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October 16, 2013

Let's get a grip on hysteria over fracking

The Daily Star

---- — With so much acrimony and misplaced, illogical, self-righteous indignation on display in Washington, we really don’t need to see that emulated around here.

But there it was last week when Hillary Clinton gave a speech at Hamilton College and acknowledged that according to published reports, domestic production of gas and oil in the United States would soon surpass that of Russia.

“What that means for viable manufacturing and industrialization in this country is enormous,” she said, according to the Gannett News Service.


By the fierce reaction of the anti-fracking community around here, you’d have thought that the former secretary of state, New York senator and first lady had advocated spritzing fracking fluid directly into infants’ formula bottles rather than just very briefly acknowledging that America is moving toward energy independence.

In this editorial space, The Daily Star has made no secret of its serious reservations regarding horizontal fracturing in pursuit of natural gas anywhere in our local counties. We see little logic in forbidding the practice in the New York City watershed area, yet allowing it in rural upstate New York.

But we have this advice for those who share our concerns about fracking:

Time to get a grip, folks.

And maybe switch to decaf.

“It’s astounding that she would say something so clueless,” said Larry Bennett, communications director for Brewery Ommegang, in an email to local anti-fracking activists. “Clearly she hasn’t paid any real attention to upstate politics over the past four years — nor has she done any polling.”

A coalition of anti-fracking groups that includes New Yorkers Against Fracking and Catskill Mountainkeeper released an open letter to Clinton, stating: “So is it really so great that we are expanding extreme energy extraction more than ever? No, it’s not. That’s a backward, 20th century belief, and it’s time for you to stop buying and touting the line from big oil & gas.”

A welcome voice of reason and logic came from longtime Clinton supporter Kim Muller, a former mayor of Oneonta.

“I think some people hear things as they want to hear them,” she told The Daily Star. “They are probably making assumptions, based on what little she has said. She has certainly spoken in favor of alternative forms of energy. She needs to be given the courtesy of addressing a broader energy proposal before they jump to conclusions.”

We understand that with Clinton’s standing as the heavy favorite to be the Democratic Party’s candidate for president in 2016 that folks can get all caught up in reading tea leaves, but let’s all calm down.

In this case, those leaves would make some pretty weak tea.