The Southern Tier counties of New York state have been languishing in a politically induced limbo over hydraulic fracturings' future for close to five years. Though Gov. Cuomo insists he will make his long-overdue decision based on "facts and science," we are now convinced the wealthy environmental lobbyists have taken control. Regrettably, as past history has shown, money and power have again, reared their collectively ugly heads.
Rich leftist liberals (the name Rockefeller comes to mind) are cashing in on our hardships by stalling Gov. Cuomo's decision to lift the moratorium through their money, half-truths and lies, in order to buy up as much land as they can a rock bottom prices, thereby increasing their own private utopias. The longer they keep the decision in limbo, the more farms go under with people loosing their homes and livelihood.
But the fight for our constitutional land-use rights isn't over quite yet!
One environmental study after another, from some 28 states, including our own DEC's SGEIS report have shown the same results as to whether hydraulic fracturing can be done safely and the answer was a resounding YES!
More than 1 million hydro-fracked wells have been drilled over the past 50 some years, yet NO evidence of groundwater contamination has ever surfaced. Lisa Jackson, the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency, testified before Congress that she's ''not aware of any proven case where the hydro-fracking process itself, has affected the water.'' When the Ground Water Protection Council reviewed more than 10,000 wells, over the past several years, it found only one complaint about groundwater quality ... and the EPA found that the problem was NOT the result of hydraulic fracturing (fracking.)
Let me be clear on another issue often brought up and related to hydraulic fracturing concerning the infamous scene in the movie ''Gasland'' (documentary would be a totally inaccurate description seeing as most of the statements made are nowhere near the truth). The gas the farmer claimed came out of his faucet has always been a naturally occurring gas in the ground. When I built my house 13 years ago, the plumber was able to light our faucet easily! Thirteen years, and our family's health is just fine, and there isn't one horizontally hydro-fracked well anywhere in New York! why do you think the geologists call it ''natural gas?''
Oh, and by the way, the Fort Worth Natural Gas & Air Quality Study from 2011 has found that the hydraulic fracturing process DOES NOT produce dangerous levels of air pollution either!
So, here we are and New York state's hydraulic fracturing moratorium isn't keeping any environmental harm at bay. It IS keeping away significant, high-paying jobs, many of them union jobs!
Up to a fifth of the Marcellus Shale formation lies under New York state mostly along the Southern Tier counties. A 2011 Manhattan Institute analysis found that Marcellus Shale hydraulic fracturing is responsible for more than 57,000 jobs in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. The same report states that ending the New York moratorium would generate $11.4 billion, yes, I said billion, in economic output and increase state and local tax revenues by $1.4 billion! Which equates to lower school and property taxes for all of us in New York!
More important, it would create up to 18,000 plus, well paying jobs in Western New York alone and another estimated 90,000 jobs in other NYS shale fields such as Utica, which likes beneath the Marcellus.
There are many towns across New York State that have imposed unfair and misguided bans on drilling and this is due solely to misinformation and ignorance of the details on the actual hydraulic fracturing process. A perfect example is the city of Buffalo. Mayor Brown jumped on the ''banning bandwagon'' right from the beginning, either ignoring or simply not bothering to investigate the possible positive impact hydraulic fracturing could have on the city. Even though wells would not be placed within the city of Buffalo, the trickle down effect from the monies the Southern Tier landowners would receive, would be spent locally at large and small businesses alike. Cars would be purchased, farming equipment clothing, vacations, recreation equipment, the list goes on and on!
There are just too many positive facts about hydraulic fracturing to list in one article, so I suggest searching the web and get educated! Viewing ''Truthland'' would be a great start! It's a 35 minute documentary that gives a tremendous amount of information in a short period of time, easily understandable and to the point. Also, check out JLCNY (Joint Landowners coalition of NY), Energy tomorrow or IOGA of NY and visit the Showbelt Landowners Group online for dates and meeting locations. We have over 105,000 acres in our group and still growing. And if you have any concerns about the fluids used in the water during the hydrofracking process, check out FracFocus.org.
So, in closing, I ask you to not base your opinions about hydraulic fracturing on what you may have heard or seen on TV news, go search the web! Check out other states who are drilling (28 right now) and read what their environmental agencies have to say. Here are a few: Texas, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Mexico and Alabama.
This issue is vitally important to ALL of us! We desperately need energy independence from foreign countries, some of which have questionable loyalties to the United States! We must work hard now to keep our hard-earned money here in the United States!
By allowing hydraulic fracturing to move forward in New York which, by the way, has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, we'd be putting family and friends back to work, boost our own economy and keep our hard-earned money here at home where it belongs!
Janice L. Miller is a resident of Machias, N.Y.