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

December 28, 2013

Informed citizens will decide on fracking

The Daily Star

---- — The public hearing, prior to the Hartwick Town Board’s vote in favor of a moratorium preventing exploration or extraction of natural gas or petroleum, was attended by a significant number of people who neither own property in or are residents of the township.

The list of visiting commentators included a number of well-known advocates for hydraulic fracturing for natural gas such as Marie Lusins, Dick Downey and Uni Blake. Their criticisms of Hartwick’s economic health and their observations about lack of need to be proactive were predictable and to be expected. I guess they like to interfere in other municipalities since their broken records are close to being worn out in their home turfs. Heavy industry is something most rural communities welcome only after careful scrutiny.

The small, traditional family farms have been in stress and disappearing from our regional economy for a long time. The salvation, which those who remain perceive the natural gas rush will provide to them, is a temporary illusion at best that would diminish property values, make property both unmortgage-able and uninsure-able, and ultimately contaminate precious water supplies.

If that’s the kind of legacy these outsiders want to leave for future generations on their own properties, they are welcome to do so, as long as their actions do not interfere with their neighbors’ mineral rights and property values.

Dave Parker from Worcester observes that the “tactics of activists” are devoid of logic and common sense. The opponents of fracking can make the same claim about the pro-drilling contingent. There’s a lot more science and common sense on the side of the opponents than there is from the proponents. The rhetorical debate will continue and neither side will ever convince the other. The marketplace and an informed citizenry will be the final arbiters.

Tom Pritchard

Milford (Town of Hartwick)