The following article was written by Bette Ek, a member of Citizen Action of the Southern Tier. You might read it in a district newspaper since the author has sent some a copy. It is printed here with permission of the author.
Back in 1870 a prominent theologian and author named James Freeman Clarke said “A politician thinks of the next election; a statesman thinks of the next generation.”
One of the frustrating aspects of election years, besides some candidates’ vicious and bizarre campaign ads, is that we too often get unclear or conflicting messages regarding where candidates stand on critical issues. Many of these issues will have far-reaching impacts, not only on us but on future generations.
For example, I don’t find reassuring gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino’s position on fracking. He has proclaimed his fervent support for the Southern Tier as a target for fracking, saying that Binghamton could be the next Dallas. (Ironically, Dallas has recently put in place what industry has called “a de-facto ban on fracking”.) Yet in December 2012 Astorino signed a resolution barring the acceptance of fracking waste in Westchester County. It’s unclear where he thinks drilling waste from the Southern Tier would go, but it wouldn’t be to his own county. Twelve counties in New York and several states have enacted or are in the process of enacting bans on drilling wastes. Hopefully our leaders in Chemung County, which, shamefully, is already ranked near the bottom of the state in terms of over-all health, will agree with the multitude of citizens who believe that to further expose county residents to the documented health risks inherent in accepting PA’s drilling wastes would be irresponsible.
I also find contradictory Congressman Reed’s views on fracking and LPG storage in Seneca Lake. He has stated that he favors fracking but supports exempting the Finger Lakes because of the potential harm increased traffic could cause to the wine and tourism industries. According to the industry’s own predictions LPG storage in Seneca Lake would mean having a truck and rail depot capable of loading and unloading 4 or 5 semi trucks per hour and 24 rail cars in 12 hours. Sounds like potential harm from increased traffic to me, along with other dangers, given that these trucks and train cars would contain propane and butane. I’m concerned that Mr. Reed hasn’t supported those fighting this insane proposal despite repeated requests that he do so.
It’s also maddening when candidates from our Governor on down strenuously avoid discussing issues they view as politically dangerous. When forced to publicly comment on fracking, they typically resort to the lame position that they “trust the DEC to protect us.” They apparently have not read the DEC’s proposed fracking regulations and noticed glaring omissions, transparent loop-holes, and the absence of the required scientific support for each proposed regulation. It’s especially contradictory when they decry “big government” yet don’t object to the compulsory integration and eminent domain practices inherent in fracking. These practices support an unholy big government/big industry alliance at its worst.
Yes, I worry a lot about the next generation and who will help us protect it. I’m sure there are genuine statesmen and stateswomen out there; please make it clear who you are so we can vote for you.