Anti Natural Gas Talk is Only Innuendo
Editors Note: This article originally appeared in the Albany Times Union
Bob Poloncic, president of the Vestal Landowners Coalition in Vestal, Broome County, reviews statements made by anti-natural gas activists and finds their claims lack scientific merit.
In one of the presidential debates, Mitt Romney stated he had five boys and was used to people saying something over and over again with the hope that it would come true. It seems Mr. Romney’s boys and New York anti-natural gas activists have something in common.
Multiple opinion articles have been submitted to papers across New York recently opposing natural gas development. These articles include claims that hydraulic fracturing will poison our drinking water, ruin our food supply, and cause a mass exodus of individuals leaving the state.
All of these claims are driven by hysterics, or at the very least theatrics. None are backed by objective facts or research. They amount to personal opinions turned into speculation at the stroke of a pen.
Meanwhile, drilling supporters reference 65 years of the safe use of hydrualic fracturing’s basic technique in applications like natural gas development, geothermal energy, and remediation of Superfund sites by the Environmental Protection Agency. We also reference that three presidential administrations, two Democrat and one Republican, have declared the technology is safe. These statements are supported by regulators in at least 16 states.
This successful history has led to agreement among our state’s past and present political leaders.
In December 2011, former Gov. George Pataki stated: “We must avoid being swayed by opinionated voices that seek to politicize this issue. By applying rigorous analysis and sound science, we can protect our state’s environment and develop a better future for all New Yorkers.”
These remarks are similar to those made by New York City Mayor Bloomberg, who stated, “We can frack safely if we frack sensibly.” That may not make for a great bumper sticker. It does make for good environmental and economic policy.
Yet we New Yorkers, our elected leaders included, are shrugging off the pragmatic approach embodied in these statements and are allowing the theatrics of those on the fringes to drive this debate.
Meanwhile, the thousands of jobs and increased manufacturing activity that have been predicted to come alongside natural gas development remain on the sidelines. As do the quality of life and economic prosperity of the entire Southern Tier, an area that has experienced only economic stagnation for the better part of the last decade.
What is lost in this is the recognition that the opportunity hydraulic fracturing represents is bigger than our personal opinions.
In just the past few years its use has enabled the U.S. to lead the world in carbon emission reductions and has supported over one million jobs. It’s past time to see beyond the innuendo being offered to continue this never-ending debate.
While we’ve been debating, over 5,000 wells have been developed in Pennsylvania. The state is still beautiful, its air quality is improving, and its unemployment rate bests ours by 1.6 percent.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said science should dictate the outcome. The science is clear. It’s time to move forward with natural gas development in New York.