Appalachian Basin

Parading for Natural Gas in Spencer

I traveled out to Spencer, New York (Tioga County) this weekend to attend a parade in association with the 102nd annual Spencer Picnic. The picnic is one of the longest running fairs held by towns or villages in the country, and the parade is always a fun time for residents as they provide floats showing what means the most to them. This year’s theme was “Redneck Reunion,” and it was great seeing how the town worked it into their floats and costumes. Natural gas even had a place in the parade as supporters and opponents made their opinions known to the crowd through a pro natural gas development float and lawn signs carried by the anti-natural gas crowd.

Sporting a “Drill Baby Drill” float three locals drove though the town proudly expressing their support of natural gas development. The crowd on the street watching the parade responded very well to the float, cheering as it went by. You can see a picture of the float below.

We had a booth set up on local resident, Cris Pasto’s property where we handed out plenty of Truthland movies to people passing by, as well as informational packets on the movie.

We met a lot of great people and had some interesting conversations throughout the day. At one point Cris was able to talk with a gentleman who had been approached by the woman holding the sign against natural gas in the parade. Out of curiosity he asked how his conversation with her went. He chuckled and told us,

She didn’t have all of her information straight and she didn’t have many answers to my questions.

That’s an all too common occurrence, where  someone says their opposed, then cites outdated information and can’t respond beyond what they’ve heard through the internet grapevine. In a town where most residents seemed to really understand what natural gas development entails and the benefits it can bring to their community, they saw right through the fear-mongering and rhetoric and didn’t let her misinformation rain on their parade.

We also got to talk with people about the sentiment towards development in their town. Apparently, at the last board meeting there were anti-natural gas people discussing a petition with a little over 300 names on it. Land and business owners in the community, knew there was a lot of support for natural gas in the town, so they began their own petition in support of natural gas development. Many people have taken the time to go door to door and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. The supportive side has already gotten over 200 signatures in a short amount of time.

They told us the people they have spoken to remember the antis coming to their door. Some of them felt pressured into signing the anti-gas petition and didn’t even actually take what was being petitioned into consideration. Many people we spoke to, both landowners and downtown residents, understood the huge economic benefit their town would see if natural gas exploration was permitted in New York State. It will be interesting to see how these petitions match up with the reality of town opinion we saw in force on Saturday.

The parade was very successful and the support for natural gas development was evident amongst the many I talked to and the signs throughout the town. The best part of the day though was the float that said it all in support of natural gas. Truthland DVDs flew out of the box into the hands of many supporters anxious to show the movie to their families and others in the community. All in all it was a great day and one we are grateful to have been invited to be a part of!

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