Appalachian Basin

Natural Gas Opponents Resort to Celebrities, Search Globe for Help

Those opposed to natural gas development have descended to a new low in soliciting petition signatures from people far outside areas that will see any development.  First they looked to celebrities and now they seek help wherever they can find it, including foreign nations.  When will they take the hint that they are in the minority?

A couple months ago during a the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) scoping hearing on the Constitution Pipeline  I spoke as a Pennsylvania resident in favor of the pipeline project.  I felt shale gas developed in Northeast Pennsylvania, where I lived and worked, needed to be brought to market.  A few people in attendance at the same meeting who happened to have different views did not appreciate what I had to say about the project, not even a little bit.  They started a petition and included my contact information on it, resulting in me receiving an email everytime someone signed it.  Talk about feeling important!

Guess what?  A majority of signers on this petition were from areas not even remotely likely to see any impacts whatsoever from the development of this pipeline.  Many probably couldn’t find it on the map and I doubt if some signers had ever heard of places such as Afton, Cobleskill or Oneonta where hearings took place.  I let this fact go and decided not to pursue anything with it, until now.

Activists opposed to natural gas development appear to be running out of friends locally to sign their petitions, there being inadequate opposition, for their purposes, to such development in the areas that will actually see it.  They have, unsurprisingly, looked to publicity seeking celebrities and their followers for help, but even that appears to provide support that can only be described as fringe, so they have turned now to western states, Canada and other countries to find like-minded anti-growth activists.  This was evident from the response to the petition which included my name.

Screen Shot 2013-02-02 at 6.44.31 AMIt stands out even more with the email one of our Canadian colleagues received from a group based in San Francisco.  This particular solicitation was initiated for the express purpose of supposedly showing New York State Governor Cuomo his constituents opposed hydraulic fracturing and natural gas development in New York.

What makes this whole thing absurd is this; someone based in San Francisco, California is appealing for signatures from people in Edmonton, Alberta, in Canada, to tell the Governor of New York, back in the good old USA, not to allow natural gas development within his state.  Follow that?  What’s next – an appeal to aliens?

Here is the email our Canadian colleague received (and she doesn’t spend any time writing letters to Governor Cuomo or soliciting them either):

Email Petition

The petition on which my name was included also brought signatures from many other states, though never through another country (that I know about anyway).  Is this how desperate those opposed have become, to solicit signatures from people outside the United States to oppose development in New York?  Again, this all boils down to landowners rights and while its never acceptable for someone from another state to dictate those rights its way beyond unacceptable for someone from another country to dictate them.

It also demonstrates something those of us at EID have noticed from the beginning; the heavy hitters on the anti-development side who have ginned up natural gas opposition in far away locations are motivated strictly by stopping it in New York State.  You know who we mean; the Park Foundation, the Rockefeller family and, of course, their pet organizations such, the Sustainable Markets Foundation and the NRDC (yes, that NRDC, the one used as a threat by Julie Sautner – 1:59).

Below, as examples, are two emails I received as signatures on the Constitution Pipeline petition:

Petition 1

Petition 2

Notice the second email, in particular, the one from “RandomAction CreatesChange” who lives in Englewood, Colorado. How would you like to go through life with a name suggesting anarchy was the solution?  There’s probably a Johnny Cash song in there somewhere.  If this is the sort of individual who activists who are soliciting to oppose a pipeline project, one can only imagine the quality of those  200,000 comments to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) on the proposed regulations for New York State.  How many of these 200,000 comments were from other states or other countries?

It reminds us of what happened with the Marc-1 Pipeline project when EarthJustice engineered the submission of 22,000 nearly identical letters to FERC regarding that project from all over the globe hoping to convince someone there was public controversy.  The EPA bought the subterfuge, but the FERC, which had final authority, didn’t fall for it, fortunately.  Yet, natural gas opponents keep following the same old playbook; when they can’t drum up enough support in areas actually affected by what they propose, they go to the extremist well of worn-out ideas to solicit folks like “RandomAction CreatesChange,” who are ever willing to put their name on anything.

When will they ever learn?


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