Hydrofracking Decision Is For Future Generations


The following article was published in the Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, NY) on February 21, 2013. It was written by Joseph Hoff, chairman of Keuka Citizens Against Hydrofracking. Mr. Hoff granted us permission to publish it on New NY 23rd.

As the governor and the state Department of Environmental Conservation ready a decision, the jigsaw pieces of local resistance to hydraulic fracture drilling for natural gas and oil in New York State continue to fall into place. Currently 206 communities are protected (48 of these are in the New York City/Syracuse Watersheds) with another 90 municipalities staging for passage of draft legislation and zoning ordinance. A total of 296 municipalities stand tall under the protective or projected umbrella of a time-out (moratorium) or prohibition (ban and/or restrictive zoning ordinance) against a highly controversial process. Eighteen months ago, there were but 47 communities that had done so.

These communities have steadfastly resisted the pressures and saber rattling of corporate greed – greed that is manifested by those who hide behind landowner coalitions, some well-intended but misinformed individuals and politicians whose priorities run counter to their obligation to protect the health, safety and welfare of their constituencies. These municipalities are demonstrating that they will not be cowed by threat, political subterfuge and the blatant falsification of truth.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said repeatedly that science, not emotion, will determine whether hydrofracking will be permitted in the Empire State. But, one may ask – “whose science?” The science of energy companies whose agenda for falsehood and obfuscation is clear and repeatedly advanced even by governmental agencies whose blinders are fixed by political largesse and self-interest? The science of illogic that refuses to have independent testing through juried, vetted scientific research to apply objective standards to the analysis?

Or the science of overwhelming study, experience and research that brings clarity daily to the reality that natural gas/oil drilling, particularly high volume slickwater horizontal hydraulic fracturing, will devastate the water we drink, the air we breathe and the lands and agriculture upon which we depend for life itself.

Those municipalities who have declared a time-out have enacted a moratorium during which they could study the issue in depth. They have studied the findings of Drs. Anthony Ingraffea, Robert Howarth and Sandra Steingraber. Their research on the topic brings to light the scientifically vetted conclusion that hydrofracking and its appurtenant activities (extraction processes, transport, storage and environmental impact) will irreversibly damage life sustaining waters, air and lands.

These communities have read the comprehensive studies of Dr. Janette Barth and Deborah Rogers, among others, whose objective economic analyses expose the emptiness of overblown promise and falsehoods of an industry that seeks political favor as an antithesis to an ever-increasing groundswell of grassroots opposition.

These communities, unlike most governmental officials, have sent action committee members to Pennsylvania to assess first-hand the devastating affects to the communities where hydrofracking is taking place.

Many communities, in exercising their right to “home rule” have applied their objective and thorough study by enacting bans, zoning ordinances and restrictions on hydrofracking and/or heavy industry in their communities. They have looked beyond the extensive advertising of a “benign” industry’s claims and have placed the welfare of their citizenry as it should be.

In North Dakota, the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Indian Tribal Council recently banned hydrofrack drilling for gas and oil on tribal lands. A spokesperson indicated that they did so mindful that they were not ready to sacrifice their waters for an empty promise of jobs and revenue.

Many municipalities in New York are of that very same mindset. I stand and applaud them for their conviction, objectivity and thoroughness of analysis. New York state also stands — poised to decide. Like New York’s own Iroquois Confederation, my neighbors and I exhort Governor Cuomo and the DEC to apply their pending decision to what is not the here and now but, as our native New Yorkers did, to the future welfare of six generations hence.


About pystew

Retired Teacher, political science geek, village trustee. I lean a little left, but like a good political discussion. My blog, the New NY 23rd (http://newny23rd) is about discussing the issues facing the people of our new congressional district. Let's hear all sides of the issues, not just what the candidates want us to hear.
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