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Take a stand on drilling

October 27, 2011

Election season is fast upon us, and an important, if not the most important issue before us, is natural gas drilling and the changes it will bring to our communities. What do our candidates feel about the issue and the ability of separate towns to revise zoning to exclude drilling? With the impending finalization of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation’s SGEIS (permitting rules), it is of the utmost importance that towns decide what action they will take before permitting begins.

We have been debating this issue for over three years, with countless presentations and meetings. Organizations such as the New York Association of Towns have provided information to their members. There has been no lack of information.

It is not acceptable that elected officials or candidates claim they are undecided or don’t have enough information to take action.

I also find the position of candidates and board members who claim they are protecting towns from lawsuits objectionable. Such a decision does not protect local citizens from noise, air and water pollution leading to almost certain negative health impacts. Such a decision doesn’t protect us from increased traffic and reduced quality of life. It doesn’t protect industries such as tourism or agriculture currently employing citizens from being crowded out. Independent studies have shown when the extraction industry finally departs we will be left with higher unemployment, higher poverty, lower income levels and a less educated population than communities where extraction had never occurred.

Protecting towns means electing candidates who will not be afraid to take action and zone out gas drilling. Don’t let the candidates escape without telling us before we vote what actions they will or will not support.

Jeff Allison
Bethel, NY


Heavy industry is not compatible with rural residential, let alone, special protection waters, scenic byways, core forest areas that offer habitat to wildlife, and National Parks.

High volume, slick water, multistage hydraulic fracturing and drilling into rock is absolutely heavy industry. Is there any doubt to this?

As Mr. Allison stated, everyone has had over three years to come to grips with information. Anyone who is "undecided" as to what steps need to be taken is disengenuous at best.

Well pads, roads, feeder line clearings, pipeline clearings, and not least, compressor stations, are all radical changes to our existing situation. There has not been a cumulative environmental impact assessment done. It is a travesty of justice in its absence. This industry is inherently contaminating to the air, water, and soil, and now, they want to perform this extraction within a few hundred feet of our residences.

This is not just a matter of the shale known as "marcellus". This is a push to extract, through new technology, every layer that will yield gas, or liquid, at a profit. Meanwhile, we are burning ourselves to death, and potable water is a commodity that is already as expensive, when bottled, as oil, gas, or gasoline.

Think of what life will be like twenty years from now if we continue to just follow this path.

Demand investment into renewable energy, and demand that our govenments, both state and federal, stop subsidizing the fossil fuel burning industry. Do not allow this heavy industry into our residential areas, and do not allow it into our special protection waters, or our core forests.