I am responding to Sen. James Seward’s comments in The Daily Star last week, in which he stated that the Cuomo administration and the process of review at the state Department of Environmental Conservation regarding shale gas extraction in New York have been adequately cautious and that legislative action was unnecessary.
This position is at odds with the majority of his constituents. In my part of Otsego County, we have a ban on gas drilling, because of courageous citizens and local elected officials. We need our legislators to show such courage.
At a League of Women Voters debate last year in Cooperstown, Jim Seward’s name was repeatedly mentioned by local Republican incumbents, who advised that towns not take action to zone out drilling until AFTER the home rule bill Sen. Seward was co-sponsoring passed the Senate. They warned that otherwise such zoning could be “risky” and lead to “expensive litigation.”
They were right about the expense of litigation, as Middlefield has discovered in its successful legal defense, but they were wrong to ask us to wait for Seward’s Home Rule bill to pass, since it never did — never was even brought up for a vote.
I am a registered Democrat who voted for Republican Seward in the past two elections, because I believed that he would come through with home rule legislation. Frankly, I feel duped. I believe that I am representative of many voters who are determined not to be fooled again. Lots of the anti-fracking vote went to Seward last time. This will not happen again if he votes no on this moratorium bill — or stands idly by while his colleagues in the Senate prevent the bill from being brought to the floor for a vote.