Tom Armao and his group that goes by the misleading moniker, Citizen Voices, should set aside the worn-out rhetoric it routinely invokes when attacking those who care about the future of Otsego County.
It is a baseless ploy to accuse Sustainable Otsego of fronting one-dimensional candidates who are “opposed to everything.” Contrary to Armao’s comments, Sustainable Otsego has not taken a position against all forms of energy. Many of its members support renewables such as wind and agricultural biomass if responsibly designed and sited, as well as solar, which continues to gain strength despite attempts by the fossil fuel industry to squash it.
Fracking, however, is a dead end — environmentally and economically — and Sustainable Otsego’s candidates are not afraid to say so. If fracking ever came to Otsego County, it would not only threaten our air and water, but jeopardize an established market for tourism and locally grown produce that is intimately linked to our rural heritage and natural beauty.
Moreover, the simple fact that all but the dullest of gas zealots have come to realize is that fracking the lower-quality shale of Otsego County is unlikely to become a viable enterprise any time soon. So touting its imaginary benefits is a foolish distraction — one that hinders us from moving forward with economic pursuits that could actually bear fruit.
And this gets to the heart of what sustainability means. Taking the lead from entrepreneurs like Brewery Ommegang, which is bringing hops back to our region and continues to grow as an employer, Otsego County should encourage investments that build upon the strength of our past success. That is the secret to achieving economic prosperity while protecting quality of life.
The Sustainable Otsego candidates understand this better than anyone, which is why they have my vote this November.