State’s latest delay over fracking is politically driven
Re your Sept. 27 editorial, “Informed debate needed on fracking’s health impacts”: The state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) suspended the issuing of drilling permits for natural gas development four years ago.
The massive Marcellus Shale deposit, underlying much of southern New York state, western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio, was an energy game-changer for the nation. Vast quantities of natural gas energy, estimated in the hundreds of trillion cubic feet (tcf), are found in the Marcellus and underlying Utica shale deposits. The importance of this resource is underscored with the understanding that our annual national consumption of natural gas is approximately 20 tcf.
Alleged and unproven problems with natural gas development in Pennsylvania and elsewhere caused the DEC to suspend the issuing of development permits pending a comprehensive environmental review. The outcome of this study was a document of almost 1,000 pages called a Supplement to the Generic Environmental Impact Study (SGEIS).
The study process involved public hearings where the voices of tens of thousands of people were heard. The great majority who testified or submitted written statements were against resource development, believing erroneous and unfounded reports that modern natural gas development was a serious threat to the public health and safety.
The experienced DEC energy engineers that performed the study, and drafted the strict regulations that will govern resource development, have no axe to grind. The DEC’s goal is to remain neutral and allow the best available science to evolve into regulations that govern development and protect the public.
Unfortunately, the organized opposition is not interested in science. When word leaked that the DEC was about to approve the new stringent regulations and allow permitting for gas well development, the opposition appealed to state Environmental Commissioner Joseph Martens and to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Instead of rejecting the appeal on established science assembled by his own department, the commissioner sidestepped the decision and asked the Health Department to make an “independent review.” That tactic simply delays the decision, certainly past the upcoming election date, at unknown but great taxpayer cost.
An obvious question: Where will the Health Department’s “independent review” find more experienced personnel than DEC staff engineers?
Enough is enough! Issue the regulations and allow development of our natural resources!
The writer is a retired engineer.
Voters need to get to the truth, hard as that may be
With our country in a state of turmoil, one would think that those campaigning for election would start telling us the truth.
The American public should not be deluged with lies and half-truths. They should be told the absolute truth, so they may make informed decisions.
Of course, we know this will never happen. Instead of giving us the facts, the pols are too busy digging up dirt on one another. Both sides are equally guilty. Instead of researching an issue to get to the core of it, the public would rather rely on Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter or Rachel Maddow to tell them what to do. How utterly irresponsible.
We are at a crucial point in our nation’s history. We could be on the brink of war with Iran, we are at war in Afghanistan, the Muslim world is condemning us on many fronts, our economy is not great and Social Security and Medicare could well be in jeopardy; yet we are still being bombarded with drivel by our elected officials and those who want to take their jobs. Is this responsibility?
If these politicians are allowed to lie to us now, imagine what they will do once in office, where they become almost untouchable.
No matter what party you may be affiliated with, think about how your candidate is acting and check out his/her views before casting your vote.
Fear over Iran using bomb seems overblown
The president of Iran was interviewed on CNN again and gave a reasonable explanation of why his country wouldn’t be a world threat even if it had an A-bomb.
Standing behind Iran’s consistent position that their intentions were not to develop an A-bomb, he said they were an intelligent people and that their religion would prohibit the use of such a weapon. “What would one bomb do against the 55 held by the United States?” was his final defense.
Perhaps we should be more concerned about Pakistan and its A-bomb, with its powerful, extremist element active and presently in combat with our forces in Afghanistan. Perhaps [if we] recognized Iran with respect as an equal power, negotiation would be a more popular alternative than military force.
As FDR wisely said as he led us out of the Great Depression, there is “nothing to fear but fear itself.” Fear confuses the issues and our sense of reason.
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