JLCNY (Politely) Tells Cuomo to Wise Up and Look at PA

The president of the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York (and MDN friend) Dan Fitzsimmons published an op-ed in yesterday’s Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin. Without naming names (cough *Cuomo* cough), Dan says “New Yorkers” should look to our neighbors just across the border to the south for examples of what can happen when safe natural gas drilling is allowed. He provides some startling facts and figures…

New Yorkers can learn from our neighbors south of the border.

Doug McLinko, chairman of the county commissioners of Bradford County, Pa., said in a radio interview last week that more than $100 million was put into the assessed value of his county by businesses operating in the Marcellus Shale. As a result, Bradford County’s debt was eliminated.

The trigger for this growth was drilling activity in the Marcellus Shale. With more than 1,800 Marcellus wells drilled to date and no safety or health risks, Bradford County is enjoying unprecedented prosperity.

McLinko also said more than $1.5 billion was put into the general fund in Pennsylvania, which will benefit all Pennsylvanians. He is also looking past positive effects in his own community and acknowledging that production of domestic natural gas could make the United States an “energy superpower”:

“When you look at what natural gas does, it keeps our kids home, we’ve cut taxes, eliminated debt, we put people to work, we’re saving family farms, we’re keeping open space and greenways. All of the ways out of our financial problems lay under our feet, and we need to develop it.”

New York shares the same geology as Pennsylvania; yet, as business and families flourish in Bradford County, it’s a different story in New York’s Southern Tier, just minutes over the border. Unemployment is more than 10 percent. The population loss is significant because key businesses have closed. Property rates are significantly higher, creating more financial burden on taxpayers.

Gary Baker, president of Memorial Hospital in Towanda (also in Bradford County), put health fears to rest when he said he wasn’t aware of any diseases or maladies related to chemical or water contamination as a result of hydraulic fracturing. He has seen positive changes as Pennsylvanians thrive with a more stable economy and business growth.

Consider the converting aging coal-fuel power plants to natural gas lowers costs for New York’s lagging manufacturing economy while contributing toward cleaner air. Power plants in western and central New York are proposing this change. Not only will conversion eliminate sulfur and mercury as well as lower carbon dioxide emissions, it also will create hundreds of construction jobs and keep these plants open.

But, in New York, we only see one delay after another while we starve New Yorkers by cutting off opportunity. Pennsylvania prospers while New York is paralyzed. Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell said it best in his article in the New York Daily News: “If we choose to embrace natural gas, it will help us get past a number of significant economic and environmental challenges. On the other hand, if we let fear carry the day, we will squander another key moment to move forward together.”

New Yorkers, this is our time. Let’s embrace this opportunity bringing us closer to achieving energy independence, cleaner air and economic prosperity.*

*Binghamton (NY) Press & Sun-Bulletin (Apr 1, 2013) – Guest Viewpoint: N.Y. should look south for inspiration