fracking

One set of rules for me...

...and another set of rules for thee. That's the anthem of the left.

At least one Ithaca Journal commenter experienced a Captain Renault moment on Saturday:

For yea, verily, the local Gannett newspapers (the Ithaca Journal and the Elmira Star Gazette) had the audacity to publish a piece over the weekend by Jon Campbell, an article that points out the role that Ithaca's Park Foundation has played in anti-gas drilling activism.

Predictably, hypocritical hilarity ensued in the comments at the Journal.  An example:

I'm frankly shocked that Jon Campbell, who has been covering this issue for Gannett for many years, could have put his name this shoddy, obviously biased, article. It makes me wonder just who is behind it, and how far up in the Gannett chain that person is. The very idea of questioning the authenticity of the strong, effective citizens' grassroots movement in NY is absurd. Nothing but sour grapes by the industry. And that doesn't qualify as journalism.

I can't tell you how many times some of us have been accused of being shills for the gas industry because obviously NO ONE could be part of a "grassroots movement" in favor of safe, regulated energy development in NYS.  Such a notion is patently ridiculous to folks like the woman who wrote the above comment. And yet she clearly expects the kid-glove treatment when it's her pet "grassroots movement" that is the subject of discussion.

And on a related note, a little blurb from the same edition of the Star Gazette:

Model legislation is topic of movie
 



CORNING — The League of Women Voters of Steuben County will show the film “The Unit­ed States of ALEC” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Southeast Steuben County Library in Cor­ning. The screening is free to the public. Calling itself an edu­cational charity, the American Legislative Exchange Council devel­ops what it calls “model legislation” for state legislators to introduce in their own name into their respective state legislatures.



But detractors claim it is a group of corpora­tions and wealthy indi­viduals who push their agenda, which ranges from privatization of education to ending collective bargaining.

As I've noted in past posts, the League of Women Voters is not some group of kindly, non-partisan blue-haired ladies—more of a red-headed league. Yes, they have an agenda.

And ALEC has been a target of the left for quite some time. Why? ALEC is about—gasp!—"limited government, free markets, federalism." 

So assuming that, as its "detractors claim it is a group of corpora­tions and wealthy indi­viduals who push their agenda," where's the problem exactly?  Don't Adelaide Gomer of the Park Foundation, George Soros, Michael Bloomberg, et al—including corporate entities—fund and push leftist agendas?

Hypocrisy is the hallmark of the left.

No Irish need apply, I guess

The anti-fracking universe has its own little set of local luminaries. Phelim McAleer, one of the producers of FrackNation and adversary of "Inconvenient Al" Gore and Gasland's Foxy Josh, had the misfortune to run into one of these bright lights, Vera Scroggins, in Pennsylvania.  I thought Phelim showed great self-restraint—if it had been me, my bare knuckles and Vera's nose would have become intimately acquainted.

Here you go (viewer discretion advised):

And we're expected to reason with these people. Right.
 

Party line

Now, really, these are human beings we're talking about.  Can there be such a thing as a disinterested party?

In the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin:

The New York State Attorney General’s Office has launched an ethics inquiry concerning votes by Southern Tier town board members related to natural gas drilling, according to documents obtained by the Press & Sun-Bulletin.
 
In single-page letters sent in October, Assistant Attorney General Judith Malkin indicated that drilling-related action by town boards earlier in the year raised questions about potential conflicts of interest.
 
“We have been alerted to concerns about Windsor Town Board members with signed gas leases voting on issues related to hydrofracking,” one of the letters states. “This concern raises possible conflict of interest issues.”
 
“In that regard,” the letter adds, “would you please send us a copy of the town’s ethics code”...
 
ITHACA — In the run up to an appeal of Norse Energy v. Town of Dryden, this week New York state Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, D-125, filed a document supporting the town.
 
Documents are still being filed in the appeal, which will be heard by the New York state Supreme Court Appellate Division, Third Department. A date for the trial hasn’t been set.
 
Lifton said she supports local zoning control over oil and gas development.
 
If municipalities have the right to zone against oil and gas development is a question that’s central to the case. A lower court ruled in favor of Dryden during the case’s first hearing.
 
"Based on research into both New York State statute and case law, I believe -- and two Supreme Courts so ruled this past spring -- that the Town of Dryden and municipalities across New York, retain the ability to use their zoning powers to decide to exclude or limit gas drilling within their borders,” Lifton wrote for a public statement. “I am hopeful that the Appellate Division will uphold the two rulings from the lower courts.”
In a post from a year and a half ago (which I suggest you check out—the more things change, the more they stay the same), I had written, "Babs is not your father's (or grandfather's) Democrat.  Her philosophy is much closer to that of Marx—Karl, not Groucho (although you could make a case....)."
 
And the Democratic Socialists of America, with which Babs is so closely allied, is itself tight with the CPUSA. At Trevor Loudon's New Zeal:

Contrary to popular opinion, the US Democratic Party does not set much of its own policy.
 

Democrat policy is actually dictated by the labor unions and radical think tanks, such as the Center for American Progress, and the Institute for Policy Studies.

The unions are dominated by the US’s largest Marxist organization Democratic Socialists of America – which also works closely with the C.A.P. and I.P.S...
 
In case you think this has gotten pretty far afield from the topic of fracking, it hasn't at all.  In fact, it's where we've fallen down repeatedly—we haven't connected the dots even when they were there in plain sight, and we've been too bashful to call a spade a spade out of some misplaced desire to be seen as "taking the high road."
 
Time to baldly point out that the other side has an agenda of its own, one that many of us are passionately opposed to.
 
I do get concerned at times when someone says "Well, you’re a landowner so you shouldn’t make decisions on these issues. What town board member in this state is not a landowner?...Who doesn’t have an interest?
Prescisely.  The "interest" may not be quite as tangible as owning land but it's no less real.
 
 

 

It's all about doing away with that inconvenient Constitution

Doesn't matter whether we're talking about Agenda 21 specifically or RGGI or doing away with fossil fuels and "replacing" them with renewables (but there would never be blackouts or brownouts if we did so, oh, no)— it ultimately all comes down to which do we choose...liberty or tyranny?

Environmentalists want to ban hydraulic fracturing in Las Vegas, N.M., and the surrounding county and they don’t plan to let the United States Constitution stop them.
 
“What people don’t understand is sometimes we have to step outside the boundaries of the Constitution to get things done,” Paula Hern, a board member with Community for Clean Water Air and Earth, told the ABQ Journal. “Laws are made to protect corporations and we need laws that protect Mother Earth – earth, air and water.”
 
Hern was defending a “community rights ordinance” banning fracking that the Las Vegas (N.M.) City Council passed but the mayor refused to sign. “The way it reads, it will supersede everything – our city charter, state and federal laws,” said Mayor Alfonso Ortiz...
"What people don’t understand is sometimes we have to step outside the boundaries of the Constitution..."? Oh, I understand plenty.  
 
And I've been in Las Vegas, NM.  It's poor. And about an hour's drive from Santa Fe, where I've also been, and which struck me as Ithaca with a Spanish accent.  Are you getting the picture?  I wonder how many of the fractivists pushing for the ban in Las Vegas are from San Miguel County and how many are well-heeled imports from Santa Fe—and beyond—who just plain know better than anyone else...and who use fossil fuels and their derivatives and by-products all the time but who don't want to see any low-brows seriously better themsleves by working to produce those fuels.  Better that they should sit on the sidewalks around the central plaza in Santa Fe selling baskets of tchotchkes.
 
Stand up for the Constitution and liberty, people, or we're all going to be sitting on sidewalks selling tchotchkes.
 
    

Claptrap

This isn't the Wild West, you know.  Or is it?

We and our contributors have mentioned more than once one of the more ludicrous objections to hydrofracking in this neck of the woods...the problem of—gasp!—transients.  You know, those people that drive up the price of housing, cause traffic jams, engage in public drunkeness, wreaking havoc near and far and then leaving destruction in their wake as they hightail it out of town.

Sorta like students.

The Ithaca Journal ran a piece by Jon Campbell, 'splainin' why DEC Commissioner Joe Martens decided "to delay a decision on hydrofracking and further assess its health impacts..."

That makes it sound as though Babs Lifton and her fellow travelers got their way.

Not so much.

If you have the patience to stick with the entire article to the bitter end, you find out that "Martens dismissed requests from environmental and medical groups to hire an outside, nongovernmental group to perform a health assessment..."

So what actualy happened?

It went more like this:

...The groups would require that DEC conduct an outside health study that would determine the outcome of the final decision. I reject that demand. I believe it is highly likely that some of these groups will pursue litigation following the conclusion of the Departmental process if they do not agree with the outcome.
 

I believe deferring to an outside group or entity would be an inappropriate delegation of a governmental responsibility. Government is the public's independent reviewer: that is the essence of the current process. To suggest private interests or academic experts bring more independence to the process than government is exactly wrong. Many experts in this field have an opinion - pro or con- which could influence the process. Nor could one ever be sure that there weren't potential conflicts of interest with outside consultants if they were to actually direct the outcome. It is the government's responsibility to ensure objectivity and a review directed by DEC and the Department of Health is without bias.
 
The Governor's instructions have been clear from the outset - let the science determine the outcome...
 
...Accordingly, I have asked and NYS Health Commissioner Nirav Shah has agreed to assess the Department's health impact analysis. I have also asked Dr. Shah to identify the most qualified outside experts to advise him in his review. While the review will be informed by outside perspectives on the science of hydrofracking, the decision-making will remain a governmental responsibility....
One could raise the question of why we can't consider the experience of other states where hydrofracking goes on and where health impact studies have already been conducted, rather than spending NYS taxpayer dollars re-inventing the wheel. 
 
But never mind.
 
So what exactly are the health impacts of hydrofracking that we need to be afraid of?
 
Hilarity ensues.  At the NYDN:
In their desperation to block Gov. Cuomo from giving the okay for fracking in New York...the enviro-activists have demanded that state officials explore an alleged link between fracking and — we kid you not — syphilis.

They argue that a drilling boom would draw an influx of male workers from other states who would engage in activities of a kind that would spread sexually transmitted diseases...

And that increased truck traffic would not only lead to more road fatalities, but would also — again, no kidding — discourage people from getting the outdoor exercise they need to stay fit.

This is absurd...

...What fracking opponents really want is not a study of imagined risks, but many more months of wheel-spinning in Albany — and additional fodder for litigation...

...The opponents tried to push DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens into hiring a public health consultant to check out the danger of venereal diseases and all the rest.

Smartly, he went only so far as to ask Health Commissioner Nirav Shah to review whether DEC has appropriately considered health concerns...
The jig is up, anti's. People are only just barely able to stifle their laughter. 


h/t South of 5 and 20, UB, & Publius

Home Sweet Home

 Home Rule Should Mean Home Rule

While having coffee with my friend Peregrina at the Dunkin Donuts in Dryden, we began discussing “home rule.”  As many Dryden residents know, the Town has invoked “home rule” as the basis for its recent ban on hydraulic fracturing, a claim that is still under review in the courts.
 
The discussion soon turned to what is the appropriate level of government or geographical grouping to exercise “home rule.”  Why would the best level be the Town or the County?  Then we realized that town and county boundaries are fairly arbitrary, set by geographical accident or the state legislature a long time ago.  As we learned with redistricting, the grouping of people can be changed and which group people are placed in will have a lot to do with how “home rule” really works.  People tend to favor “home rule” when their party rules, sometimes not realizing that power can shift and “home rule” can become very unattractive to them when it does. Take for example people who enjoyed being represented by very liberal Maurice Hinchey who now find themselves in a district with an incumbent Republican Congressman, Tom Reed, which has a thirty thousand registration advantage for Republicans.
 
Then it occurred to us that “home rule” should best be vested in what it says, the home.  That is, the individual homeowner, each allowed “home rule” by making her or his own choice.  But, as Peregrina pointed out, with the current ban, “home rule” is moved to the entire town level, as exercised by some elected officials, so is not “home rule” at all, but rather “rule over the homes.”
 
If the principle being served with “home rule” is to bring the decisions to the lowest and best possible level, why not the homeowner level?  What is sacred about the town level?  If it is not the home, could this not be the County, the region, or even the entire state?  If the level is to be the “best level,” why isn’t it the one with the best expertise and the time and money to analyze the problem?  If individual freedom is the goal, then the individual homeowner would seem the best level.  But, the town would seem to be neither the lowest or best level.
 
Before we broke up our coffee meeting, we decided that we too favor “home rule,” but not “home rule” for government, rather “home rule” for individuals, making decisions for themselves.  That is true “home rule.”
 

The toxicologist, the teacher...

...and left-leaning Lee Rayburn.

Yesterday, the New York Times reported that "Cuomo Proposal Would Restrict Gas Drilling to a Struggling Area" in the Southern Tier.

On the heels of that story, Uni Blake, founder of WELC, Women's Energy Leadership Coalition, was interviewed on WHCU this morning by Lee Rayburn, formerly of Air America. 

 

After Lee got off his soapbox got done speaking with Uni, he then interviewed Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton—listen to the difference here. Listen to the hysterical tone, the "everybody knows" logic (isn't that a logical fallacy? Argumentum ad populum?), the softball questions—when he could get one in edgewise—from Rayburn. He could have read a thorough debunking of Babs' points in "Lifton Tea, Bitter from the First Drop" prior to the interview, but I'm sure that's too much to expect.

After all, there's no media bias at work here, oh no. Just the oil and gas industry, "with their infinite resources...losing the PR battle."

Can you say "Park Foundation"?

David v. Goliath and the tyranny of the majority

From Andy Leahy at NYShaleGasNow, a great update to—no, a very informative expansion on—the Chump Change post below. Read and learn:

...NYC hasn't purchased all, or even most, of this misleadingly green-shaded land — either outright in fee, or by easement against development.  It's true NYC owns rights to all the land that it long ago flooded, or built upon, to create its water system.  And it's true the city Water Department has made some additional purchases since.  But not much of what lies upstream.  In fact, former DEC Commissioner Alexander "Pete" Grannis used to give speeches in which he pointedly noted that some 70 percent of this upstream land remains privately owned...
 

...In these drinking water watershed situations (On this phrasing, here's a reminder to Earth Science-impaired media representatives:  All land lays in a watershed), the state's drill/no-drill regulatory distinctions have been unsatisfactorily explained as being not so much about the realistic risk of surface spills, or the unrealistic risk of uncontrolled returns from depth, of spent or unspent frack water.  Instead, it's been explained as being more about the risk of much less spectacular sediment runoff from drillsite and access road construction.  Sediment.  Or, more to the point, it's really more about the regulatory risk that the federal EPA will view such surface disturbances as a reason to strip NYC and Syracuse of their money-saving filtration waivers — regardless of whether there's much actually foreseeable impact from drilling, and regardless of whether there are any public health benefits to be gained from filtering the water supplies already...

...Leaving aside the highly questionable risk-assessment validity of these ever-expanding no-drill takings, as put forth by NYC, a question of fairness remains:  Should the many urban, water-drinking, peaceful-of-mind beneficiaries of these regulatory "protections" compensate the many fewer private landowners for their lost economic opportunities?  

Or is it okay for the majority to economically oppress the minority, just because it's politically stronger?  Going all the way back to the days of King George, and to the drafting of the American Bill of Rights, isn't the system of free, private ownership of land intended to set limits upon this kind of oppression?  And should we be careful what we wish for, when we conspire in silence to excuse such blatant exceptions?

Delaware County's resolution says, in all fairness, reparations must be made — and this document is the latest salvo in an Upstate-Downstate dispute which long pre-dates the much younger Shale Gas Debates...

There's much more—definitely read the whole thing.  Thanks, Andy.

$5M theft in Dryden? Chump change

In fact (click on the image to listen)

At The Mountain Eagle:

MARGARETVILLE - As the state puts the finishing touches on new regulations for gas exploration in New York, elected officials in Delaware County are unhappy the proposed regulations could prevent the county from extracting much of the gas that lies deep beneath the ground. It is estimated that as much as 80 percent of the gas in the county could be off-limits if the proposed regulations become law. And if the proposed regulations go through as currently written, county officials want to be compensated for the lost revenue.
 
It was announced at the February meeting of the Coalition of Watershed Towns tthe Delaware County Board of Supervisors plans to vote on a resolution that seeks compensation for the value of the gas, estimated to exceed $81 billion in gross sales...
 
...According to Dean Frasier of the Delaware County Office of Watershed Affairs, the Board of Supervisors will be discussing a resolution that calls for New York City compensating it for the lost revenue should NYC succeed in having watershed lands off-limits to gas exploration....
And this isn't some evil, greedy gas company who would be suing—it'd be a NYS county suing NYS as well as NYC.
 
We here at Redneck Mansion at first read the dateline on this story as
 
 
"Margaritaville" 
 
Those folks in Delaware County could import their own sand to relax on while they sit 'n sip drinks with little umbrellas in them.
 
This stuff's not going away, people.
 

The truth--with a brogue, part deux

Same text as from last July, new video...

I. love. this. woman.

Ann McElhinney is the other half of the Phelim McAleer/Ann McElhinney team of journalist Davids up against the media Goliaths (see our earlier Gasland posts). 

Via The Blaze:

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