Saturday, March 26, 2011

Class Warfare or Not; Environmental Protection Reigns Supreme

Dick Downey’s article in the Daily Star a few weeks back stirred quite a debate among the ranks of those involved in the debates surrounding the development of Natural gas in the county.
Whilst the supporters of the natural gas development see their opponents as the elite/selective groups from the affluent areas of the County (the Towns surrounding Lake Otsego) who are well connected and can get organized at the drop of dime; Oopponents see their enemy as anyone that supports Natural Gas Development (landowners, homeowners, NYSDEC, USEPA, Natural Gas Development Companies (one in particular), sheer utterance or hint of any support can turn you into an enemy on the fly).
Mr. Downey in his article referred to the class difference in the debate. There are of course exceptions; as some of the comments to his article pointed out. However, in an article in the same newspaper unrelated to Mr. Downey’s, an attendee of the Middlefield Town Board meeting commented on the “Jaguar incident”.  
Whether or not there is distinct class warfare, there is a general sense of condescending attitudes that stemming from both sides. Both feel “more knowledgeable” in their understanding.
The opponents have a parade of well-read academic-style scientists, retired executives and legal experts to back their information and also working for them is the general mistrust that people have for the industry and the Government.
 One the flip side the supporters have the scientists who work in the trenches and industry labs, designing and fine-tuning the processes used in natural gas development; the regulators reviewing the tens of thousands comments sent in, regulators who are charged with protecting the public’s safety while trying to precariously balance the cost of implementing regulations and the benefits of the processes whilst at the same time taking environmental protection into account – not an easy task.
While we act as the judges; deciding whose information is more believable or convincing.
Gas Development Opponents arriving at Butternuts in a Mercedes
Photo Sent by a Network Supporter

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