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September 7, 2013

Frack dreams are based on hogwash

By Larry Bennett Local Commentary
The Daily Star

---- — Chuck Pinkey has never met an intellectually suspect right-wing idea he doesn’t adore.

The Daily Mail, his source for the U.K. Met Office “End of Global Warning,” story, is a conservative tabloid that condoned apartheid in SouthAfrica; that ran a story “Abortion hope after ‘gay genes,’” suggesting parents could use genetic testing to plan aborting a fetus testing positive for the so-called Xq98 ‘gay’ gene; and has run homophobic articles generating the largest number of press complaints ever received in England. The Daily Mail even ran an article saying “Just ONE cannabis joint can bring on schizophrenia as well as damaging memory” — an article debunked by the scientist who did the research. Dorothy Bishop, professor of neuroscience at Oxford, awarded the Daily Mail the “Orwellian Prize for Journalistic Misrepresentation,” calling the article “the worst misrepresentation of a scientific article in a national newspaper.”

For scientific authority, the Daily Mail appears to rank up with consulting your Ouija board.

Regarding Sustainable Otsego, Pinkey’s slams are predictable. His solution is more fossil-fuel extraction, more deregulation (how will that make gas drilling safer?) and more Walmart-style exploitation of suppliers, employees and customers.

His dismissal of local value-added agricultural products, presumably in favor of commodity dairy, is bizarre. Wishing for a return to the past is not an economic strategy — it’s a fantasy. Regrettably, no New York family dairy farm is ever again going to successfully compete with commodity milk from factory dairies. (Sad facts, but so are water supplies polluted by fracking, and just because you won’t believe the facts doesn’t make them untrue.)

Local dairy farmers will be forced to continue to depend on milk-price support and second jobs while they slowly go out of business. That’s the modern American business model that Mr. Pinkey simultaneously embraces and bemoans. One small example of potential economic revival is for the same dairy farms to make cheese with their milk, as almost 100 upstate dairy farms are successfully doing.

Finally, Mr. Pinkey’s stories of cash-rich folks from Pennsylvania with fracking checks are, like all of these pro-gas apologist stories, virtually always anecdotal. No names or references are ever given. It’s the Tooth Fairy story, with far less evidence. These same apologists never acknowledge the many who have suffered, and who stand up and offer their own names and faces along with their stories.

But I agree with Mr. Pinkey that we could all work together. Petroleum and coal aren’t going away tomorrow, and we understand that. One way we could work together, investing in and supporting alternative energy as we wean ourselves from fossil fuels, would allow us — and more importantly our children and grandchildren — to live in a better world for years to come. Tens of millions of Americans believe in, and are working toward, that future.

Unfortunately, folks like Mr. Pinkey seem only to envision the future as being like the past, except even more so. Corsets and coal-oil lamps, anyone?

Larry Bennett is a resident of East Meredith and the public relations manager for Brewery Ommegang.