A Natural Gas March to the Capitol
About one thousand people spent the day in Albany expressing their support of natural gas outside Governor Cuomo’s office through signs and speeches on Monday. The rally was a great success with the message to, “Put New Yorker’s back to work, let’s start permitting natural gas,” at the forefront.
Approximately 1,000 people traveled up to Albany, New York to show their support for natural gas in New York on Monday. The group assembled, displayed signs and spoke out to show Governor Andrew Cuomo the overwhelming support for natural gas development among upstate landowners and residents. Everyone listened to several speakers discuss the critical role natural gas in New York State’s future, including messages from several elected officials, and then all marched on the capitol.
Debbie Preston Is Not Afraid to Take a Stand
Broome County Executive, Debbie Preston, was the first to speak. Preston has been a strong supporter of natural gas since she ran for election in Broome County last November. This year she is running against an opponent who is against natural gas development in Broome County and in New York State, putting the issue out front during a decision period on the SGEIS. Preston demonstrated she understands the positive impact natural gas could have on her county. She sees the number of jobs natural gas could bring to her county and what it will do for the economy of the region. Watch her speech below.
Remembering Those No Longer With Us
The next to speak was a local farmer, Connie Lull. She touchingly based her presentation on the sad truth many people have passed away in the last four years with the hope natural gas would come to New York. There was just a brief list read of people who have passed away waiting and fighting for natural gas for four years and never got to enjoy it in New York State. They passed away after fighting for years for their property rights, passing before they had the opportunity to see these rights restored.
Noel Van Swol
What Connie could not have known when giving such a thoughtful speech, was that we would lose yet another so soon after the rally. On the way home last night, Noel Van Swol, a highly respected and well-known advocate for property rights in New York, suffered a heart attack and lost control of his vehicle. It is with heavy hearts that we say good-bye to this literal and figurative giant, a man who defended the landowners of Sullivan County, New York in their fight to bring natural gas development to the state. Tom knew and worked with Noel for nearly 40 years, and although the rest of our team only had the privilege of meeting him in more recent years, he will be greatly missed by all of us. Here are some things people have said in memory of him today.
I won’t ever forget that he spent his last hours on earth to rally for our cause. Requiescat in pace.
My thoughts also go out to the family. What a shame and shock. He was a spirited guy who fought for what he believed in. Thank God he was on our side.
This is very sad and our sympathies go out to his family. He was a strong fighter for things he believed in.
My thoughts and prayers go out to his family…he looked like he wanted to sleep after the march. Hard to swallow especially after the memorial yesterday to all that passed away during the moratorium. His death should not be forgotten and a rallying cry to those who were there yesterday. People are now dying trying to preserve their rights.
He was a long-time friend and loyal opposition to much of what I did over the years. It was great to be on the same side at the end!
In tribute we would like to share some of the work he indirectly contributed to our site, which does not even begin to scratch the surface of his efforts throughout New York state and the Delaware River Commission Basin.
Noel van Swol spoke last and eloquently. He mentioned he attended the meeting to speak for the Sullivan-Delaware Property Association in support of natural gas exploration. He mentioned a Wall Street Journal article indicating there were no health issues in the million wells that have been hydraulically fractured over the last sixty years. The anti-natural gas crowd harassed him and Bruce Ferguson burst out in childish laughter but Noel is no slouch and is accustomed to going against the second-home grain. Watch him in action in the video below. (Callicoon, July 2012)
In reference to the Millennium Pipeline compressor station in Hancock, New York, June 2012:
Noel van Swol asked what it would sound like and of course Bruce [Ferguson] jumped in to answer (22:20). He said it would sound like a dishwasher and wants to know where the compensation for the noise would come from. Oh my gosh! A dishwasher! Call me cynical but I would love to ask how many people in the audience have a dishwasher in their homes. Does that interrupt them when the watch TV? Do the dishwasher companies compensate their consumers because of the noise? It’s certainly food for thought, and as Tom would say, “there ought to be a law!”
Noel VanSwol spoke wonderfully, stating his support for natural gas development. He discussed how those on either side of the fence should come to a compromise. Noel argues that there are ways to protect areas that are developed for production and counters the argument made by others that Bethel Woods and White Lake would no longer be an attractive place for people to visit. Among all the things he brought up in his statement, he also talks about the lawsuits the town could face. Let’s not forget what happened in Afton, NY, Chenango County. The board approved a highway preservation law, Local Law 3, which was discriminatory. This law was repealed, costing Afton a total of approximately $4,000 of their $7,500 annual legal budget, as Earl Colley reported. (Bethel, August 2011–Rachael’s first meeting ever with Bill and Nicole)
Delaware River Basin Commission Hearing on XTO water withdrawal permit application, Deposit, June 2011:
It saddens us that Noel will not be around to see the goals he worked so hard to accomplish become a reality in coming months, but we know he has gone on to a better place. May he rest in peace. Our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family.
Uni Blake Talks Public Health
Uni Blake spoke next and said she felt obligated to call out the state. She said there are public health concerns today and they exist because people are not able to afford health care. Allowing natural gas development would put people back to work and enable them to afford proper health care. She discussed the biggest opponents, coming from New York City, live in an area where air pollution is horrible and the health of children is poor. She also talked about the poverty level in Otsego County. Watch her whole presentation below.
Susan Dorsey Discusses Property Taxes
Sue Dorsey followed Uni in her speech. Dorsey mentioned the ever increasing property taxes. Why can the property taxes increase while landowners are banned from using their property? She noted the taxes aren’t in a moratorium, but the land is. She told the audience the government is trying to satisfy people who will never be satisfied. How would the government like it if their assets were frozen with no end in sight? Upstate New York is land rich and cash poor, Dorsey said. How can we afford to leave our land rights up to a small town board? Watch her whole video below.
New York Assemblyman Cliff Crouch Is Not Afraid to Take a Stand
Assemblyman Cliff Crouch spoke in support of natural gas. He grew up on a farm and appreciates the hardships farmers face especially when it comes to keeping up with the increasing taxes. He understands how farmers hope to pass their farms down to their kids and grandchildren. Today this dream is being threatened. He has gone and spoken with other states where natural gas development is taking place to educate himself and try to see what the process is all about. The people he has spoken with told him what he believes to be the truth; that they haven’t experienced the problems speculated by the opposition. Watch his whole video below.
Binghamton Holiday Inn Describes the Impact Natural Gas is Already Having
A manager from the Holiday Inn in Binghamton also spoke. She talked about the numerous jobs their hotel has been able to provide to people with the help of natural gas development right over the boarder. The people they have employed are not part of the gas industry, they do not own land, but they have jobs and are now benefiting from natural gas development. Their hotel went from a 30% occupancy rate to a 50% occupancy rate since natural gas development has come to the area.
Local College Student Wants to Have the Opportunity to Stay in New York
A local college student discussed his support of natural gas. He told the crowd he wants to graduate and find a position at home. He doesn’t want to move out of New York State. Natural gas development has turned Pennsylvania’s economy around, we need to let it do the same for New York State, he stated. One letter he read discussed a fish dying in a local stream. There was no evidence connecting it to natural gas development, but it was played off as if they were connected. He addressed this and also discussed our military overseas protecting foreign oil and fuel. Watch his presentation below.
Marching for Landowner Rights
The crowd marched to the Capital after the presentations were done. Everyone gathered around the park right outside of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office. There, Senator Tom Libous spoke in support of natural gas as well. Everyone held up their signs and cheered. You can look through all the great signs sported Monday below.
Please visit our album on Facebook to view all of the videos from the rally.
Everyone was pleased with the turnout at the end of the event. The weather held up and everyone enjoyed their morning. Even though there were over 1,000 people who attended, several people had to miss the event because of work and chores. It proves the supporters of natural gas in New York State are the silent majority. We have a feeling they won’t be silent anymore. The main message they were sending to the governor was to pass the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement and to issue some natural gas permits to save the farms, jobs, and people. Four years is long enough.