Appalachian Basin

Energize Upstate Now! Hundreds Gather Across New York.

The New York State DEC comment period on the SGEIS officially ended Wednesday, January 12, 2012.  Concluding this drawn out process on a positive note, a broad coalition of landowners, business, labor and political leaders participated in simultaneous rallies around the state, calling on the governor to “Energize Upstate Now!”  These rallies took place along the Rt. 88 corridor in Corning, Candor, Binghamton, Oneonta and Albany drawing out hundreds of concerned citizens who left their farms and workplaces to show strong support for natural gas development (though you wouldn’t know it sometimes from press reports).  Upstate New York is energized!

Thanks to the efforts of numerous landowner coalitions; in particular the JLCNY, CNY, Tioga, Vestal, and Steuben groups; Energize Upstate Now was a tremendous success.

Crowded Room in Binghamton for "Energize Upstate Now!"

Before I highlight the press conferences individually, let me address the opposition. Normally ,an undertaken of this magnitude – showing support for the governor and the DEC – would be met by a ton of scrutiny from numerous anti-gas websites but, surprisingly, nothing much happened!   There were only lackluster efforts to protest Energize Upstate Now.  The usual dozen or so suspects showed up at Binghamton and chose to occupy the sidewalk abutting the Holiday Inn – video found here. There were also reports of a few noisemakers in Albany, but not enough to make a difference. We have a few theories as to why this happened but we would like your input. Click here to take a one question survey on Facebook.  Could our friends on the other side be losing steam?

But, enough about these naysayers, and on to more important things; here is an in-depth look at each of the very successful conferences:


This rally took place in the heart of Binghamton, just across the street from the City Council chambers where lame-duck politicians voted to ban natural gas development less than a month ago. While this hearing could have taken place in the neighboring township of Vestal, participants felt it was important to make a statement at Binghamton, the site of some pretty silly maneuvers in the last few weeks. Click here for Fox 40 News Coverage. The moderator, Ron Szymanki (Dryden Safe Energy Coalition) kept things moving brilliantly throughout and Neil Guiles (Vestal Asphalt and BK Energy Services) delivered a very motivating account of what business could expect from Marcellus shale. He knows since his companies employes dozens of New Yorkers who participate in Marcellus shale development across the neighboring Northern Tier of Pennsylvania.

Julie Lewis, a Broome County Legislator, spoke on behalf of peoples’ rights. Enzo Oliveri (Nathanael Greene’s Pub) pumped up the crowd like only he could do; calling on the Governor to do what’s right.  Chris Lacey (Chengo Landowner) delivered the most heartfelt address of the day, focusing on how she has became an activist for her family, livelihood, and upstate NY. Chris’s address can be found here.  Aaron Price (Director of Gas Odyssey) and Vic Furman (JLCNY), two very outspoken pro-gas activists, also presented. The videos found below are just a sample of yesterday’s events. For more quality coverage check out our YouTube page!

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Nestled between Corning and Binghamton, this press conference offered the voices of those often passed over by the media – rural New York farmers.  Over the last 4 years, the media have given more attention to much smaller anti-gas rallies in places such as Ithaca and Cortland, while ignoring Tioga County landowners meetings, which draw an average of 300 people. That is why the Tioga County Landowners Coalition jumped at the opportunity to participate in the Energize Upstate Now movement.

The speakers for this event included: Doug Barton, Tioga County Director of Economic Development & Planning, who discussed the possibility of $200,000 of school tax revenue generated from just one marcllus well; Tracy Marisa, a member of the Dryden Safe Energy Coalition, speaking on behalf of the many landowners in that area who have had their rights illegally infringed upon; Kevin Frisbie, President of the Tioga County Farm Bureau; and Hank Ferris of the Tioga Landowner Coalition, whose story particularly resonated with the audience, as he once was a farmer who now drives a water truck for the natural gas industry in Pennsylvania.  Jim Signs, owner of Power and Paddle, also spoke about his business growth from selling safety clothing and equipment. Below, is some amateur video taken from the event.


Quality speakers on this day were not in short supply, especially in Oneonta. Here, ten unique speakers discussed the positive effects of natural gas exploration while balancing the serious and often unintended consequences of home rule laws. For more information on issues with home rule, please read this from the JLCNY.  As Dick Downey, of the Unatega Landowners Association, stated, much of Upstate New York is dying economically and many people graduate high schools and leave forever.  School enrollments have severely declined across Upstate New York.  Below are a few videos from the event including Sue Dorsey (Vice President of JLCNY), Wayne Colley, Attorney Zaengle and John Payne (Payne’s Cranes).  Some 13o people attended the Oneonta event, the largest of the day.

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Karen Moreau of the Land and Liberty Foundation, served as emcee and set the tone with a safe and responsible natural gas development message.  In her speech, she advocated moving forward without further delay to open a stringent and proper regulatory environment. John Felmy (economist) cited several studies of job projections and issued a message of urgency that New York must engage the industry before it’s too late.  He branded anti-gas zealots as the 1% trying to prevent a huge opportunity from happening for the other 99% – the rank and file citizens who will benefit from natural gas development.

Felmy mentioned that, as a native of Pennsylvania, he sees the positive development and the growth of every area in the Marcellus Shale play.  He said he sees something in the Commonwealth that he did not see as a child – help wanted signs.  He wants that opportunity for New York as well. Assemblyman Cliff Crouch attended join the conference last minute and made an excellent case for moving forward.  He advocated for a proper regulatory structure but was clear that the state has an obligation to move forward. Imagine this, Rep. Crouch even spoke about  his discussions and visits with Pennsylvania counterparts. Perhaps, just perhaps, if more legislators in New York took time to actually visit Pennsylvania, press conferences like “Energize Upstate Now” would not be needed.

Dan Fitzsimmons delivers thousands of comments to Albany

Next, Greg Lancette spoke passionately about the fact he has 25,000 members of the pipe trades who are up to the task of building this industry.  He made the point that his members are the ones who already build the water and sewer infrastructure and noted how many of his “guys” are already building pipe-fittings and compressor and transfer technology for use in Pennsylvania.  He dismissed naysayers and stated confidence in his workforce to build facilities that are safe.

Organic farmers, Kate Watson and Bernadette Ortensi joined in the conference after taking the day of to drive to Albany.  They both spoke eloquently on their journey to learn about natural gas.  They spoke to the safety, cost savings and clean energy advantages of natural gas.  Both emphasized their farming operations require large amounts of energy and that natural gas is cleaner, more relaible and more affordable than any alternative energy sources. Finally, Dave Hamling , the President of the New York Construction Materials Association, closed out the meeting by speaking in detail to the ancillary benefits to supplier, vendor and support industries.

Following this press conference, executive members of the JLCNY and Clean Growth Now delivered over ten thousand pro-gas comments to the State.


The final hearing of the day took place in Corning Natural Gas’s Blue Flame room. This event was moderated by John Bloise (attorney for the Steuben County Land Owners Coalition) who also spoke on the importance of facts. For instance, Pennsylvania has already seen tremendous growth with 300,000 jobs created and another 212,000 anticipated.  Other speakers included Mike German (CEO of Corning Natural Gas) who focused on Cornings 100+ year history of “supplying local gas to local people.” Today the company currently receives some of its supply from across the border in Pennsylvania, but could greatly see the price of natural gas decrease if New York opens for business.

Michael Morrongiello (landowner) suggested everyone read the New York State Association of Counties report entitled, “The Gathering Storm” because it contained scary information about the financial and energy future of New York. He characterized natural gas opposition as being without fact or substance. He likened them to an oft-quoted comment about lawyers – “if you have the facts, ague the facts; if you have the law, argue the law; if you have neither, throw food.”  He said “the anti’s are throwing food.”

Ray Walsh, Mayor of Addison, New York, has been in office for over 12 years. He said “opportunities don’t go away, they get passed to somebody else. We cannot afford to let the opportunity of natural gas development go away. It can be done responsibly. This is about jobs and cheaper energy. The Village of Addison is looking forward to both!”

Once again, Energize Upstate Now was a tremendous success and the perfect way to close out the SGEIS comment period. Our entire EID Marcellus team extends a thank you to all those involved and, especially, the many landowners who participated.

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