Binghamton Resident to Gov. Cuomo: Thanks for Nothing [Free]

Binghamton-area landowner Bill Owen has written numerous times to Gov. Andrew Cuomo to encourage the governor to allow fracking in New York State. His reward? To end up on Cuomo’s feckless email list. Earlier this week Bill recently received a “Happy Thanksgiving” email from Cuomo, so Bill thought he would respond. His excellent letter back to Cuomo (who will likely never read it, but hey, you never know!) is reprinted below:

Dear Governor Cuomo,

Thank you for the Thanksgiving wishes, but here in Upstate (remember us?) we are hurting this season. Despite the 2% tax cap, my school taxes went up 10% this year with no apparent change in the value of my house, the equalization rate, or any  other discernable reason. Farmers are worried about keeping their farms in the face of this sort of tax increase. Endicott Interconnect Technologies has announced more layoffs. With the looming fiscal cliff, I could lose my job if sequestration occurs and there are cuts to the defense budget. There is little hope, and we’ve lost faith in you. Why? Because despite your promises to let science decide the future of natural gas drilling, you have demonstrated not leadership, but crass political expediency. The DEC has invested countless man-hours in drafting the most comprehensive, responsible set of regulations that exist anywhere in the United States, including reviews of all the relevant health studies. And then, at the last minute, you decide to cave to the Hollywood crowd and require a review of the health issues. If you were serious, this could have been announced MONTHS ago instead of at the last minute. Is hobnobbing with a has-been like Yoko Ono or the likes of Lady Gaga (neither of whom have any credentials whatsoever) more important than the constituents you are sworn to represent? If you were a real leader you would be as concerned about jobs as you are about social issues such as gay marriage.

The case for safe natural gas drilling has been made, but you are ignoring the facts. I know that one of your objectives is to close down the Indian Point nuclear power plant. What will that be replaced with? Wind? Solar? Very doubtful – the Indian Point plant produces something on the order of 2,000 megawatts of power. The best technology in wind power is about 2 megawatts of power per turbine. That’s about 1,000 turbines IF the wind blows consistently enough for each turbine to produce its rated power. What would your environmental friends think of the massive clear-cutting to provide that sort of solution? Solar – worse yet in terms of area, and the production of solar cells is not without environmental damage since most of the manufacturing has gone to China. Clean natural gas would be the natural fit, but you have turned your back on it. Do your downstate and city backers who lobby against natural gas realize that almost 60% of New York City’s energy needs are met by natural gas? Probably not, or they do not care. Next time you see Yoko Ono, ask her how her apartment is heated. When Mark Ruffalo files in from California, ask him about the environmental damage in China caused by production of his solar cells, and why he needed us, the taxpayers to fund the energy credits for his little project. Ask them all for documented evidence that substantiates any of their claims. They cannot provide it. Lisa Jackson of the EPA has stated that there are no documented cases of groundwater pollution. Health in areas where drilling is occurring is actually increasing, as people have jobs and income from leasing and royalties that allows them to afford health care. Think about them as you enjoy your dinner tomorrow.

Many of us have supported you in your efforts to get the budget out on time, to promote social equality and to take care of the other issues of the day. And in return all we have asked is the right to develop the resources under our land – the rights granted to us by the US Constitution and the State of New York – and you have turned your back on us by slow-walking safe drilling to a certain death, all in the name not of science, but political expediency.

We are very disappointed in you, Governor Cuomo. We thought better of you than this. And any hopes that might have for higher office will be ruined because you have done nothing to create jobs. We look to the south of the Southern Tier, and we see jobs in Pennsylvania. We see good roads, we see clean water, we see no evidence whatsoever of groundwater contamination. Meanwhile on our side of the border we see desperation, we see crumbling infrastructure, layoffs, and increasing taxes. It’s not a pretty picture.

Bill Owen

(reprinted with permission, received by Bill Own Nov 21, 2012)