Serious Business in Dansville
Bill, Nicole and Rachael,
The EID Northeast Marcellus Initiative Team
Yesterday in Dansville, New York, the New York State DEC held the first of four hearings on the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS) that will determine the future of natural gas development in Upstate New York and the economic future of the region itself. Like some familiar nursery rhyme or Dr. Suess book, the incessantly repetitive and generally empty message of the anti-gas community (mostly from Buffalo or Rochester) could be summed up in “we don’t like it and we don’t need a reason why.” Your EID Marcellus Team was there, and, fortunately, we can report there was a heck of a lot more to the hearing than that. The hopelessly negative and speculative arguments of the anti’s were certainly tiring to be sure, but these were offset by the compelling testimony of a large number of business owners, elected officials and landowners who came to speak the truth about natural gas and the economic necessity of this industry to the future of Upstate New York. It’s serious business, after all.
One could sense from the testimony of folks like Linda Knowles, Lisa Robinson, Gordon Foster and others that this was no game. They made it clear the sustainability of the entire region was at stake but, more importantly, that the lives of individual families were on the line with the SGEIS because natural gas development was the not only the best thing, but the only thing, that was on the horizon to arrest the economic decline of Upstate New York.
Check out this video of Robert Nichols, Steuben County Legislature, who articulated the need for responsible gas development such as the DEC regulations would permit.
And, take a look at what Karen Ballard, Steuben County Land Owner Coalition Member had to say about the economic problems that typify Steuben County and why natural gas is so important.
One of the best pieces of testimony was from a young man by the name of Chad Vitale. Chad discussed the important role natural gas will play for future generations from the perspective of a high school senior hoping to obtain employment locally.
There were approximately twenty other local residents who testified on behalf of the local farmers who were unable to leave their daily chores to speak for themselves. Nonetheless, these folks were encouraged by approximately 200 of their neighbors who came out to the hearing to lend their numbers in support of natural gas development. The other side bussed in folks from urban areas to make their case – folks with no stake in the future of places like Livingston County, where the hearing was held.
Lest we become so serious serious as to become morose and deprive you of the fun, there were several individuals who offered some rather strange testimony and engaged in some exceedingly strange antics. Consider for example, Roger Downs of the Sierra Club (more on him here), who suggested the industry still uses “frack ponds” which is so, in the infamous words of the Black Eyed Peas, “2000 and late.” One would have hoped he might have picked up a newspaper, any newspaper, to learn the industry now uses closed-loop systems, but that hope was dashed. Still, is it too much to ask that he would read the SGEIS on which he was commenting? If he had, he would have known “frack ponds” will be illegal in New York State.
Or, get a load of Kate Bartholomew, who showed through her testimony that her earlier protests of the Inergy Finger Lakes LPG storage facility, had absolutely nothing to do with propane storage and everything to do with the non-issue of hydraulic fracturing in Schyuler County.
And, last but certainly not least in the bizarre category, was Jeff and Jody Andrysick. Jeff, you may recall was the one who, a while back, expressed pride at the fact Harvard called the two of them eco-terrorists. He toned it down a bit yesterday, only declaring that he came to denounce the DEC and state the he in no way, shape or form recognizes their authority- a sure way to influence things in his favor. Someone forgot to tell him DEC doesn’t particularly care about his thoughts on their authority. That is a matter of state law. State law vs. Jeff Andrysick? We think state law wins.
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Finally, if you needed any further proof that our anti-gas friends are living in an unserious world of fairy tales, nursery rhymes, and fantasy consider these photographs, all of which speak (volumes) for themselves. All the while they are protesting something proven safe over decades that could provide hope and propserity to their neighbors. Instead they don costumes and try to fear the public with hypothetical scenarios that haven’t been proven by reality, science or facts.
Stay tuned to our Twitter today for more antics from Binghamton at #BroomeSGEIS!