Appalachian Basin

The Real “State” of the State is Gloomy without Natural Gas

This week, in Albany two fairly large groups met head-to-head just prior to Governor Cuomo’s State of the State Address.  One group was there to show support for natural gas development as the leverage to bring jobs and a prosperous economy back to the New York’s Southern Tier, while the other was bent on deliberately frustrating those efforts.

We attended the rally, where we interviewed those opposed to natural  gas development.

While these opponents were a very vocal group, it was readily apparent from our investigations that many of them didn’t have a grip on the facts.  Keep in mind many people in support of natural gas cannot leave their jobs or farms on a Wednesday to travel to Albany for a protest.  Our friends on the opposite side, though, seem to have nothing but time; time to travel, time to protest and time to shout.

Entering the Empire State Plaza Concourse we saw two groups of people holding very different signs.  One group, composed mostly of children and young adults, batted drums and chanted about New York being a “sacrifice zone.”  The other held signs asking Gov. Cuomo to keep his promise and make a decision based on science, not emotion.  This group – the friends of natural gas development – called for an end to the emotional hysteria surrounding this issue.  This was perhaps, naive, because all we got was hysteria from the other side.  Check out this video and ask yourself if these folks were there for the cause or the fun.  It should be obvious. Yet, these are the folks undermining landowner rights and economic development in the Southern Tier.

Yes, these are the people determined to strip away the mineral rights of property owners and keep the Southern Tier in pastoral poverty.  They frolic like it’s still the 1960’s, but seem not to understand hydraulic fracturing and the science behind it.  Here’s Joe asking one activist opposed to natural gas development a few questions.

What do you do for a living?  “I am an activist.”  One wonders if that’s what these nice folks (and many  were very nice) will put on their resumes when they apply for jobs.  Perhaps, I’m assuming too much, however.  I wish I could say I was surprised when I heard this.

Here is another activist opposed to natural gas development, a very polite and sincere individual who lives on Seneca lake and doesn’t believe the industry and wine tourism will be able to co-exist together.

One would hope, as someone living on Seneca Lake, this individual would know about the 100 or so wells located at the north end of the lake.  She is a perfect example of how many otherwise well-intended people don’t take the time to understand or educate themselves on the issue.  The gas industry has co-existed with the wine industry for years in the Finger Lake region.  This person did say “I don’t know a lot,” which tells us she’s honest.  She’s probably also willing to listen, but shouldn’t someone get the facts about the wells located on the lake where they live before rushing to Albany to protest others?

Amidst the dancing and chanting, those who came to Albany to support natural gas development in New York stood their ground and gave those who passed by an alternative view on this debate.

Out of the many pictures we took throughout the day, the one that stuck out the most was a gentleman holding a sign that read “Let your heart guide you.”  This message was clearly directed toward Gov. Cuomo as he continues to decide whether to permit this process in New York state.  This sign essentially calls on everyone to stop looking at science and decide on emotion.  It appears that those opposed are starting to understand that science is on our side and emotion may be the only way left for them to come out on top.

Those opposed call for emotion not science

Those opposed call for emotion not science

As we wait, anxiously and tirelessly, for Gov. Cuomo to make a final decision whether or not to permit high volume hydraulic fracturing in New York, we can only hope that unlike many of the people at the rally, Gov. Cuomo takes the time to understand the science and base his decision on that.

During the State of the State Address Gov. Cuomo did not mention natural gas development at all; he instead danced around the topic.  This was frustrating, perhaps the most frustrating moment of the day.  The “state” of New York State is grimm.  Natural gas development could be the light at the end of the gloomy tunnel and it was not even mentioned, although there are signs good happenings are happening behind the scenes. Click here for other photos and scenes from the day.


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