Baseball Hall of Fame Opposes Fracking in Cooperstown
Last week was opening day for the National Baseball League. Here in Washington, D.C., that means that every team, even the Washington Nationals, is still in contention for the playoffs, even if some are already having a losing season. As ballparks around the nation welcome back their home teams and kick off the season, we are reminded of the hard work, strategy and hope that are associated with winning. For those of us who are working hard to develop a sound strategy with the hope of winning the battle against fracking, we just got a boost of support from an institution that knows a lot about winning: The National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. While it is certainly rare that an entity like a museum would take a political stance of any sort, the fight against fracking is now the official cause of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The Hall, as baseball fans commonly refer to it, recently decided to back the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce who established a resolution against fracking back in February by officially condemning it. (Good call.) The baseball museum, which is in the middle of the Marcellus Shale region in Otsego County, NY, is concerned about preserving the beauty of Cooperstown, as well as its legacy as a tourist destination.
The best part of their official statement echoes like the crack of a bat:
“Like the Chamber of Commerce and virtually every other area business, the Museum concludes that hydrofracking could present an unacceptable risk to the local environment, the economy and the quality of life for both local residents and tourists.”
The Hall’s announcement emphasizes how the tourism industry in the region would be affected by fracking’s negative impact. Approximately two million tourists visit Cooperstown every year. There is tremendous power in dollars, so when businesses are affected, people pay attention. And they talk… And the word spreads…
Tourism is not the only industry fired up about fracking in New York. What goes great with baseball? Beer! Cooperstown’s own Ommegang Brewery, maker of Belgian-style ales, also released a statement opposing fracking due to its potential to pollute their main ingredient: water. They have been talking with other breweries in New York State about this issue. In fact, New York State Brewers Association President David Katleski is personally opposed to fracking and, though he does not oppose it on behalf of the New York State Brewers Association, he believes that the organization will come out with a formal position within the next few weeks. They represents68 breweries (69 if you include Anheiser Busch). If they join the anti-fracking camp, that’s another industry’s economic power to help influence decision makers.
Baseball is a game of attrition. Each team plays 162 games in a season with the goal of winning enough games to have a chance at making the playoffs and, hopefully, the World Series. Sounds a lot like the battle against fracking. We need to win a lot of small victories in order to have a chance at convincing legislatures to ban it. It’s good to know that we just got a few much-needed wins.
We’d like to officially invite any living members of the Baseball Hall of Fame (we can at least try), and certainly any of its employees, as well as all residents of New York to join us in Albany on Monday, April 11 for a Fracking Day of Action.