycheck. Well, I want to. But you really can’t, and for many years, they went right back to the taxpayer." Local governments, particularly counties and cities, have been pressing the Democratic governor to enact more relief from state-mandated programs. In a report last week, counties said they face a "formula for failure." Under the property-tax cap, they would only be able to collect $114 million in new revenue next year -- leaving a gap of $130 million. The 57 counties outside New York City are preparing their budgets for the fiscal year that starts Jan. 1. Cuomo said the state this year enacted substantial mandate relief: a cap on the growth in local Medicaid costs for counties and a new, less generous pension tier -- the two biggest cost drivers for local governments. Last year, Cuomo said he closed a $10 billion budget gap without raising taxes and spending. Cuomo suggested there wasn’t much more coming to help local governments in his budget next year, which is due out in mid-January. He said they should consider consolidations, pointing out that New York has more than 10,500 taxing entities. "It’s not called a mandate-relief cap. That’s not what it is," Cuomo said. "It’s a tax cap, and it worked very well because taxes aren’t going up unless the people want them to go up."
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
T. Boone Pickens, the architect of The Pickens Plan to achieve greater energy security in the U.S., released the following statement on the energy comments by Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama during last night's second presidential debate: "After four long years of helping candidates and public officials understand the importance of energy as a domestic issue, an environmental issue and a national security issue, President Obama and Governor Romney finally gave us a spirited debate on their views on the subject. "There will be dozens of so-called energy experts providing fact-checking on their respective comments. That will be a healthy debate in and of itself. "President Obama had the first opportunity to go into detail and stressed the importance of American natural gas to reducing our reliance on imported oil. Mitt Romney also supported this approach and I thought he demonstrated a deeper understanding of energy by pointing out that replacing imported oil with domestic fuels would - and should - create a major positive contribution to our economy and create jobs. Another bright spot was his call for a North American Energy Alliance. That can be a critical element of a national energy strategy going forward. "I like that President Obama highlighted the importance of developing renewable energy, but think he oversold what they will do to address the OPEC oil threat. Two-thirds of our oil use is tied to transportation, and wind and solar are power generation fuels. They won't move 18-wheelers. They are an important part of the future, but we need a bridge to get us there by reducing oil imports now. "I am hopeful that as the candidates hit the campaign trail for the final three-week sprint they will continue to talk about energy - and especially our vast natural gas reserves that are the only fuel which can substitute for imported diesel to push our 8.5 million 18-wheelers. "The final debate next Monday, October 22, will focus on foreign policy. I am hopeful the two candidates will connect the dots and reinforce for the American public how closely our foreign and military policies and presence are tied to our Middle East oil dependence. Once you get the 8.5 million trucks and fleet vehicles on domestic natural gas, you have an option to rethink your Middle East foreign policies. "The good news is that both candidates highlighted the role that our expanding domestic crude oil and natural gas reserves can play in enhancing our energy security and moving us off OPEC oil. Now let's look for specific plans and solutions on how to get there. "Remember, a plan without action isn't a plan, it's a speech."
Thursday, October 4, 2012
VIEW & OUTLOOK October 3, 2012 Cuomo's De-Fracking New York's Governor favors rich greens over the upstate poor. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo fancies himself Presidential material, but he isn't helping his 2016 credentials with his pusillanimity on natural gas fracking. A state moratorium has blocked hydraulic fracturing since 2010, but a four-year environmental review was supposed to pay off with new rules to allow drilling this November. The Cuomo Administration has instead announced it will restart the process, with more studies, more hearings and more years of delay. Put another way, the man who would be President is ducking the premier energy debate of our time. Green elites have made fracking their bête noire, and they've more or less ordered Mr. Cuomo not to move ahead with drilling in even a few upstate counties. The Governor knows this would cost jobs and investment, so he's taken the brave stance of cueing the bureaucrats and deciding not to decide. This is a giant loss for New York, which holds an estimated 20% of the reserves in the Marcellus Shale formation. A 2011 Manhattan Institute study estimates that the typical Marcellus well generates more than $5 million in economic benefits and $2 million in tax revenue. If fracking were allowed, the study notes New York would already be on its way to creating more than $11 billion in economic output and more than 15,000 jobs by 2020. That's already happening in neighboring Ohio and Pennsylvania. The shale bonanza is also sparking a surge in manufacturing investment to exploit cheaper energy. Egypt's Orascom Construction announced last month it plans to build a $1.4 billion fertilizer plant in Iowa, while Dow Chemical in April announced a $1.7 billion ethylene production plant in Texas—all thanks to shale gas. Upstate New York desperately needs this economic jump-start. The New York Department of Labor's September jobs statistics showed that the 52-county upstate region's private jobs growth rate over the past year was less than half (0.9%) the downstate rate (2.3%), and one-third of New York City's (2.9%). Yet Big Apple elites—and apparently Mr. Cuomo—prefer to keep upstate in pastoral poverty for their second homes and antique shops. Mr. Cuomo says further study will produce better rules to ward off a legal challenge. Yet the Governor knows that the green left will sue to block anything he proposes, and the sooner that process begins, the sooner it ends. Our sources say Mr. Cuomo wants the political cover of a big investment commitment from a big gas driller. Yet New York's first draft regulations, issued earlier this year, were so stringent that many producers doubt they could turn a profit. Mr. Cuomo could learn from former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, a Democrat who understood that the economic benefit was worth taking grief from the left. Even President Obama is trying, for re-election purposes, to take credit for the natural gas boom he's had nothing to do with. Mr. Cuomo has bent to the left on a big tax increase, caved to unions on education reform and pensions, and given cultural liberals their top priority of gay marriage. His fracking delay is a gift to the green lobby, which hopes to forestall drilling long enough to enable a second Obama Administration to complete a federal regulatory takeover that makes fracking far more costly and ends the boom. The question for Mr. Cuomo is what has he done for New York's economy? If Mr. Cuomo wants to kill fracking, he should kill it. Otherwise, he owes it to his state to give it the opportunity to build a new future with the shale boom. That would at least give Mr. Cuomo the credibility to run as a Democratic jobs candidate in 2016. Right now he's the Democratic nothing candidate. A version of this article appeared October 4, 2012, on page A24 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Cuomo's De-Fracking.
Monday, October 1, 2012
There is a serious movement in N.Y. State in the direction of taking control of mineral rights away from the land owners. They would place them in the hands of the state, or, more directly as far as gas rights are concerned, town boards. In many cases these losses of mineral rights go far beyond gas rights. With town limits on truck weights many have already removed your rights to sell your timber. Will these limits apply to milk trucks? Loaded hay wagons? Loads of cement, gravel, dirt? These people who are taking your gas rights now may say all this is foolish. Four years ago the idea that they would, or could, take our gas rights was foolish!! It doesn’t look so foolish now does it? You must also understand that the loss of gas rights is only the first step. The Land Owners Coalitions from across the state will be taking part in a rally in Albany on October 15. We will be able to provide comfortable bus transportation for anyone from our area who wants to go. We cannot stress enough how important this trip is to YOUR interests. Almost all the “noise” in Albany has been from the Antis. Now it’s our turn! We are hoping this will be the largest rally that Albany has EVER seen. Besides land owners anyone who has an interest in gas drilling is going to be there. This will include, but is not limited to: tax payer groups, job seekers, Farm Bureaus, Chambers of Commerce, trade unions, economic development agencies, industry, businesses, - anyone with gas drilling interests!! We can all make up excuses not to take a day off for an event like this. But this letter is an appeal to everyone of you to understand that “ IT’S NOW OR NEVER”! Stand up for your rights now - or lose them!! It’s that simple. We have to take one day, one day in five years, to tell Albany and everyone else that we do value our land owners rights. Those of us in the Coalition who have been fighting these antis for almost five years now, have done all we can to protect your rights and your interests. Many of us have hundreds, and in a few cases thousands, of hours in this fight. Now it’s time for all our landowners to prove that they value their mineral rights. Join us on October 15! To sign up for the bus trip you can go to scloc.com and sign up there. You can also call any of the people listed below to make your reservations. Jeff Heller SCLOC Jeff and Kathy Heller Bradford 607-583-7820 Karen and David Ballard Lindley 607-523-7246 Neil Vitale Woodhull 607-525-6482 Dana Knowles Campbell 607-527-3260 Peter Olausson Addison 607-359-3069 Linda Knowles Thurston 607-527-4554