One More Day to Act: Gas Drilling May Begin in New York Soon
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The New York Times reported last weekend that they spent many millions of dollars in the last eight months in Albany on lobbyists. They didn't even calculate the money they spent on ad campaigns -- probably in the billions in New York -- and they gave over $100,000 to Cuomo directly into his pocket, and that was straight industry-to-Cuomo money. We don't even know how much money ... there are secondary and sort of more crafty ways of funneling gas cash to the governor.
So, you know, the fix is in. But we're going to just fight. You know, we're not going to stop. We're not going to lose. We're going to die with our boots on. You know, we're just not going to go away, and we're going to stand up and be proud, and we're going to talk about people and communities and health and the environment, and they're going to talk about money.
This is an opportunity for public participation in a process that's fixed, and the activists have been there out there every day, year in and year out, fighting this fight.
Jeff Golliher: I'm a priest in Ellenville, Episcopal Church, and I'm representing the Episcopal Diocese of New York. We have 62,000 members including the city and seven northern counties as far north as Ulster and Sullivan. And we're always concerned about the communities that our members are part of, and this issue is one that raises a lot of issues about the health and well-being of communities. So, it becomes a major issue.
Ultimately, the main one is going to be the ground water ... water itself. I mean, jobs are an issue. Property values are an issue, and how deep drilling could affect that. In a certain sense, the decisions that we have to make now -- hopefully that the people make -- are a moral issue, and it's really what kind of risks are we willing to take, and on what basis, and do we have the information that we need to take.
But the position of the church about this is that it's not exactly being for or against natural gas. The issue is how to maintain the integrity and health of people in the communities, and provide a strategy for economic development actually allows us to have a sustainable future.
We would strongly advise against any kind of development that could endanger the possibility of not only an unhealthy place to live, but one where people might not want to invest in this area because there has been so damage done. And it's a question of risk, you know, and how much risk is anyone willing to take when it comes to family and friends, or even people we don't know. That's the question people are really asking, I think.
But we would say that no risk is acceptable when it comes to the health of people and the environment. There is no risk that's acceptable, and especially when you don't really know ... Accidents always happen -- always will. You can count on it. That's the way we see it, really.
We don't see people on different sides of this issue as being enemies, but being afraid for what the future is going to mean. And often, when we're afraid, we don't make good decisions, for the long term or for the present.
We're interested in community here.
Leah Maidenbaum: I am here at the DEC meeting because I'm against fracking. I'm a mother who has written a letter to Governor Cuomo with over 200 signatures of mothers of Sullivan County against fracking, and I don't believe the DEC's regulations are going to protect us at all. I don't believe that fracking should be done at all in New York State, and so I'm here.