The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Chuck Pinkey

November 8, 2011

Beware of group seeking to control drilling rights

Today is Election Day. Thank goodness the campaigning is over! Seems like every October and November, our roads are lined with thousands of campaign signs and slogans. There are so many that one begins to ignore them, much like "Rollback Pricing" at Walmart.

However, a few did catch my attention. My favorite is "Hope Beers." Mm, beer! Now there is a campaign promise that I and my fellow rednecks can get behind!

Another interesting one is for coroner. I never realized that it was an elected position, and just what campaign slogans or promises can a coroner use? How about, "Never an unsatisfied customer" or "I'll check you twice, before they slice and dice."

Seriously, we must vote.

In county and town board elections, a small group called Sustainable Otsego is pushing hard for its candidates. This organization states, "At least 33 anti-fracking candidates will be on the ballot in Otsego County in this fall's local elections for town boards, Oneonta city council, and the Otsego County Board of Representatives."

Sustainable Otsego advertises itself as, "A framework for people advocating and implementing sustainable practices in Otsego County."

Sounds so caring and sincere, but beware! At stake is everyone's property rights.

Sure, they are anti-fracking, but this is also a campaign to take over county, town and city boards. It is a veiled attempt to load local boards with the most liberal, left-leaning, regulation-happy bunch of individuals imaginable.

Gas exploration and fracking are being used as an excuse to seize power. The stand of board members will likely be irrelevant, because there is a strong legal precedent that town and county boards have no regulatory authority, unless specifically delegated to them by the state. State law allows for gas drilling, and even Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pro-drilling. We are now awaiting final Department of Environmental Conservation permit regulations.

I'd bet Sustainable Otsego is made up of the same tree-hugging and endangered-toad-loving individuals behind attempts to ban motor boats on Otsego Lake, stopping the expansion of baseball camps in the town of Otsego, and restricting the growth of business in the Cooperstown area.

Even the name sounds eerie. Sustainable Otsego! Just what is going on in this county that is not sustainable? What pressure from industry, agriculture or development is plaguing the area and stressing us to the point of unsustainability?

Farmers are an endangered species, small towns have lost their schools and stores, few mom-and-pop businesses survive, and graduates must leave the area to find a career. Yes, sir, let's "sustain" this trend.

To illustrate the effects of gas exploration, there is a New Holland dealer in Allis Hollow, Pa. Selling farm machinery in the mountains of northern Pennsylvania has never been very "sustainable," and on top of that, this old gent has lost all of his personnel to higher-paying jobs with local energy companies.

I bet old Bob will retire and sell his land for more per acre than he ever thought possible. So much for decimating land values. And shockingly, he knows of no one who has had any adverse effects from gas exploration. How can this be?

It has always bothered me that no matter what the business expansion, the same "antis" are opposed to it for one reason or another. Be it gas exploration, windmills, baseball camps, a new Walmart, or even a fast-food store, the same liberal, anti-business, sky-is-falling individuals will always be against it.

Instead of embracing progress and prosperity, they wring their hands in worry, posture themselves as loving and caring, and stymie the efforts of others. They lay claim to our property rights and will use any means necessary to further their goals. Don't be fooled by nice packaging like "Sustainable Otsego."

Note 1: The Constitution says that, " ... the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." The Supreme Court has affirmed this. Yet, every day more laws are proposed to take that right away. On Sunday at 1 p.m. in the Covered Bridge Gardens located at 1532 Covered Bridge Road in Unadilla, we'll be talking about the Second Amendment and the intent of our Founding Fathers. For more information, please call 988-7470 or 433-2073.

Note 2: To honor our veterans, the Oneonta Community Christian School is having its annual Veterans Day Celebration. Veterans, their stories and the remarkable students of OCCS will inspire you. This extraordinary celebration is from 1 to 3:30 p.m. The school is located at 158 River St" Oneonta. Refreshments are served, and all are welcome to attend.

Special note: Dick Mead -- Rest in peace, old friend. A finer man we've never met. God bless you.

Chuck Pinkey is the owner of River Valley New Holland Inc. in Otego. He can be reached at The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect those of The Daily Star and its editorial board.

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