Appalachian Basin

It’s No Happy Thanksgiving Gov. Cuomo While You Delay Natural Gas

Bill Owen provides us a copy of a letter he recently sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo in response to the Governor’s Thanksgiving news release to those on his mailing list.  There’s not much to be happy about in Upstate New York, says Owen, because Cuomo has abandoned his rural constituents.

Who am I?  Nobody really, just a citizen tired of seeing the FUD (fear uncertainly and doubt) infect the political arena while jobs and hope flee New York.  Like many of you, I have written many letters to Gov. Cuomo, and as a result my ‘reward’ is to be on his mailing list.

For those of you who received his Thanksgiving news release, the letter below is my response to our governor, who was busy this week getting his picture taken helping downstate folks recover from Hurricane Sandy.


Governor Cuomo Passing Out Turkeys for Victims of Hurricane Sandy in Photo-Op


Dear Governor Cuomo,

Thank you for the Thanksgiving wishes, but here in Upstate (remember us?) we, too, like your downstate constituents, are hurting this season. Despite the 2% tax cap, my school taxes went up 10% this year with no apparent change in the value of my house, the equalization rate, or any other discernable reason. Farmers are worried about keeping their farms in the face of this sort of tax increase.  Endicott Interconnect Technologies has announced more layoffs.  With the looming fiscal cliff, I could lose my job if sequestration occurs and there are cuts to the defense budget.  There is little hope, and we’ve lost faith in you.

Why?  Because despite your promises to let science decide the future of natural gas development in our state, you have demonstrated not leadership, but crass political expediency.  The DEC has invested countless manhours in drafting the most comprehensive, responsible set of regulations that exist anywhere in the United States, including reviews of all the relevant health studies. And then, at the last minute, you decide to cave to the Hollywood crowd and require a review of the health issues by folks with obvious biases.

If you were serious, this could have been announced months ago instead of at the last minute.  Is hobnobbing with a has-been like Yoko Ono or the likes of Lady Gaga (neither of whom have any credentials whatsoever) more important than the constituents you are sworn to represent?  If you were a real leader, you would be as concerned about jobs as you are about social issues such as gay marriage that you elevated to such importance at the outset of your term.

The case for safe natural gas development has been made, but you are ignoring the facts.  I know that one of your objectives is to close down the Indian Point nuclear power plant.  What will that be replaced with? Wind?   It’s very doubtful – the Indian Point plant produces something on the order of 2,000 megawatts of power.  The best technology in wind power is about 2 megawatts of power per turbine. That’s about 1,000 turbines if the wind blows consistently enough for each turbine to produce its rated power.  What would your environmental friends think of the massive clear-cutting to provide that sort of solution?

Solar energy as an alternative is worse yet in terms of disturbance, and the production of solar cells is not without environmental damage since most of the manufacturing has gone to China.  Clean natural gas would be the natural fit, but you have turned your back on it.  Do your downstate and city backers who lobby against natural gas realize that almost 60% of New York City’s energy needs are met by natural gas? Probably not, or they do not care.

Next time you see Yoko Ono, ask her how her apartment is heated.  When Mark Ruffalo flies in from California, ask him about the environmental damage in China caused by production of his solar cells, and why he needed us, the taxpayers to fund the energy credits for his little project.  Ask them all for documented evidence that substantiates any of their claims.  They cannot provide it.

Lisa Jackson of the EPA has stated that there are no documented cases of groundwater pollution from hydraulic fracturing.  Health in areas where natural gas development is occuring is actually increasing, as people have jobs and income from leasing and royalties that allows them to afford health care.  Think about them as you enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner.

Many of us have supported you in your efforts to get the budget out on time, to promote social equality and to take care of the other issues of the day.  And, in return all we have asked is the right to develop the resources under our land – the rights granted to us by the US Constitution and the State of New York – and you have turned your back on us by slow-walking safe responsible natural gas development to a certain death, all in the name not of science, but political expediency.

We are very disappointed in you, Governor Cuomo.  We thought better of you than this.  And, any hopes you might have for higher office will be ruined because you have done nothing to create jobs.  We look to the south of the Southern Tier, and we see jobs in Pennsylvania.  We see good roads, we see clean water, we see no evidence whatsoever of groundwater contamination.  Meanwhile, on our side of the border we see desperation, we see crumbling infrastructure, layoffs, and increasing taxes. It’s not a pretty picture.

Bill Owen

It will interesting to see if I get a response.  Somehow, I doubt it.

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