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

Guest Column

August 10, 2013

Finding common ground for the common good


Some groups have already made up their mind with regards to the use of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” to capture the gas reserves. Citizen Voices has not taken a position either for or against as it awaits a determination by DEC that it can be done safely and in a manner that protects our environment. Taking that approach allows for an ongoing acceptance of new information prior to making a decision.

Once we make a decision, it’s our nature to accept new information that supports our decision and reject information that isn’t consistent with that decision. Thus we lock into that position and are no longer open-minded and able to incorporate new information into our decision-making process.

Attempts to locate a biomass plant at the rail yard were opposed, as were attempts to locate wind farms. Hydro projects are fraught with environmental issues and solar is simply not yet economical.

The article cites local success stories and states they were “unpredictable, spontaneous initiatives by individuals with vision who knew how to execute.” The Constitution Pipeline Project is an example of just that and could provide both short and long-term economic benefit – yet some oppose it.

Tourism is the second-largest industry in the state, yet lacks the coordinated effort at the state and local levels needed for our region to realize its full potential.

Growth must be steady in order to be sustainable. In today’s world, if you’re standing still you’re losing ground. Cost-of-living increases will eat your budget alive — and that means more taxes for the same level of service.

What is “realm” and what can be developed in the near term? The area is blessed with abundant natural resources, I-88, two colleges, two health-care facilities, the rail yard and a quality workforce.

Let’s stop saying we’re “for” this and “against” that and focus on the “how.” How can we take advantage of what we have to better our lot – both for now and for the future?

MIKE ZAGATA is a former state Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner, Ruffed Grouse Society president and oil company executive.

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