Friday, June 7, 2013

SCLOC Thanks Jeff Heller for His Excellent Comments

What the heck just happened in New York State ? Here we sit on top of one or two of the richest shale plays in the world, and all we're doing is watching all the other states (roughly thirty !) take advantage of their opportunities. You can't even pretend that the explanation for New York's plight is scientific, or based on history in the other states. That history proves , beyond any shadow of a doubt, that hydraulic fracturing is safe. "Safe" defined here as safe enough that it is idiotic to define it otherwise. Much the same as driving a car is "safe", that does not mean that it is totally risk free. It means that the benefits outweigh the risks. It would be idiotic to refuse to take a job that would provide a much better living for your family only because you felt driving to work was not "safe". In effect, this is exactly what the "environmentalists" and liberal politicians are doing on natural gas drilling in New York. Why is New York the only state that is not taking advantage of its shale play ? Is New York the only place in the country where, for some special reason, it is unsafe to drill?Are we to believe that all the other states that are drilling have no concern for the environment ? The "environmentalists" would have you believe that all those states are experiencing massive devastation. There is no evidence to support those charges from any state environmental agency, or the EPA ! We all know the "environmentalists" live on half-truths or flagrant non-truths ( some less politically correct would say lies ). The ultimate proof of this is what they have managed to do to make "Fracking" the new ultimate curse word . This has been an extremely effective campaign - and all with no responsible scientific proof or objective historic evidence. In fact, or in truth, hydraulic fracturing has never , repeat never, been verified as a cause of any form of water pollution. Even the EPA , which has tried valiantly to prove it has, has had to back off in its three attempts to associate fracturing with water pollution. The behavior of the "environmentalists", the media, and the liberal politicians on this subject has been nothing short of sickening ! For those of us who are "recovering environmentalists" their behavior has been criminal - they have stolen our best chance for a fairly rapid economic recovery here in the Southern Tier. The motivation of the "environmentalists" you can, at least to some degree, understand. They intend to protect Mother Earth from the ultimate villain - MAN! These are the folks who believe Al Gore is a scientist and Yoko Ono is an artist ! The liberal politicians are a little harder to explain - but only a little. Their ultimate goal in their political career is to get reelected. ( You probably thought it was "public service"!) In New York, unlike even California and Illinois, liberals are convinced the votes and the money are with the "environmentalists". By tradition liberals are supposed to represent the working man - and woman ! Gas drilling would bring thousands of jobs, tax revenue to support entitlement programs, tax revenue for other tax burdens (schools, roads, services,etc.) cheaper energy for lowering heating costs, and lower energy costs to encourage the growth of industry and industrial jobs in our area - all of this well proven as close as Pennsylvania . Thousands of New Yorkers can literally see that prosperity from their front porches. But our liberal politicians who are supposed to represent the interests of those working New Yorkers are choosing instead to support the likes of Yoko Ono ! Natural gas from the Marcellus Shale has the potential to lower heating costs in New York City significantly - a huge savings for every single person who has to heat something! So why in the world are these liberal politicians more concerned about Yoko Ono than New York's working stiffs ? The answer to that is that todays New York Democratic Party is not the Democratic Party of a few decades ago. They still pay lip service to the working class, but when they have to choose between jobs and Yoko Ono it's all over! How sad is that? For the blue collar worker, how infuriating is that? It should be enough to create a whole new wave of what was once called "Reagan Democrats." In fact, in view of all the damage these "environmentalists" and their liberal supporters are doing to our state, it should create a tidal wave! The Manhattan Institute has just released a report (5/13) stating that the moratorium in New York has, or will, cost the Southern Tier counties as much as $8 Billion (yes that's a "B") in four years. Those numbers actually seem conservative. With New York's infrastructure (Roads, Railroads, Pipelines) so much better than northern Pennsylvania's it's fairly safe to assume that had New York started drilling in 08, when Pa. did, we would have experienced at least as much economic activity as Pa. has over the last five years. In fact, with our Title V in our tax code, and nothing like it in Pennsylvania, our counties, towns, and school districts would have benefited even more than Pa.'s have! Some state propaganda agency is currently running commercials on TV saying how great the business climate is in New York. 'We're adding tens of thousands of jobs and new businesses.' 'The Yogurt industry is going to pull the Southern Tier out of it's poor economic state' - that last one from our Governor! Here in Steuben County our unemployment rate is "down" to 12% - and still climbing! Is there really anybody out there who believes this kind of hogwash ( no insult intended to hogs) from our state leaders? A recent national poll of businessmen placed New York last (that's 50th) as a location for business. Is it possible that businessmen from around the country see something our Governor is not seeing? It's hard to say how much these "environmentalists" and liberal politicians have really cost us here in New York. Besides all of the lost revenue since 08 we have to consider the long range harm they have done. There is a line of thinking that the gas companies now have very little interest in New York State. The political atmosphere here is worse than in any other state- even worse then California! This represents an absolutely amazing situation. In many ways New York is the worst state in the Union. The "environmentalists" are excited about this! They wear it on their sleeves like a badge of honor! They are absolutely giddy about being the cause of so much misery for so many people! Is there any hope for improvement in the situation here in New York - especially here in the Southern Tier? As long as we live under the principal of " one man, one vote", we are probably in a hopeless political reality. The five percent or so of the state's land mass that includes New York city, will always outvote, and therefore control, the 95% or so of the rest of the state. Secession is almost certainly out of the question, and that would be the only realistic way for upstate residents to get out from under the domination of the urban liberals. In a very real political sense they are from Mars and we are from Venus. On a state - wide level there could be some hope that the Democratic Party could move far enough left that they lose more and more of their "working stiff" base. The Democratic Party has always been perceived as the party of labor - and it still fundamentally is today. Today however, many of those liberals will side with the " environmentalists" over labor every time. The Keystone Pipeline on the national level, and gas drilling in New York state, are prefect examples of this. As more and more evidence accumulates on the benefits of gas drilling in other states more and more blue collar Democrats are going to convert to the other side. It is possible the Democratic Party could move back towards the center - much as it did under the DLC and Bill Clinton. However, there is really no sign of that happening now - especially here in New York. Cuomo now stands totally alone among Democratic leaders nationally in his opposition to hydraulic fracturing. We can only conclude that Governor Cuomo prefers to sacrifice a huge section of his state for the support of Yoko Ono! The most effective area where the residents of the Southern Tier, and upstate in general, can have some effect on their destiny is in local elections. In the county and town level elections we must, repeat must, learn to vote in our own interests. These are the elections that traditionally get the smallest turn-outs. This must change! These low turn-out rates enable the "environmentalists" to win elections they really should not be winning. Too many of our "working stiffs" feel they don't have the time to vote, or that their votes are not important. This is fatal to our, or their, interests. You must get out to vote. You must work on everyone you know who shares your values, to get out to vote. Local elections are often won or lost by very small margins - sometimes by a dozen or fewer votes. For the lack of a very few votes in your local elections you can lose your hopes for economic improvement! It' s that simple. You must vote for your interests. It takes as few as three votes ( yes 3 votes!) on a town board to destroy your hopes - and your rights. If you are a land owner and three board members vote for a ban or a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, you just lost all your mineral rights! Three "environmentalists" just took away all your mineral rights. If it comes down to New York saying they are going to allow drilling, but only in the towns that want it, your local town elections become critical. So far there is a tendency for the bans and moratoriums to be outside the area where drilling would occur. However, every town that passes a ban or moratorium in an area surrounded by towns that favor gas drilling has an effect on those other towns - and it's not good! Previously state law prevented towns from interfering with any gas extraction approved by the state. However, recent judicial decisions appear to be overturning state law. New York may soon be the only state in the Union allowing a small minority of towns to destroy the economic opportunities of all their neighbors. "Welcome to New York!" Jeff Heller - President SCLOC Steuben County Land Owners Coalition

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