One of the most memorable scenes is a homeowner igniting his tap
water—purportedly a result of natural gas drilling. In reality, the
Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission tested the homeowner’s
well before the scene was filmed and revealed the presence of only
naturally occurring methane.
Another is the suggestion that gas drilling led to the September
2009 fishkill at Dunkard Creek in Greene County, Pa. The Pennsylvania
Department of Environmental Protection found the cause to be a golden
algae bloom from mine water drainage.
Actually, there are dozens of factual errors that misstate the law,
misrepresent the rules, use discredited points from the past,
mischaracterize the process, and flat-out make stuff up. Here’s a more
accurate take: Natural gas production can and does exist harmoniously
with our environment, including our water supplies. Natural gas has
been produced here for more than 150 years.
Part of modern natural gas production is a process called hydraulic
fracturing. It involves drilling a small, usually 8-inch diameter hole
that extends a mile or more beneath the earth’s surface—far below any
freshwater supplies. Multiple layers of steel pipe encased in cement
seal off the process. Fluid made up of 99.5 percent water and sand is
pumped into the hole to create small fractures in carefully targeted
sections of shale rock. When the fluid is removed, this releases the
natural gas and allows it to rise to the earth’s surface via the
Hydraulic fracturing is nothing new. It’s been safely used on more
than 1 million U.S. wells over the past 60 years. The Ground Water
Protection Council issued a report in April 2009, stating that the
potential for hydraulic fracturing in deep shale gas wells to affect
groundwater is extremely remote, as low as one in 200 million. And New
York’s water supply is already protected through vigilant oversight by
the state Department of Environmental Conservation, which has some of
the most stringent regulations in the nation.
The film fails to detail the many benefits natural gas can bring to
New York, including job creation and economic growth to communities
that really need it today. A 2009 study by IHS Global Insight found
that natural gas supported 36,000 jobs in New York, providing more than
$8 billion in economic value. Another study, commissioned by Broome
County, found the Marcellus Shale could pave the way for 16,000
good-paying jobs, $793 million in wages and $15.3 billion in total
economic output over the next 10 years in Broome County alone.
The movie might get 3½ stars for dramatic storytelling, but only one
star for the facts. Here’s hoping when it comes to decisions about our
future in the real world, we rely on the facts. It’s important that we
proceed in a manner that is safe and responsible, but also allows New
York to take full advantage of all that the responsible development of
shale gas can mean for communities throughout our state.
—David Palmerton Jr.
Palmerton Group, East Syracuse
Sen. Dave Valesky and Albany Democrats have put the finishing
touches on an election-year budget that fails to control spending and
is unaffordable to taxpayers.
The budget will require virtually everyone to pay higher taxes,
including a new sales tax on clothing and footwear purchases that will
hit lower- and middle-income families especially hard as they go school
shopping this fall. Democrats will force taxpayers to cough up nearly
$2 billion in additional taxes this year on top of $8.5 billion in
taxes they approved last year.
Sen. Valesky fell into line even though his New York City leaders
refused to include a much-needed property tax cap in the budget.
Shockingly, Democrats also failed to include any broad-based incentives
to help businesses create jobs, preferring to nibble on the margins
By enacting this budget, Sen. Valesky and the Albany Legislature
have approved hundreds of millions of dollars in spending they don’t
pay for, including their legislative pork.
Passage of this budget makes it clear that Democrat politicians in
New York will continue forcing families and businesses to make
sacrifices while refusing to make any of their own. And, thanks to a
complete lack of leadership from Sen. Valesky, Central New York will
suffer once again.
If I had a vote, I would never have cast it for such an
irresponsible budget. The status quo politicians who got us into this
mess should be ashamed of themselves for choosing to do what’s easy,
rather than what’s right.
—Andrew C. Russo
49th State Senate District
The Running Man
I am running for governor because I believe our state should provide
living-wage jobs, protect the environment and make health care a right.
I want a “Green New Deal,” one that builds on the economic rights
that Franklin D. Roosevelt championed to build upon his initial New
Deal. If the private sector can’t provide jobs, then the government
needs to put people to work: fixing up houses, taking care of the
elderly and children, cleaning up our parks and neighborhoods and doing
things to improve the quality of life.
We need a tax system where people support essential services based
on their ability to pay. We don’t need New York’s current tax system
with loopholes for the wealthy and multi-state businesses and
backbreaking high property sales taxes for working families as well as
those on fixed income and small businesses.
Career politicians who cater to the needs of corporate special
interests hold our state government captive. In recent years numerous
lawmakers of both major parties in Albany have been guilty of
corruption or forced to resign for unethical behavior.
The Democrats tell voters that the way to peace, universal health
care and a strong sustainable environment is to vote for them. But with
the Democrats in control in Albany and Washington, D.C., they escalated
the wars, increased military spending to a trillion dollars, mandated
the way that we buy costly private health insurance rather than provide
cost-efficient, publicly financed health care for all (e.g., HR 676),
bailed out Wall Street rather than Main Street, and pandered to oil,
coal, gas and nuclear corporations while climate change accelerated.
The Democrats have abandoned the last vestiges of their New Deal
legacy and now echo the Republicans in calling for the economics of
Herbert Hoover. They all want to cut public spending stimulus to fuel
recovery. Meanwhile, the corporate welfare, bailout and crime wave
grows while unemployment, foreclosures, poverty and hardship spread.
My running mate is peace activist and health care professional
Gloria Mattera. We won’t be taking contributions from corporate
interests. It is hard, however, to get the media to cover candidates
that focus on issues rather than raking in campaign contributions. So
please visit our website, www.howiehawkins.org, to find out what
changes the Green Party wants.
New York state