Sunday, September 15, 2013

Jeff's OP-ED Hits it out of The Park

To the editor: I had stopped reading Mr. Mantius a long time ago. His articles are so lacking in the truth element that I felt it wasn't worth getting "cranked up" about them. However, some of my "friends" felt "someone" should respond to his 9/4 article. I had to run down to The Ranch to get a paper - the suburbs of Bradford being too far out for carrier delivery. When I saw the size of the print over his article, by far the boldest I have seen in over fifty years of reading editorials, I knew this one was going to be "good". "... energy industry bent on setting its own rules." That's interesting - I thought all those regulations were finalized by legislatures or environmental departments. Who would have known! "... we can expect an array of deep pockets to submit novel, sophisticated new rationales for why the state's home rule principle needs to be dumped to serve the gas drillers." Besides the valid interest of the drillers there is the "minor" issue of property rights. More specifically, the mineral rights of all the landowners in the state. I recently read "The Founding Conservatives" and was reminded, once again, of how important property rights were to our founders - both the "Radicals" and the "Conservatives" of the day. (See also "The Federalist Papers" if you have any doubts on the importance of property rights.) When a town passes a total ban on gas drilling they are taking away the mineral rights of all the landowners, and probably more important, the rights of landowners well beyond their town. All the other states, and New York up to now, realize the gas industry cannot function in an area that is divided into areas that do, and areas that do not, support gas drilling. I'm fairly sure that this is EXACTLY what Mr. Mantius and his allies want! "Could the DEC possibly make it any more clear that accommodating industry is a higher priority than concerning the environment?" Well, let's see. New York is preceded in allowing hydrofracing by only about thirty states (thirty one if you count California and Illinois). I'm not sure I see the validity of Mr. Mantius's point if we are the last state to allow the process, and the only state sitting on top of a significant shale play not allowing it. For some of us that is proof of the exact opposite - that New York is overly concerned about the "environment". Actually we all like to think we are concerned about the environment - it's just that some of us are more realistic, or honest, than others. For the environmentalists, in the words of one of their heroes - Josh Fox - "the truth is irrelevant". You've got to love that concept! Oops - I forgot, they do! Let's face it - this is totally a political issue in New York. The history, the valid science, the honest experiences of all the other states ( even with the surface accidents - to be expected) lead all of them to continue to allow drilling. New York just missed the train - all the jobs and revenue benefits have gone elsewhere. What a sad day for New York! The track we're on now will someday let us say "Detroit was first!" The lack of support for drilling (the strength of the environmentalist lobby) is only one part of this - but it is a significant part. Drilling was really by far the most realistic hope for the Southern Tier for economic revival - period! We need to thank Mr. Mantius and all his allies for what they have done for (or is it "to") our area. Jeff Heller

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