NY state leaders push gambling as means for economic-develop, while actively working to impede job-creating, prosperity-generating clean natural gas production

Like many other states facing budget shortfalls and rising unemployment, New York’s fiscal troubles are daunting. Unfortunately, rather than focusing on safely and effectively and safely accessing clean-burning natural gas in the state’s Marcellus Shale region – which, according to a recent study, would create 16,000 good-paying jobs, $793 million in wages, and $15.3 billion in total economic output in tiny Broome Co. alone – state leaders are focusing on … gambling.

According to today’s Elmira Star Gazette:

  • “With the state’s ongoing fiscal problems, Gov. David Paterson is renewing a push to allow Indian casinos in the Catskills, a long-stalled project that would boost revenue for the state and the region. Paterson’s aides and federal officials, including Sen. Charles Schumer and Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-Hurley, Ulster County, met Wednesday with Larry EchoHawk, head of the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs, in Sullivan County hopes of getting federal approval to build three casinos in the Catskills.”

A spokesperson for the governor added this:

  • “There will be a renewed effort to rally stakeholders and make the case publicly that this is in the best interest of the state’s economy and specifically for economic-development efforts in the region.”

And while the governor has taken a step in the right direction toward increasing clean-burning natural gas production, if he and his administration, and the state’s congressional delegation were serious about closing the budget shortfall, safely delivering affordable, reliable energy to New Yorkers, and creating jobs at a time when they’re most needed, they would oppose the DeGette-Casey-Hinchey anti-fracking legislation and move forward quickly with a plan to access the state’s sea of clean natural gas.

The public understands this, and their voices are starting to be heard. This past weekend, according the Press & Bulletin,

  • “About 2,000 people gathered in Bainbridge on Sunday afternoon to urge state officials to allow energy companies to drill for natural gas in their backyards. With hundreds of millions of dollars on the line, landowners, bankers, lawyers and gas industry representatives filed into General Clinton Park and fanned out across the sprawling grounds along the Susquehanna River. Volunteers set up tables, collecting signatures on letters to federal representatives, including U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-Hurley. The lobbying effort opposes the Frack Act, legislation to tighten federal regulations on hydraulic fracturing, also called fracking. The controversial process stimulates well production by shooting millions of gallons of chemical solutions into the ground to fracture bedrock and release natural gas.”

Unlike many of their representatives, these thousands of working-class New Yorkers understand that the process used to access and produce natural gas from shale – hydraulic fracturing – is safe, reliable, well-regulated and environmentally sensible.

And as we mark the 150th Anniversary of energy production here in America today, the technological advancements made over the past century and a half have been overwhelming. The Mountaineer State’s Wetzel Chronicle highlights these advancements today in article, specifically horizontal drilling methods and hydraulic fracturing:

  • “A common sight in the 1800’s in Wetzel County and the state of West Virginia, tall oil derricks doting the county side, are now being replaced by the new technology of drilling in the 21st century. … With the Marcellus Shale in the area as the next big natural gas shale basin, great-grandfathers of the past oil drilling boom days would shake their heads in disbelief of this new way of drilling for natural gas, horizontally. Horizontal drilling is the process of drilling a well from the surface down to targeted gas bearing formations, then turning the wellborne horizontal and continuing to drill sideways while staying within the formation.”
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