New York City SGEIS – A Harbinger of Things To Come
It’s been a a few weeks now since the final SGEIS hearing in New York City and we’ve all had some time to reflect on the fiasco that unfolded there. It seems that event has turned out to be a harbinger of what was to come with recent events at the SRBC meeting in Wilkes-Barre. Not too surprisingly, New York City saw a turnout of the usual suspects for its DEC public hearing. The difference with the New York City hearing, when compared to the hearings that preceded it, was the way the way anti-natural gas activists conducted themselves. Several anti’s carried on, caused scenes, continually interrupted the proceedings and disregarded the rules of conduct the DEC had set forth. It’s no exaggeration to say anarchy reigned for good parts of the hearing.
Public officials spoke at the outset of the hearing and these comments were about what one would expect in the belly of the beast (New York City) where wild claims are the norm and wackiness is a virtue to be extolled.
One attendee suggested there should have been at least ten hearings with most occurring in New York City. This was absurd for several reasons, not the least of which was that the same complaints were being levied at each hearing, sometimes coming from the same people. The testimony given by the anti’s didn’t vary all that much. They reiterate the same flawed points over and over and again. Most points didn’t even address the SGEIS which was the point of the hearings. For example, we heard repeatedly that open pits should be banned. Well, if these commentors had read the SGEIS they would see pits are outlawed under the SGEIS. Not to mention the fact that natural gas companies no longer use them as they now employ employ closed loop systems that facilitate recycling of flowback and produced water. Is it too much to ask that these “fracktivists” first read what they are protesting?
Of course even before the hearing began a show was in the making. Anti’s conducted a poorly attended news conference where the usual suspects, including the likes of Mark Ruffalo, led mindless chants and droned on to the point that the relatively few media representatives there in the first place wandered off in search of better stories.
Inside the hearing people carried on in an out of control fashion for most of the time. As a result, the clock was stopped several times because anti’s were being rude and the room was becoming chaotic. The DEC asked several times to limit applause and avoid interrupting speakers. Of course, the anti’s disregarded the request time and time again, demonstrating their disrespect toward DEC and intolerance for any opinions but their own – a pattern to be repeated at the SRBC meeting in Wilkes-Barre.
One man passed his testimony out while waiting in line. When he testified the entire room read his testimony with him. An interesting and creepy tactic to say the least.
Here’s another example of the interesting tactics that seems to be becoming part of the anti-gas playbook. It is comforting knowing they can repeat words uttered by another.
Josh Fox decided to show up and testify, grabbing an early place in line after arriving late. He submitted Gasland as his testimony, offering nothing specific dealing with the SGEIS document. This was arrogance personified. Fox, of course, is a charlatan and nothing much he says or does is surprising. What is surprising, however, is how fast the anti-gas “fractivists” have decided to show their true colors by employing tactics that are more fitting of an unorganized mob than citizens seeking civil discourse based on facts and science. Their behavior in New York City, like elsewhere, was childish. It suggests their entire enterprise is being drowned in the reality of the facts about natural gas development, its safety, and its importance to our energy independence and economic development. They continue to lose this narrative and now are flailing about trying to save their cause with desperate measures. It isn’t pretty but it is what we can expect as New York continues to slowly grind its way toward approval of natural gas development. That is of course if it can get out of its own way of continued delays.