This article is pulled from Marcellus Drilling news and does not include the links to photos it refers to. Seems over time the gloves have come off a bit with respect to the gov, giving him the full level of respect he deserves from those of us he has glibly pushed aside. New Yorks DEC should be educating all of us on the issues and laws surrounding natural gas, and likely would have if not gaged and threatened with their jobs.For our gov the Bully pulpit is just what it sounds like, a pulpit occupied by a self interested bully. JLCpulse
Pro-Drilling Rally Welcomes Pres. Obama in Binghamton Aug 23
Friday was a picture perfect, late summer/early fall day in Binghamton with temperatures around 75 degrees and blue skies. MDN editor Jim Willis had the pleasure of hanging out for a few hours with pro-drilling “salt of the earth” types of folks at Otsiningo Park in Binghamton, NY. About 250 pro-drillers were on hand with signs lined up along a fence bordering Interstate 81 to welcome President Barack Obama as his motorcade/bus whistled past the park on their way to Binghamton University where the President held a town hall meeting to discuss his education plans (i.e., have everyone else pay for your child’s college education via high taxes).
Drilling supporters were there to not only affirm and encourage Obama in his “support” of fracking, but to shame our spineless and indecisive governor, Andy Cuomo, for his lack of leadership on the issue of fracking and shale drilling. Drilling supporters want it known their patience has run out and they see Cuomo for what he is: kowtowing to the extreme left of his own party. It’s repugnant and it’s economically hurting landowners in the Southern Tier of New York State…
As we stood around waiting for the motorcade to fly by, MDN frequently heard cars and trucks blow their horns in support of drilling. Standing there, MDN had the chance to visit with Joint Landowners Coalition of New York (JLCNY) attorney Scott Kurkoski, JLCNY president Dan Fitzsimmons, JLCNY member and Broome County Legislator Steve Herz (Democrat), and JLCNY member/landowner and the event’s organizer, Vic Furman. We asked Vic if he felt the turnout was a good one. At around 250 people, he said it was a great turnout given the beautiful day and that many of their members are farmers out in the fields “making hay while the sun shines.”
We asked Scott Kurkoski about the status of the Middlefield lawsuit (see Landowner, Norse File Appeal with NY’s Highest Court on Town Bans for background on the case). Scott said the New York Court of Appeals (NY’s highest court) is still on summer recess and won’t be back until after Labor Day. He expects to hear more in September or October about whether or not the high court will hear the appeal of the Middlefield (and Dryden) case. He also said, “Look at Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court. They’re considering a zoning case. We don’t see how the NY Court of Appeals cannot consider this case–it’s too important and affects too many people.”
Dan Fitzsimmons was upbeat as always. He’s committed to fighting the good fight. We also spoke with Steve Howard, a Conklin, NY resident there to support the cause. Steve brought along his Toyota pickup truck that he himself converted to duel-fuel–it runs on compressed natural gas (CNG) as well as gasoline (see pictures below). Steve was busy talking with people, answering questions about where he gets CNG in the Binghamton area (yes, there is a local public filling station not many know about), what kind of mileage he gets, and a plethora of other questions fired at him from people interested in possibly doing the same.
There was plenty of media on hand: all of the local television stations, the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin–even a reporter from The Wall Street Journal. As the appointed hour arrived, the crowd gathered at the fence with their signs and waved and shouted as the President’s motorcade sailed by around high noon (see pictures below).
Following the President’s motorcade, supporters gathered at a nearby pavilion in the park to eat pizza and here a string of speakers address the crowd, to encourage them and motivate them to continue the fight to allow shale drilling in New York State. JLCNY attorney Scott Kurkoski, sounding more and more like someone running for office himself these days, wound up the crowd with a stirring speech. Scott said the eyes the entire state and the nation were on us today. He noted that Friday marked exactly five years and one month since the moratorium on drilling went into effect, stating, “Who would have ever thought it would be possible that it could be so long?” He said the entire nation now knows of Gov. Cuomo’s dereliction of duty as governor on the issue of drilling, and he noted that even Gov. Jerry Brown–liberal of liberals–is about to sign legislation in California to allow fracking. Kurkoski said, “Can you believe our governor is left of Jerry Brown?” to much laughter and applause.
Kurkoski also needled Gov. Cuomo for not allowing the state Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to publicly discuss their research findings on the shale drilling/fracking issue. He said, in so many words, that Cuomo has muzzled the DEC and the situation is an outrage. The DEC has the research and science (that Cuomo keeps referring to) to show that fracking is safe–yet Cuomo won’t allow them to release it.
Following Kurkoski was local Assemblyman Clifford Crouch, who voiced his strong support for shale drilling. Crouch said it’s important to keep up the fight, and he accused the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of “talking out of both sides of its mouth” on the drilling issue by ruling that fracking didn’t cause pollution in Dimock and yet crafting strick new rules to limit it.
The director of the New York State Petroleum Council, Karen Moreau, also addressed the group. Karen said the question is not whether or not drilling will happen–she believes it will happen, sooner or later. The question, she said, is whether it will happen in time to save thousands of small farmers from losing their land to big corporations and wealthy downstaters. She believes anti-drilling forces are attempting to delay new drilling rules in a bid to drive poor farmers off land that in many cases has been in their families for generations. Fracking can literally save the family farm in New York State, according to Moreau.
MDN friend Tom Shepstone (from Energy in Depth and the excellent Natural Gas Now website) also took to the stage and encouraged the crowd. Tom said shale drilling is not a partisan issue–we need both liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans to rally to the cause. He sees just that happening. He noted there are “powerful forces” aligned against landowners who want to lease their land, including anti-drilling groups like the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC). He observed that Gov. Cuomo packed one of his shale advisory committees with three members from the NRDC alone! What does that tell you about who has Cuomo’s ear on this issue?
After the speeches supporters, started to drift away. It was a good day–a day to reconnect and see others in the trenches with you. A day of encouragement. A day to celebrate. A day to stoke the fires of hope that one day New York will see shale drilling.