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

Guest Column

December 21, 2013

Nimbys, shills and celebs: A morality play for our times


They aren’t covered, and you aren’t either. Neither your homeowner’s insurance nor your mortgage company allow drilling. Quoting again from the NYS Bar Association Journal: “Residential mortgages prohibit borrowers from committing waste, damage or destruction or causing substantial change to the mortgaged property or allowing a third party to do so. This includes operations for gas drilling.”

If you drill, you default on your mortgage. Additionally, “many upstate New York homeowners with gas leases cannot obtain mortgages. Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Provident Funding, GMAC, FNCB, Fidelity and First Liberty, First Place Bank, Solvay Bank, Tompkins Trust Company, CFCU Community Credit Union and others are either imposing large buffer zones (too large for many borrowers) around the home as a condition to the loan or not granting a mortgage at all.”

Industry talking points include supposed economic benefits. But Pennsylvania trails the nation in job creation, Harrisburg has a $12 million dollar deficit and the Pennsylvania Department of Education is $300 million in the hole and plans to fire 4,000 teachers and close 23 schools. Median income for target communities in New York is already higher, in all but a couple of cases, than it is in the fracked communities of Pennsylvania, according to peer-reviewed research by economist Dr. Jannette M. Barth.

Penn State is contradicting Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett’s inflated employment numbers. And the folks in Colorado, who ought to know how great fracking is, rejected it when they voted on Nov. 5.

The industry claims that celebrities are driving the opposition to drilling, and that it is funded by green charities. Yoko Ono gets her picture in the paper more than I do, but how many town board meetings have you seen her at? Are environmental organizations somehow funding protests with address labels and calendars?

They are definitely not buying up politicians at the rate the oil companies are. Election results in Colorado are surprising: anti-drill organizations spent $26,000, compared to the corporate millions expended to block frack-ban efforts.

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