Pipeline wouldn’t be a benefit
At the FERC Scoping Hearing, Mayor Richard Miller compared the benefits of the pipeline with the benefits of I-88, without which “Oneonta would be a wasteland.” What benefits and what Oneonta was he talking about?
Before I-88 scarred one of the most exquisite valleys in the United States and sucked the life out of all the towns and villages along its path, here in Franklin we had a lively economy, all locally owned: department store, building supplies/lumber store, three small gas stations, two groceries, hardware stores, two feed stores, a furniture store, a barbershop.
We now live in an extraction economy, the fundamental characteristic of an impoverished third world country. Extraction takes away and does not, cannot replenish. It is the history of all colonial economies and it is happening right here. And that is why we are getting poorer and poorer. Greater and greater concentration of money and power in fewer and fewer hands, further and further away.
Studies show that over 59 percent of money spent in locally owned retail business remains in the local economy while less than 14 percent of non-locally owned retail income stays. The industrialization of agriculture is killing off the family farm, as well as the cheap food policy that encourages people to spend more money on corporate products, now mostly made elsewhere, and less on basic needs.
The true entrepreneurial pioneers in our region are the people who are building agricultural, energy and manufacturing businesses based on sustainable practice. To survive, these local businesses do not need gas drilling and pipelines. They need an environment where the value and quality of their products and service determine price. Only we can decide that, by supporting them and not the fossil fuel industry and all the rest of the 21st-century carpetbaggers.