Appalachian Basin

Why We (Heart) New York

Over the past few weeks, we have seen some last ditch efforts to impose some sort of ban on hydraulic fracturing in New York — never mind the fact that the technology has been in use in that state for more than 60 years. Thankfully, each of those efforts have fallen short of what the organizers had hoped for — but that doesn’t mean these folks are about to stop throwing stones, regardless of what DEC concludes and no matter how much science is placed in front of them or how many polls come out showing what people really want.

Well, in the words of the now epic Jeff Andrysick, “It’s only worth it if there’s something to show for it,” and guys I hate to be the one to tell you this, but it might be time to reevaluate your model. Shale development is going to happen in New York (spoiler alert: it already has happened), wells will be drilled and fractured, the economy will improve, people will finally have jobs–and why? Because the technology is here, it’s available now, and it’s consistently proven to be safe. DEC knows this and has now come forth to say it. Pennsylvania DEP knows it and that’s why it continues to support development activities. The EPA has said it, as well. So get ready, New York – despite NIMBY efforts, the verdict is in and it’s time to get to work.

Why are we talking about the “Epic No Frac Event” a week late when we haven’t said a word about it since the Magical Mystery Tour? Follow me over the jump-line to find out.  For starters, unlike all of the other events we write about, we weren’t at this one.  I was off covering something more worthy of EID’s time–the business to business expo in Troy, PA where over 300 business owners came out to share how the natural gas industry has positively impacted their lives and livelihoods. Don’t get me wrong – a rally is always a fun time, but I wanted to share with you real news, not the same tired stories of Dimock and Leroy that NIMBYs cling to because they have no other examples to cite.

Anyway, I have spent the last week trying to find out something about the event. Google it guys…finding a post-event news story about it is pretty difficult. Even on Jeff and Jodi’s website, they didn’t share any real details about how it went. So much for getting 3 million hits on the website because even the blogs that covered it before hand had little, if anything, to say about it afterwards.  This was surprising to me, considering that it was supposed to be a “monumental” event where like-minded radicals would “RALLY like the French Resistance with 10,000 UNITED UNSTOPPABLE FRACTIVISTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!”  According to Jeff, it would be the “biggest, broadest and boldest assembly against fracking on the planet” – see video below:

Luckily for me, I was able to find some post-event coverage of it and that’s where “the story” gets pretty interesting because like the Magical Mystery Tour stories we followed for 3 days, there are quite a few discrepancies in the reporting of attendance.  I found estimates ranging from “thousands” to “a couple thousand” to 2,500 to 3,000 and 4,000.

You see, in the first article I found after the event, Jeff said that 2,500 people came out to Ithaca to protest fracing. Ok, nice round number. Judging by the exasperation in his voice during this speech at the end of the night, though, when he says closer to 3,000 were there, I started to wonder if he wasn’t exaggerating a bit. I wasn’t there so I don’t know the real number of people and there was no real news coverage (just the normal shouting at anti-gas blogs), but this sounds like one of those fish stories where the fish gets bigger with each telling. And that’s what I have been seeing, as I tried to find out what actually happened at the “Epic No Frac Event.”

If the “Epic No Frac Event” Facebook page is any indication to this, we are now up to 4,000 people that Jeff is saying attended. Now, I have a rationale for why Jeff is changing the figures each time he is asked and hyping the event is but a part of it. More likely, he and Jodi really need to get that number up there in the clouds of their own minds to justify maxing out their credit cards. If you watch the first minute of the video above, you’ll hear Jeff saying that 3,000 isn’t a bad number, but they needed 5-10,000 like France to make it worth it for them. They didn’t mind maxing out the cards if it was worthwhile, but 3,000 would just not be enough to accomplish anything. Their words, not mine.

I almost feel sorry for them throwing everything they have into something and coming up short, but the more you watch the video you realize that, like the good NIMBYs they are, they won’t give up the fight, even if it leaves them bankrupt. They are now calling for civil disobedience, willing to dispense of the “civility” if needed. They plan to hold seminars and have been trying to collect donations so they can move forward with more rallies and protests. Geez guys, DEC is ready to allow Marcellus development, fracturing solution is not contaminating groundwater, and you’re broke. Your 15 minutes are up, so go back to your organic berry farm and actually read through some of the studies, reports and polls that are out there.

And now, on Thursday, we will see yet another march on Albany in a last, pitiful attempt to change reality because the DEC report they just knew would be on their side, instead stuck to the facts and New York is ready to allow drill.  I guess being a anti-gas radical means never having to say you’re sorry.


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