Marcellus Shale

Natural Gas Development Isn’t Self-Serving: It’s Simply Necessary

Fred LeBrun, in an Albany Times-Union column “Take back gift to gas industry,” May 13, discussed the audacity of a “self-serving coalition of New York landowners from the Southern Tier” visiting the Capitol to assert their rights as property owners in supporting the safe and responsible development of natural gas in New York.

Mr. LeBrun is referring to the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York, which is a group of 70,000 Central New York and Southern Tier landowners.

The group’s mission is:

To foster, promote, advance and protect the common interest of the people as it pertains to natural gas development through education and best environmental practices.

I have had the pleasure of working with members the last two years as we try to advance safe natural gas development.

These are hardworking farmers and business people who have been scraping by, paying taxes and waiting patiently to develop their land.

For years, they have witnessed business after business close, and young people move away. And that was before tropical storms and flooding devastated the region last year. These landowners are truly hurting and are hoping the natural gas under their feet will allow them to hold onto their land. They also want to create jobs for their children, generate tax revenues to improve schools and social services, provide low-cost local energy to power New York, and begin to reverse blight in towns across the region.

The self-serving folks in this debate are those who repeat misinformation about natural gas development. The facts and science support safe, clean natural gas development that will revitalize New York.

I suggest Mr. LeBrun leave Albany and take a drive to the Southern Tier, where he can get to know some coalition members and listen to their stories. These landowners are the backbone of our state and should be commended for their hard work and patience, not criticized for advocating for their property rights.

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