Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Albany: Stop Discriminating Against New York State's Farmers!

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

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