New President and Board Members for Central New York Landowner’s Coalition

MDN received the following email noting changes in the leadership of the Central New York Landowner’s Coalition:

Transition In The Leadership of the Central New York Landowner’s Coalition
Bringing you up-to-speed on these recent developments.
June 3, 2010

Just two weeks ago, a special meeting was held at the office of Levene, Gouldin and Thompson, our coalition’s legal representation. Present at the meeting were our attorney, steering committee members (Todd Barnes, Charlie Rowe, Hank Tumilowicz, Kern Walling, Abbie Tamber and Brian Conover) along with some of the more active members of our landowner forum. After discussing specific ways to help our coalition become stronger, the committee voted on certain leadership changes that you need to be aware of.

After 2 years of sacrificial and loyal service, Richard Lasky, our coalition president stepped aside from his position. His farewell note follows this notice.  Richard is known for investing his personal time, finances and talents to grow the coalition from the ground up to where it is today. This coalition would not be all it is without his leadership, dedication and sacrifice. Following the acknowledgment of this decision, the steering committee nominated and voted Brian Conover as our current president. Brian has served with Richard and the steering committee for the past two years.

After much positive discussion between the forum members and the steering committee, the steering committee members present saw an opportunity for the forum individuals to rise to the occasion and give of their energy and perspective to help advance the coalition. The greatest tasks of the coalition have already been accomplished: our lease is completed, our members and community have been educated, our coalition has grown to the largest coalition in New York State, and our hard-working committee members receive credit along with Mr. Lasky for these accomplishments. However, recognizing the future needs of the coalition to grow our political voice and continue to fill in our coalition acreage, the steering committee encouraged these individuals to fill their positions and continue the purposes to which they dedicated over two years of their life advancing. The landowner forum representatives then formed an advisory committee that worked in coordination with our attorneys and Brian Conover to give immediate direction and helped establish a new formal steering committee. The new steering committee members are … Steve Gage, Chris Babcock, Lee Schultz, Scott Utter, Sean Campbell along with Wilma Gorrell and Brian Conover from the previous committee.  Additional committee members will be added in the future as representatives for various areas of the coalition range.

Please know that our commitments to the landowners of this coalition are unchanged. We do appreciate your loyalty to the coalition purposes as well as your understanding through this transition. Another newsletter update will be arriving in the near future announcing the JLC Albany rally on June 9th and also promoting our coalition values and direction for the future.

Grateful for all that has been done – excited about our future,

Brian Conover


Farewell Note From Richard Lasky

Two years ago, a small group of committed landowners assembled in my living room to contemplate a growing crisis: landmen were combing our hills and valleys and leasing land from folks who had no idea of the issues surrounding natural gas, or how to effectively form a business partnership with an energy company. Destitute farmers and elderly people were gleefully signing over their mineral rights without understanding how to ask for protections for land, air and water and for pennies and dollars per acre. As we sat and faced the music – we knew we had a choice: bury our heads in the sand and let the events unfold – or spring into action and create an educational outreach program to make formidable partners of landowners around the central and southern parts of NY who could face energy companies with knowledge, fortitude, and power. Many times in my life I have recalled the words of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, a German playwright and poet who said, “What is my life if I am no longer useful to others.”

That sentiment in mind, two years later, it is clear which path we struck. Today, I am proud to have presided over the Central NY Landowners Coalition (CNY) which has grown to almost 170,000 acres of land, comprising the largest regional coalition in the state.  To the members of CNY, I pledged to make sure that people who did not know how to protect themselves could be given all the information they needed so that they could make the right choice about leasing their land.

It has been my passion to bring hope to this area; hope that we can rise above the economic challenges of our day, hope that we can protect our environment and way of life through this drilling endeavor and hope that the future of our great state will, one day, exceed anything in its glorious past. Although I leave behind my term as president of the Central NY Landowners Coalition, that hope in me yet lives on. I thank you for your work, for your support but mostly for your friendship. I wish you all Godspeed.

Richard Lasky