Sunday, March 6, 2011

Town of Middlefield aims to set precedence by banning ALL Natural gas activity

While there are legitimate and unselfish reasons why people are genuinely concerned about the natural gas production; opponents should not feel like they are the only ones who care. Supporters of natural gas have concerns too.
However, for the opponents what started as a movement to hold the industry accountable by examining the failings of the industry has turned out into an all-out witch-hunt where opponents will no longer settle for anything less than absolutely NO GAS DRILLING. Some may say they wish for safer drilling but we all know that is NOT their intention, they would rather have natural gas production activities somewhere over the hill; yet they will continue to be receptive to using natural gas an energy source. 
This message will continue to be repeated by the Otsego Proactive Network until people understand that what is needed is not lines drawn in the sand separating opponents from proponents; leaseholders from non-leaseholders or even long term residents from short term residents. What is needed is way to find the balance between human life quality and environmental protection; between job creation and land conservation; and, fossil fuel usage and long term sustainable energy usage.
Accountability should STILL be the goal.  A good example of accountability is the nuclear power industry. No-one questions their ability to dispose of their radioactive waste. However, accountability is a combination of regulatory (DEC regulations, permit requirements (incidentally the DEC may have special provisions in permits besides what the written regulations call for)) and local input. Most companies are opting to set up local committees or visit town planning boards to find constructive input into their environmental management practices (information like trucks avoiding bus routes and times).
However, none of any of the above can happen if Towns start implementing BANs on natural gas activities.  These bans are written to include drilling for conventional or traditional gas. These are the kinds of wells that our grandparents drilled in their backyards to supply natural gas into their homesteads; the same wells that are still pumping out gas legally under the New York State regulations. These groups will have you believe that conventional wells are no different than shale wells. Not True.  They new DEC regulations that will be coming out soon are focused on high volume hydraulic fracturing and not on the conventional or tradition gas wells that are currently in operation.
The Proactive Network has written a petition that calls for county residents to remind their town boards that there is a difference between conventional wells (which already have regulations) and shale wells (whose regulations will be released soon). That by enacting broad reaching bans they put an end to any dialogue in the community that is poised to potentially benefit from natural gas development. To receive a copy of the petition, send us an email. The petition has been well received and is gaining momentum.
Thank you for your support.

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