Wednesday, March 27, 2013

SCLOC Thanks the Former Pennsylvania Governor Rendell

Opinion Why Cuomo must seize the moment on hydrofracking A fellow Democrat says that natural gas was a huge boon to Pennsylvania’s economy By Ed Rendell / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Wednesday, March 27, 2013, 4:23 AM. . . .. Natural gas has an important role to play in the Northeast region and in our nation’s overall energy future. It’s already creating new opportunities for consumers and businesses and promoting economic growth in a range of sectors — all while reducing environmental impacts. I know because, as governor of Pennsylvania from 2003 to 2011, I saw this happen upclose. That’s why New York’s consideration of hydraulic fracturing is so essential. We’re at an energy crossroads as a nation. If we choose to embrace natural gas, it will help us get past a number of significant economic and environmental challenges. On the other hand, if we let fear carry the day, we will squander another key moment to move forward together. Like with any energy resource, extracting and developing natural gas comes with some risk. But when that risk is well managed, natural gas results in great jobs for hardworking Americans, cleaner air, more affordable energy and more efficient use of our domestic energy resources. Used in power generation, natural gas has half the carbon emissions of coal, and no sulfur dioxide, mercury or particulate matter. In transportation, natural gas produces up to 30% lower carbon emissions than petroleum and no particulate matter or sulfur dioxide. In other words, we ought to be using more, not less of it. New York has a healthy band of vocal critics right now who continue to push a false choice: natural gas versus the environment. But as the former Democratic governor of a major natural gas-producing state, I know we can enjoy the benefits of gas production while also protecting the environment. Pennsylvania put in place strong oversight while allowing development throughout the Marcellus Shale — and the economic benefits were significant. Thousands of solid jobs with good salaries were created, communities came back to life and investment in the state soared. The steel, lumber, concrete and construction industries, as well as manufacturing purchases and retail spending, all benefited from the ensuing natural gas boom. According to economic research firm IHS, shale gas contributed about $7 billion to Pennsylvania’s gross domestic product. And, the study says, that number will double in 2015. It is tremendously important that the economic benefits of energy production stay right here in America — that they go to domestic companies, workers and landholders, rather than to places like Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, which together account for a sizable percentage of all our imported oil. Before our eyes, the U.S. is moving toward dramatically more energy independence. New York has the chance to play a major part in that revolution. Regarding environmental concerns, the way forward is clear. As we have shown in Pennsylvania, we can manage the risks of natural gas drilling. We enacted tough construction and water disposal regulations in 2010 and have had no major problems since then. The gas companies fought these changes initially, but we’ve reached a consensus that strong rules make sense for everyone. As a Democrat, I understand the worries of those who question natural gas development. I have shared some of their concerns. But I would ask that folks do as I did: Step back and look at the facts. See the bigger picture. We must push for natural gas development with appropriate oversight and regulation. But most importantly, we must push forward. The benefits, the environment, our citizens and our energy security are just too great to ignore. Rendell is the former governor of Pennsylvania

Monday, March 25, 2013

Energy Boom Begins to Ripple Through US Economy

John W. Schoen, NBC News – 3 hrs. The boom in new oil and natural gas flowing through U.S. pipelines is beginning to ripple through the wider American economy. Just ask Edrick Smith. In September, Smith traded temp agency jobs for full-time employment with Baltimore-based Marlin Steel Wire Products, which makes wire baskets for industrial customers. An experienced machinist, Smith is now expanding his skills by learning to set up and operate factory robots. “Knowing each and every machine in here gives me an opportunity to make good money, and to educate myself more,” he said. “This is my career.” Smith’s hiring was just one of thousands of openings created indirectly by a new boom in domestic oil and natural gas drilling – a bounty so rich that it has even caught energy industry insiders by surprise. In part 2 of our four-part “Power Shift” special report, we examine how the explosion in drilling in places like North Dakota and West Texas is spreading through the general economy – despite controversy over the potential environmental impact of the new industry practices. Marlin Steel Wire, for example, has expanded its payroll and invested in high-tech equipment to keep up with a steady pick-up in orders from other U.S. manufacturers. Orders are rising, said owner Drew Greenblatt, because his customers are receiving a widening discount in the price of natural gas and electricity. “That’s making U.S. companies that used to be at a price disadvantage now uniquely positioned to win contracts they never won in the past -- or haven’t for a while,” he said. “Everyone talks about what’s going on in North Dakota, but it’s filtering down now to conventional factories throughout America." Some analysts believe the energy cost savings for businesses, factories and consumers will last for decades. “This is not going to be a one- or two-year thing,” said Ross Eisenberg, head of energy and resources policy at the National Association of Manufacturers. “We’re going to see lower natural gas prices for a long, long way into the future.” Booms, busts and booms Since the first gusher of oil spewed from of the ground above the Spindletop salt dome outside Beaumont, Texas, more than a century ago, the U.S. energy industry has enjoyed its share of booms and busts. After peaking in the early 1970s, U.S. oil and gas production began to decline as thousands of depleted wells were shut down. The U.S. rapidly became dependent on foreign suppliers to fuel its economy. About a decade ago, advanced oilfield production technologies like hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," and horizontal drilling began to reverse that trend. Many of the now-bountiful fields being brought back on line were mothballed long ago when the remaining “tight” oil and gas deposits were considered too costly or technically difficult to produce. “It is a sizeable opportunity,” said John Larson, an economist with IHS Global Insight. “It’s a game changer.” Interactive map: Where US energy is produced The economics of production have also played a role in the boom. A tripling in the market price of a barrel of crude over the past decade supports widespread use of costly extraction methods that didn't make sense when energy prices were lower. Barring an unanticipated setback, so-called “unconventional” oil and gas production is expected to continue to grow over the next two decades. Over that period, the industry is expected to make more than $5 trillion in new capital investment that will support more than 3.5 million jobs by 2035, according to the financial analysis firm IHS Global Insight. That economic impact of such spending already is spreading, especially to companies that rely heavily on natural gas as a raw material or energy source and investing and hiring. Steel makers, for example, benefit from both the lower cost of manufacturing and from strong demand for steel pipe used for oil and gas drilling. Companies in the steel rustbelt of Pennsylvania and Ohio are polishing up aging plants to replace coal with cheaper natural gas. Others are setting up shop closer to major gas distribution hubs like Louisiana, where steel giant Nucor is investing $750 million to fire up a new plant later this year. Chemical, plastics and fertilizer makers, who rely on natural gas both as a raw material and an energy source, have also been expanding production. Last year, Dow Chemical announced a $4 billion investment in facilities, part of some $15 billion in expansion plans announced by Gulf Coast chemical makers. And Vancouver-based Methanex Corp. decided last year to spend $425 million to disassemble an idled methanol plant in Chile and move it lock, stock and pipeline to Louisiana. In December, economists with UBS bank tallied some $65 billion in announced construction of new plants related to cheaper natural gas, and said another 11 plants had been announced worth billions more. As groundbreaking on these projects gets under way, the dividends from the energy boom will flow even further – to construction companies, engineering firms, materials and equipment suppliers and lenders who help finance the projects. That, in turn, will help shore up state and federal budgets. The added revenue – from income taxes on new jobs created, corporate taxes on added oil and gas profits and state and federal royalty payments – could top $2.5 trillion through 2035, according to IHS Global Insight. Though prices at the gas pump have remained stubbornly high -- primarily because stepped-up U.S. production makes up relatively small percentage of the global supply, which drives oil prices -- American households are also getting a big break on the lower cost of natural gas and electricity. Larson, the IHS economist, estimated that the energy “dividend” amounts to about $1,000 a year per household and will double by 2035. “It’s a fairly substantial return of wealth to the American consumer," he said. Increased U.S. oil and natural gas production also promises to help rebalance the long-running trade gaps that have weakened the dollar. If the U.S. moves from a net importer to a net exporter of energy over the next decade, as some experts project, oil will flip from being a source of trade deficits to an important contributor on the positive side of the ledger. With China’s energy-hungry economy expected to continue to rely on imported oil, some analysts believe Beijing may soon begin swapping its huge pile of U.S. Treasury bonds for barrels of West Texas crude. America’s growing energy independence also has been fueled by gains in efficiency: U.S. vehicles are squeezing more mileage from every gallon of fuel, and high-tech heating and cooling units and green building techniques and materials have cut energy bills for commercial and residential buildings by 10 percent since 2005. Challenges remain To be sure, there are forces that could delay – or even derail – the ongoing energy boom. The drop in natural gas prices has already slowed production of some projects that become too costly when gas prices are too low. Lower oil prices could have the same impact, but it’s not clear that added U.S. supplies will be sufficient to make a dent in global oil prices, especially if OPEC producers like Saudi Arabia throttle back on supplies to maintain current price But some experts are more bullish on the prospects for a second energy windfall as increased U.S. supplies of oil rein in global prices. Citibank analyst Edward Morse thinks that by the end of the decade, added U.S. output will pull global crude prices back down to a range of $70 to $90 a barrel – a savings of as much as 30 percent. That kind of price drop would further amplify the economic boost from lower natural gas prices already flowing through the economy. Last year, for example, the U.S. consumed roughly 7 billion barrels of oil at an average price of about $100 a barrel. A 30 percent discount on that oil bill works out to about 1.3 percent of gross domestic product. In an economy growing at roughly 2 percent a year, the impact of that dividend would be substantial. Other factors could slow development. Widespread environmental concerns about the impact of hydraulic fracturing on water supplies have delayed drilling of the Marcellus shale field in New York, where the state Assembly recently voted to extend a moratorium for another two years. In California, the state Legislature is considering at least eight bills to regulate expanded production in the Monterey shale field, estimated to be one of the largest deposits in the country. Oil and gas producers also face a looming labor shortage as a generation of petroleum engineers and geologists approach retirement age. Their departure is compounded by a dearth of trained younger workers to take their places. From a peak of 11,000 students enrolled in geology and petroleum engineering programs at 34 universities in 1983, only 1,500 were enrolled in 17 programs by 2004, according to a 2007 report from the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission. Finally, transportation bottlenecks have already slowed the distribution of new energy supplies and could further slow future expansion. Expanding the existing pipeline network, which was planned and constructed decades ago, long before new drilling techniques rewrote the U.S. energy map, is already raising safety and environmental concerns. The most visible controversy – construction of the proposed $7 billion Keystone pipeline through the nation’s heartland – could be the opening round of ongoing local battles over the build-out of the network required to get new supplies of oil and natural gas from producer to consumer. “We imported natural gas this winter to the Northeast because we don’t have the capacity yet to move the gas where we need it,” said Larson. “As a country, we need to address the issue of how we develop the infrastructure we need to enable this energy to flow to where it’s needed.”

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The SCLOC Thanks Tom Stepstone and the New York Post

Blueblood agenda The truth about fracking foes By TOM SHEPSTONE Last Updated: 4:01 AM, March 19, 2013 Posted: 10:39 PM, March 18, 2013 GOV. Cuomo has put natural-gas development on hold yet again, plainly thanks to the power of New York’s environmental lobby. But the real issue has nothing to do with the supposed health concerns cited by the opponents of “fracking.” No, the delay’s been engineered by some extremely powerful special interests — New York’s bluebloods —at the expense of the hopes of blue-collar NewYork. Consider the governor’s advisory committee on hydraulic fracturing. It includes his brother-in-law, Robert Kennedy Jr., a former senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, and two current senior attorneys for the NRDC. That’s three NRDC seats on a panel of 13 (later expanded). And the NRDC is also represented in the individual whom these three attorneys are supposed to advise: JoeMartens, the Department of Environmental Conservation chief, who was president of the Open Space Institute when he took the DEC job, and is also a founder of the Catskill Mountainkeeper. Both those groups, along with the NRDC, were creations of John Adams, a close associate of the Rockefeller family. Adams’ son, Ramsay, is Catskill Mountainkeeper’s executive director, and still another NRDC senior attorney is the group’s president. Cuomo’s fracking panel also contains four other opponents of the practice and one of those, Robert Moore, just got hired by the NRDC. Altogether, they still account for half the committee, even after it was expanded for greater balance. The NRDC’s pervasive influence is also evident in the overlapping relationships among the Catskill Mountain-keeper, the Open Space Institute, the Beaverkill Valley Land Trust, the NRDC and other groups controlled by the Rockefeller family, The Lew Beach area — where the counties of Delaware, Sullivan and Ulster come together and many of these folks own land —might be described as high society in the hinterlands. NRDC founder John Adams is from the area and introduced Laurance Rockefeller Jr. to it many years ago. Rockefeller has bought up thousands of acres of land in LewBeach and divided it into home sites for wealthy friends and folks like Dan Rather, who told The New York Times, “My house in the Beaverkill is the only bit of privacy that I have left,” and an investment banker who noted, “It’s like buying into a land bank.’’ In short, Rockefeller and various associates have long been establishing a secluded preserve for their personal enjoyment. But being able to buy up property inexpensively is crucial — and thus fracking, which would greatly add to the value of lands still owned by locals, threatens the project. The project’s relations with the state are questionable in other regards. For example, there’s the $25 million loan made from funds reserved for job creation to the Open Space Institute, as well as the fact that the group sells land to the state at premium prices. All these conservation efforts just happen, in many cases, to also preserve land around the homes of the principals — increasing their privacy and ensuring continued pristine views. In short, the NRDC & Co. aren’t really engaged in a battle against naturalgas development, but rather in keeping it out of the Catskills, where it might interfere with their own plans for that land bank. Emptying out the Catskills and lowering property values is what works for them. It doesn’t work so well for residents, who must somehow earn a living and pay the taxes on what theyown. For all the “green” talk of health issues with fracking, these folks know that their health is linked to economic development. Meanwhile, the NRDC gives its approval to naturalgas development in Illinois, which is no threat to their Catskill plans. That shows that what’s going on in New York has nothing to do with health. It’s a sad state of affairs. By letting the NRDC and friends dominate his decision-making process, the governor is putting a lower value on the needs of middleclass landowners and union members than on the whims of some of America’s wealthiest. Will he continue to side with the bluebloods against the blue collars? The future of rural New York hangs in the balance. Tom Shepstone is a spokesman for Energy in Depth, an industrysponsored group striving to educate the public on naturalgas development. Have a comment on this PostOpinion column? Send it in to LETTERS@NYPOST.COM!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

SCLOC Thanks Jeff Heller for the Excellent Letter to The Leader

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 4:50 PM Subject: letter to the editor To the Editor: It's safe to say that an overwhelming majority of us are "environmentalists" - if we define that as people who are concerned about protecting our environment. However, there is an extreme division in how some of us define that concern. For now, let's call those of us who have a sincere concern for the environment, but still want to see our country and our economy progress, " conservationists." Somewhere beyond that group is the modern day "environmentalist". Further, within that classification we need to recognize that there are many variations of philosophy, and that no matter how extreme some of those may be - they are all, in fact, "sincere". Having conceded that, it is still very hard for those of us trying to get New York to join every single other state on a shale play that is taking advantage of that "gift" of geology, to really understand how they can be "sincere". In addition to our problems here in New York with environmental extremism we need to recognize that these beliefs have huge negative effects nationwide. All of us have "causes" that we take seriously, and we will do whatever we can to help our "cause". When these causes are "rational" - protecting our families, improving our homes or our properties, wanting a newer truck, catching bigger fish - we can take realistic, or common sense, steps to help those causes. However, when our causes become more ideological we start to venture out on thinner ice. Two of the most obvious examples of this would be pacifism and environmentalism. Pacifism has a much longer history but the same almost purely emotional appeal that present day environmentalism has. Who can argue with the premise that peace is better than war, or that environmentalism is better than the destruction of our planet! As a student of the 1930's, WWII, and the Cold War, I have a major problem with pacifism. The appeasement policy of the 1930's saved a few thousand lives at the time, but led to the death of fifty million people in the 1940's! To make a very long story very short, history proves beyond any doubt that the best way to prepare for peace is to prepare for war. We learn from history what we don't learn from history. (Hegel) Environmentalism is, or should be, grounded much more on science. But in the hands of most of our present day "environmentalists" it is much more ideological then scientific. This enables a crusader like Josh Fox, when confronted about all the exaggerations in his movie "Gasland", to say, " the truth is irrelevant." So for example, when one of our NY crusaders refers to "the devastation" in Pa., it doesn't matter that it is an absurd statement because the cause is more important than the truth. To argue realism against the idealism of Pacifism or environmentalism is, in too many cases, a hopeless task. "Make love not war" is pretty hard to argue with- except that it is an absurd concept under the lens of history. How can you argue with "Green energy should replace fossil fuels" - except that it is an absurd concept under the lens of science. So, if the truth doesn't agree with our cause, why don't we just make the truth irrelevant? Jeff Heller

Friday, March 8, 2013

SCLOC Thanks Senate Deputy Majority Leader Thomas Libous,R-Binghamton

Libous vows to block vote on fracking moratorium 5:42 PM, Mar 7, 2013 | Sen. Thomas Libous Written by Jon Campbell Albany Bureau @JonCampbellGAN •Filed Under • •Local News •New York ALBANY — A top Senate Republican on Thursday said he will fight to keep a potential moratorium on hydraulic fracturing from getting a vote in the state Senate. Senate Deputy Majority Leader Thomas Libous, R-Binghamton, said his goal is to “make sure no (moratorium) bill passes the Senate.” Libous, a staunch fracking supporter whose district sits within the gas-rich Marcellus Shale formation, said he doesn’t want to see the issue on the Senate floor for a vote. “I’m going to try to make sure that it doesn’t,” he said Thursday. “I feel that strongly on that issue.” Libous’ comments came a day after the state Assembly passed a bill that would prohibit drilling in the Marcellus and Utica shale formations until May 15, 2015. On Tuesday, Sen. David Carlucci, D-Clarkstown, Rockland County, introduced a similar but separate bill in the Senate. Carlucci is a member of the Independent Democratic Conference, which shares control of the chamber with the GOP. Opponents of fracking — who say the technique could cause irreparable environmental harm — are hoping the IDC may be able to get a vote on a moratorium. Supporters — who point to gas drilling’s economic and energy benefits—will be leaning on the GOP to block it. Carlucci on Thursday said his bill would ensure a decision on fracking isn’t made on an “arbitrary timetable.” His legislation would tie a moratorium to the completion of two outside studies of shale-gas drilling’s impacts: one from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the other from Geisinger Health System. “I can appreciate my colleague’s concerns,” Carlucci said of Libous’ comments. “I think the important thing is we need to put New Yorkers’ health first, and I think the prudent thing to do would be to wait for these studies to be done, get the science on the table and get all the data possible.” Large-scale fracking and shale-gas drilling has been on hold in New York since 2008, when the state Department of Environmental Conservation first started putting together a review of its environmental impacts and permitting guidelines for drillers. Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration has yet to make a decision on large-scale fracking after inheriting the issue when he took office in 2011, and last month signaled it needed more time to review the potential health impacts. Libous said the state’s process should be completed without the Legislature’s involvement. “I’m going to lobby my colleagues in the IDC. I’m going to lobby my Republican colleagues,” Libous said. “Let the (Department of Environmental Conservation) and Health Department give the governor a recommendation and then we’ll either move forward or we won’t.” Brad Gill, executive director of the Independent Oil & Gas Association of New York, said a potential fracking moratorium “demonstrates continued disregard for farmers, landowners and small businesses in the Southern Tier.” “New York’s government could work to create progress and prosperity by expanding natural gas exploration,” Gill said in a statement. “Instead we produce delay.” Critics of fracking, however, said there is not a “comprehensive understanding of fracking-enabled oil and gas development’s impacts on public health.” New York Water Rangers, a coalition of environmental groups who have been critical of shale-gas development, issued a joint statement Thursday urging “the Senate and Assembly to work together to enact legislation on this important issue as quickly as possible

Thursday, March 7, 2013

What is Going on in Albany Concerning the Moratorium?

NY Assembly approves 2-year fracking ban by John Callegari Published: March 6, 2013 A bill prohibiting large-scale hydraulic fracturing for two years has passed the New York State Assembly. The bill, back by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, passed today by a vote of 95-40. Getting it past the Republican-controlled Senate, however, will not be as easy. The bill does not yet have a Senate sponsor and hydrofracking legislation has not been taken up by the Senate since 2010. The legislation prevents the state from issuing permits for the controversial method of drilling for natural gas, even if the appropriate documents are completed. High-volume fracking has not yet been permitted in New York state, but could be as soon as the Department of Environmental Conservationfinalizes an Environmental Impact Statement it has been crafting since 2008. In addition, the legislation directs a SUNY school of public health to complete a full study of the health impacts of fracking before it moves forward. Like many in Albany, lobbyists were split on the issue. “The Assembly’s passage today of a two-year moratorium on fracking … is exactly the right approach and will ensure this process occurs as it should – by getting answers before making a decision,” said Katherine Nadeau, water and natural resources program director for the Environmental Advocates of New York. But business groups, like the Business Council of New York State, weren’t as happy with the Assembly as their environmental counterparts. “To those members who supported this moratorium, we say, for the past four years substantial state resources have been dedicated to the scientific review of shale gas extractions, it is time to listen to science and not to emotion and reject unnecessary delay.” said Heather Briccetti, president and CEO of The Business Council of New York State. “There are very few opportunities available with the samejob creating potential as the exploration and development of shale gas. Actions like today’s vote hinder constructive dialogue that will provide a pathway to the safe and sustainable development of shale gas which can help to transform New York’s economy.” Patricia Els, president of Farmingdale-based Advanced Waste & Water Technology, also called the move “shortsighted.” “I just don’t believe that they’re thinking all of this through, and the benefits that fracking could have for the overall economy,” said Els, whose company offers mobile wastewater-treatment units, commonly used at fracking sites. “I don’t know if [Gov. Andrew] Cuomo will actually act upon this and put it into law. It seems very silly to me that on the Pennsylvania border, Pennsylvanians are benefiting from the fracking industry, but people farming next door in the southern tier of New York can’t benefit from the same industry.”

Friday, March 1, 2013

SCLOC Thanks Victor Furman

New York Needs Natural Gas, the People Need Natural Gas 2013 February 11 by EID Guest Blogger . Victor Furman Chenango County Landowner As a resident in the area activists call the “frack zone” or “sacrifice area” nothing makes me more angry than what Governor Cuomo is doing to New York with his indecisive leadership which I hope the whole country will remember should he make a run for the oval office in 2016. I’m from Chenango County and I am an avid supporter of natural gas development and urging Governor Cuomo to pass natural gas now! Here in Upstate New York, mostly in the Southern Tier, we have been losing jobs by the thousands since the early 1980. We have seen many businesses close and jump ship. There are dozens but to name a few, IBM in Endicott (11,000 jobs), Buckbe Myers (2,000 jobs), Singer Link (5,000 jobs with more than half being high paid engineers), Singer Sewing (700 jobs moved to Mexico), Krohler Furniture and EJ-Shoes. In fact, the trend has been happening for so long its hard to think any business would even want to move into the area. The only business currently thriving in Broome County, New York is SUNY Binghamton; everything else is strip malls and fast food joints leaving our children with only one option when they finish school, leave New York to find a job in whatever field they studied. We push kids to continue their education by attending college only to build their skills and let them leave to other states across the country. Every time Governor Cuomo delays the release of natural gas regulations he empowers the activist, making them think they have more control over the decision, and he leaves landowners feeling defeated by the broken promises that line up like the Southern Tier poor at food banks. I ask myself and I ask Governor Cuomo this question, “Why in the 5 1/2 years that the brown water jug that has made so many trips to Albany has outspoken activist and legislator Barbara Lifton, not confiscated the jug of brown water, to test and confirm there are hydraulic fracturing materials in it? Why hasn’t anybody taken that brown water jug stage prop from actor Mark Ruffalo in the name of knowledge and tested it? Why?” It was right there in Albany held high for all to see and it should have been taken to test. Well, the Environmental Protection Agency did test the source of brown water in that jug, right from Craig and Julie Saunter’s home. The Sautner’s, for those who don’t know, are a couple living in Dimock, PA. who sued Cabot Oil and Gas for $5 million. The Environmental Protection Agency reported that Dimock, Pennsylvania water was safe to drink, including the infamous Sautner well. Why is that you ask? Because there were no traces of contamination from natural gas development. Which leads to another question. How much are these delays costing New York and New Yorkers? Besides the hundreds of millions in lost tax revenue and tens of thousands of lost jobs, there is a sad, personal loss that many do not consider. Every time Governor Cuomo fails to release the regulations the decision affects thousands in the Southern Tier. Two of my friends have died from heart attacks caused, in part, by the stress of Governor Cuomo’s indecisiveness. One friend was returning from a pro-gas rally in Albany, the other just hours after a heated meeting in Sidney, New York. Another good friend is losing their home and farm because they can’t pay New York taxes any longer after her husband became ill. I too am in financial trouble not yet coming up with the tax money for my home as I only make $21,000 a year after losing my job when IBM closed in Endicott, New York. Before losing that job I made $58,000 a year. However, without job times are tough as high property taxes and other necessities often drain my resources leaving little to spare. For example, my property taxes are $6,000, my 2008 truck costs me $3,000 a year and my mortgage is $4,800. After doing the math you can see I have roughly $7,200 a year to live on. Of course, you’d never know that from listening to the opposition. They often refers to us as “greedy landowners” who don’t care about anything but an easy buck. As you can see from my story, often times nothing is further from the truth. Many of us are fifth generation land owners who just happen to live in the highest taxed state in the country. We see natural gas development as an opportunity to keep our farms for the next 5 generations. Our land could give back to us what New York State taxes are taking away. Governor Cuomo: Read this and know that your decision will be responsible for the improved or reduced livelihoods of thousands of Upstate New Yorkers who see how natural gas development has improved the lives of their neighbors in Pennsylvania. Interestingly, its done exactly that, transformed livelihoods for the better without the gloom and doom the anti-development community in New York has forecasted.

Keystone XL and New York Fracking Delays

David Blackmon, Contributor Commentary on public policy issues affecting the oil and gas industry Energy | 2/28/2013 Keystone XL and New York Fracking Delays - "Mass Hysteria!" You really have to give the anti-development movement credit: It has been extremely effective in sowing indecision, uncertainty, and media-fed hype about some of the most benign, safe, and effectively-regulated industrial processes and projects this country has ever seen. The two most obvious current examples are the ongoing, seemingly endless, indecision by Governor Andrew Cuomo and his regulators on whether to allow natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing in New York State, and the ongoing, seemingly endless, indecision by the Obama Administration about whether to allow the construction of the northern leg of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. In both instances, we have chief executives dithering like fiddling Neros, unable to make what in a sane world would be complete no-brainer decisions in their efforts to pander to a small group of radical anti-development activists, whose “leadership” of b-list actors and crackpots like to sit in trees to obstruct pipeline projects or chain themselves to the fence in front of the White House in order to get arrested before fawning TV coverage. It is truly quite a special achievement in the realm of obstructing human progress. Were there an awards ceremony for this sort of activity, these celebrities and activists would be strutting down the red carpet, and Joan Rivers would be critiquing their clothing choices. As it is, they must come by the attention they crave in more difficult, unorthodox ways. Take the case of Keystone XL: This is a project that would create thousands of well-paying jobs, and which has been through the most stringent regulatory pre-approval process to which any proposed pipeline has ever been subjected. In its 10,000 page Environmental Impact Statement, the State Department – which has final approval authority over the project – admits that Keystone XL “would have a degree of safety greater than any typically constructed domestic oil pipeline system under current regulations and a degree of safety along the entire length of the pipeline system that would be similar to that required in high consequence areas as defined in the regulations.” Scary emissions numbers related to the Canadian Tar Sands oil Keystone XL would carry trumpeted by activist groups like NRDC have little credibility. And they would be irrelevant to the debate in any event, given the fact that this oil will be produced regardless, and it will either be refined and used in the United States or – as the Canadian government has made crystal clear – in China, where refining and emissions standards pale in comparison to U.S. standards. Obviously, the Earth’s environment will be far better off if the oil is refined and used in the United States. Also, if the oil is to be used in the US, transporting it to refineries via the Keystone XL pipeline is far preferable from an emissions and safety standpoint than the only viable alternative, which is by rail. If these anti-development activists were truly concerned about the environment rather than the simple obstruction of human progress, they would be climbing trees and chaining themselves to fences in SUPPORT of Keystone XL. So too goes the absurdly hyperbolic debate over allowing hydraulic fracturing in New York State. Despite all the media hysteria ginned up in recent years about the “Fracking” boogeyman, hydraulic fracturing has been around for 67 years, and is without question one of the safest and most effectively regulated industrial processes this nation has ever known. Were Governor Cuomo’s decision-making process based on facts and sound science, a decision in favor of allowing hydraulic fracturing would have been made years ago as a matter of sound public policy. Instead, the decision-making process has dragged on interminably and has come to be dominated by baseless fright scenarios and petty, largely partisan political considerations. This is too bad, since a state whose unemployment rate still lags the national average could really use the thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic impact that would be generated by development of the portion of the prolific Marcellus Shale formation that underlies much of the southwestern quarter of the state. The main fright scenario used by the anti-development activists has been to gin up fear about the supposed possibility that “fracking” poses a threat to New York City’s unfiltered supply of drinking water. Like so much of the nonsense these groups put out, this scenario is irrelevant, given that the most promising areas of the Marcellus lie outside of the recharge zone for this water supply. The truth is that this is an area of New York that desperately needs the economic development and jobs the Marcellus would bring. If you want to know how desperate, you don’t have to believe me – you can read this piece by Chenango County landowner Victor Furman, one of many thousands of New Yorkers whose personal welfare is being negatively impacted by these activists and the lingering indecision of the Cuomo Administration. Neighboring Pennsylvania’s economy has vastly out-performed New York’s since 2008 for one simple reason: Pennsylvania’s then-Governor Ed Rendell, a Democrat like Gov. Cuomo, did not dither and did not pander to radical anti-development activists when it came to the development of the Marcellus Shale in his state. The lesson for New York should be clear, but continues to be obscured in the disinformational fog generated by these activist groups. It all reminds one of the famous scene from Ghostbusters where Aykroyd, Murray and Ramis warn that fictional New York City Mayor of what will befall the City of he doesn’t use their services: “Fire and brimstone raining down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling! Forty years of darkness! Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together…mass hysteria!” Trouble is, this isn’t a movie comedy, despite the involvement of all these b-list celebrities. This is real life, and public policy delays that are negatively impacting the livelihoods of millions of Americans. Seldom has so much bad public policy been generated over so little by so few. You really do have to give these enviro-troglodyte activists a lot of credit.