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

August 7, 2013

Make rules that are based on science

The Daily Star

---- — At the first landowners meeting I attended in 2008, some people were already convinced that bringing gas drilling into our community was in everyone’s best interest — especially their own. These “true believers” decided the benefits of industrial-scale gas drilling outweighed the risks in the absence of any supporting evidence because they believed gas industry safety claims were legitimate, truthful and accurate.

They were unconcerned that the system was rigged by the industry with the help of its Albany lobbyist-lawyer, who convinced the DEC earlier to push Compulsory Integration (CI) to the New York State Legislature to “maximize gas production,” and legislation that pre-empted local zoning laws to ensure no opposition to the gas industry’s plans of “community industrialization.”

CI is basically legalized piracy enabling drillers and colluding landowners to take oil or gas from a neighbor refusing to “play ball” and lease their land. Local zoning rights have been upheld by NY Courts, will CI?We now know the gas industry cannot operate without causing a multitude of problems over time, that “safe & responsible” gas drilling belies a ruthless and reckless industry operating with a blatant disregard for public health and safety, that “bad things” tend to happen to residents living within a mile of active oil or gas wells (farther even), and that the DEC’s suggested setback of a few hundred feet doesn’t come close to protecting nearby residents from potentially catastrophic drilling impacts. 

We also know stray methane migration is a problem endemic to drilling, and that there is a strong likelihood that shallow pockets of pressurized methane will become disturbed and mobilized, seeking the path of least resistance.

We demand protection from an out-of-control industry, and we deserve regulations based on science and not the “faith-based” approach offered by the gas industry, DEC, and some landowners.

Richard Averett