*UPDATE* Anti-Pipeline Madness Rises and Falls In Sidney
One of the latest anti-gas tactics is to call a meeting about pipelines to attract residents and then use these forums to push the tired anti-natural gas development agenda. Groups such as NYRAD, conceptually opposed to natural gas, are determined to stop the towns of Coventry, Bainbridge and Sidney from having a distribution pipeline installed. Why? Simply, because it’s a target of opportunity. Never mind the potential jobs, economic impact and opportunities to secure less expensive and cleaner ways to heat home and supply businesses.
The Friends of Sustainable Sidney recently called such a meeting to inform residents about the the proposed Leatherstocking Gas Company (LGC) distribution system. Propaganda promoting the meeting asserted “the agreement proposed by LGC, a Limited Liability Company, will lock Sidney into a 50-year dependence on fossil fuel.” This organization would like to have you believe it is watching out for the best interest of Sidney but most of the activists involved are from outside the region, hence the term “friends,” rather than “citizens.” These “friends” from Binghamton, Ithaca and elsewhere specialize in hyperbole. A detailed explanation of Leatherstocking Gas Company’s plans is offered by this presentation: Leatherstocking Will Bring Cost-Savings not Marcellus Development.
Chip Northrup was the keynote speaker at the latest event. The sponsors also invited Todd Paternoster to present on alternative energy, and Laurie Buckmaster from un-naturalgas.org presented her extremely distorted view of the industry. Chip Northrup wasn’t particularly helpful to the anti-gas cause the last time out, when he yelled at members of the audience for questioning his presentation. Anti-gas activists further embarrassed themselves by telling everyone Leatherstocking planned to use eminent domain to seize local property and steal rights-of-way. This not only drew corrections from the Leatherstocking representatives but also members of the audience who felt compelled to speak out. A few days later, at public hearings in Coventry and Bainbridge, town residents showed up in force to support the proposed distribution pipeline. Sidney residents provided a similar reaction as these videos reveal:
Please pay particular attention to video number 3.
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Is it just me? Or, is that Chip has no clue what he wass talking about? So far as I can tell, he is neither an engineer nor a geologist and he has no zoning expertise but he pontificates on all these subjects. Nonetheless, given his Wharton MBA, I did expect he might know something about tax structures, but I was disappointed. New York State has one of the most unusual tax structures in place to ensure local municipalities benefit from gas production and one would have thought he would have been familiar with it. New York’s ad valorem tax is levied on the production of a well and ensures all monies generated stay in the affected counties, towns and school districts. For a more detailed explanation check out this slide show by John Holko, a true industry expert on gas development in New York State. Chip was, inexplicably, unaware of this tax and stumbled his way through it. If this is the best expertise the anti-gas obstructionists can muster …well, you get the idea.
As an advocate of solar energy, Todd spent most of the presentation going over the practicality of this alternative energy source. He noted there are different ways to harness solar power. Using solar energy to generate electricity with current technology is only about 14-20% effective and costs make it unpractical. Solar thermal methods, however, harness the sun’s natural energy to heat water and are more efficient. Todd, like Chip, ventured into areas outside his expertise, including future wars, the “current landscape of PA” and water issues. Check out these videos:
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Apparently hoping to avoid embarrassment from the audience asking relevant questions of the speaker, organizers of the event police questions this time, at least from those who did not share similar views. In this video the first speaker tries to make a statement followed by a question. Notice how quickly the moderators try to shut her down and, when she finally gets a question asked, the presenter skips over it. So much for being fair and balanced!
As the final speaker of the night and founder of unnaturalgas.org, Laurie gave the most biased presentation but you’ll get the sense of what she had to say here – pretty sad. Unfortunately, there are no videos of Laurie fielding questions from the audience as the organizers conveniently ended the event ahead of time to ensure no one could criticize her work.
Clearing the Air
Sidney, Bainbridge and Coventry are in a unique position to gain the benefits of a distribution pipeline in their communities. Initially this line will bring natural gas to larger customers and employers such as Amphenol and Meadwestvaco. But the company ultimately plans to sell to the local communities along the line giving them the choice of cheaper cleaner burning natural gas. Please take some time to read this presentation on the proposed Leatherstocking pipeline. (Note any reference to a pipeline route is conceptual in nature). Remember, despite what groups like NYRAD and Friends of Sustainable Sidney say about Leatherstocking Gas Company these truths remain evident:
- Leatherstocking is not a natural gas production company. This project has no impact or relation to possible Marcellus Shale well operations.
- Leatherstocking is not a gathering line. This project seeks natural gas from other, smaller, pre-existing sources.
- Leatherstocking is not an interstate pipeline company, which are much larger, and comparisons to other larger interstate pipelines in the region are not accurate.
- Leatherstocking is not a gas storage company and does not intend to store gas. The project will only deliver gas to residential and industrial companies.
- Leatherstocking is not a processing operation.
The Leatherstocking is an opportunity for three small towns to enjoy the benefits of natural gas. Unfortunately, it is also a target of opportunity for the anti-gas movement. It looks like they’ll be defeated and that’s a good thing, for everyone who lives in these communities.
UPDATE: Check out this takedown of Chip Northrup. We just became aware of it.