Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address was interesting to many in Schoharie County, not for what he said, but for what he didn’t say.
Nowhere in his address did he mention fracking. This caused much discussion among activists here in Schoharie county, who are still dealing with this issue, even though the Marcellus Shale in our neighborhood is thin at best, and many local communities have enacted tough regulations about land and road use to circumvent this industry.
It’s still an issue here, and local activists still speak out, most recently marching to Albany with a Buddhist nun on the day of the governor’s address.
County residents were also a little relieved when rumors spread that the Constitution Pipeline has changed its proposed route to much farther south, but no official word has yet been released. The feeling that we have dodged a bullet is tempting, along with the governor’s silence on the subject, and there is — dare we say it? — hope.
Since the moratorium and the wait for various scientific and health studies, locals have viewed this postponement as a blessing.
Time to be informed
The more time that passes, the more bad news about the health and environmental effects of fracking appears in the media.
Reports of earthquakes, water pollution, soil damage and serious health effects (and these effects often take a long time to show up) cannot but help the governor see that this industry is far past unsafe, no matter how many jobs and how much money it promises. These promises have rung hollow, over and over.
European. British, South African and Australian fracking reports have been negative and scary. The French have banned fracking outright, and even President Vladimir Putin in Russia has stated that he is opposed to fracking, though to many Americans that is hardly a vote for banning it here.
It’s a strange world where environmental sanity comes from a nation we have been brought up to distrust, and think of as “the enemy.”
The Associated Press reported, in its slanted manner of using loaded words and subtle spin, that the energy industry wants to be able to export natural gas. Companies claim the Department of Energy is “violating their trade obligations” and “causing the U.S. to lose billions of dollars in the global gas market.”
Read that sentence again.
What trade obligations? Who is losing billions — the United States or the energy companies? Do these companies even pay taxes? How about those giveaways we’ve doled out to them forever? What on earth are they talking about?
If it isn’t clear, you’re not paying attention. The word you’re looking for is “greed,” shameless and immoral.
When local anti-fracking activists present scientific data, and there is plenty of it, it is reported that they “believe” it is unsafe.
This is not a matter of belief. They don’t use faith-based science. They use solid scientific and overwhelming anecdotal evidence.
Is this like saying that there is no such thing as global warming because it’s so cold this winter? Oh please. We passed the tipping point for dangerous climate change nearly five years ago, and some scientists even believe it’s too late now.
So we should just keep drilling and polluting and destroying because there’s nothing we can do about it anyway? We might as well make money, right?
I guess it depends on who “we” are.
Still on agenda
Drilling in the melting Arctic Circle, in the vast gas plays found off the shores of Israel, continuing to plan for thousands of wells in the United States and in the Gulf of Mexico (which is, for all intents and purposes, dead for sea life but sitting on vast quantities of oil and gas) is still on the agenda.
Never mind that worldwide shortages of water are currently critical, and each well that is fracked requires millions of gallons of fresh water to drill.
And don’t even talk about the multiplicity of reports about toxic waste, train wrecks and pipeline spills all over the world. Have we lost our minds? Or is it just that the decision- makers, like Zero Mostel in “The Producers,” “want that money.”
When the air is unbreathable, the soil destroyed, the toxic water killing us and our plants and animals, and our land is shattered by earthquakes, someone better come up with a way to eat all that cash, because there will be nothing else.
But that’s just our opinion.
Karen Cookson lives in Sharon Springs and is a regular contributor to the Sunday Opinion section.