It’s Time for Natural Gas in All of New York!
Deposit, NY resident
Yesterday I attended the Vote4Energy rally at the Broome Tioga Sports Center in New York where I was asked to speak on behalf of landowners in Delaware County. It was a remarkable event, where despite the rain that threatened it in the beginning, thousands turned out in support of bringing natural gas development to our state. I was honored to be a part of it. After the break is a video of me giving this speech, followed by the speech.
My name is Sandra Davis and I am very grateful for the opportunity to speak to all of you today. I am the secretary for the Deposit Gas Group, a small business owner, a farmer’s daughter, and a landowner. My husband and I have 55 unleased acres in Delaware County. We researched natural gas development, especially how it could impact our family farm, and after careful consideration have been fighting for a lease, like all of you, for the last 4 years.
It looks like we may be fighting for a lot longer as Delaware County was not named as one of the five counties that will see development first. With the Canonsville Reservoir, the water supply for New York City, situated in Delaware County, we have quite the challenge to overcome to get permitting. It’s anything but a fair fight!
To build the reservoir in 1965, our county sacrificed several towns, including 9 cemeteries—and for what? We cannot use the reservoir for recreation without overcoming extreme hurdles because it flows to New York City unfiltered, so we receive none of the benefits of its intrusion on our community. We especially feel the pinch in property taxes, as the destruction of villages for its construction left a void in the tax base of the county.
And our county is struggling. As a business owner I see first-hand the number of individuals in need of jobs to support their families. I was at a presentation a few months ago in Deposit where two women from Bradford County were going on and on about local businesses there not being able to find workers because of the gas industry! Can you imagine having that “problem”?? It was like a slap in the face to hear that touted as an issue when we’re laying off our workers left and right. Even those individuals who are opposed to development, couldn’t deny the tremendous job creation allowing development brings. And it’s something we desperately need.
As a farmer’s daughter, I’m watching as farms are being sub-divided to pay the mortgage and taxes. This fragmentation is crippling our community, but you won’t hear complaints from the second homers from New York City about this. No, it provides them with development opportunities to get out of the big city for a few weeks, while we lose our livelihood and more of our tax base. Yet, here we sit with the bountiful Marcellus Shale under our feet, an ad valorem tax that can help even those in the community who choose not to lease, and we are not allowed to develop it. Our property rights are being taken away at every turn and it’s got to stop.
I watched Truthland recently, as you will have the opportunity to do today, and one thing that stuck out to me was John Hangar’s interview. Every energy option has its pros and cons. Every energy solution has its risks and benefits. Even wind and solar have downfalls like the impacts on bird and bat populations and the rare earth mining in other countries to get the materials, not to mention their inability at this time to supply our energy needs. To quote Hanger, “Natural gas is not perfect, but we don’t have a perfect solution.”
When you weigh it all out, as Yale researchers recently did in a study, though, natural gas is the cleanest, most efficient option we have and we’ve been blessed to have it right here. The abundance of shale gas in our country has even dropped energy prices for consumers, many of which live in New York. It’s our gas and our opportunity and yet New York insists upon keeping us from developing it.
Hopefully the Governor will hear the landowners of New York soon, but until that day comes we need to keep fighting for our rights. So today let your voices be heard loud and clear…We, the landowners of New York want Natural Gas Development! Not just in some communities…In all communities!