Get On With Fracking Already

To The Reader’s Forum:

Come on, New York, let’s stop stalling and get on with the fracking. Three years of protracted discussion, debate, hearings, etc. is enough already. Governor, get off it and approve the procedure. Stop emulating your dad in making decisions. And forget about Washington. There is a lady in nearby Westchester County who has the 2016 nomination wrapped up.

A growing concern could be our Marcellus gas is slowly migrating into very receptive Pennsylvania. And why wouldn’t it. Think of the enormous revenue lost to our state’s economy due to our decision dithering.

As one of several local devotees of trout fishing in Potter County, Pa., we have not recently witnessed nor heard of any untoward events, except for road damage which has been repaired. In 2011, drillers, unhampered by state regulatory rules, ran amuck in Pennsylvania. But the state came to its senses with the needed legislation to better control drilling operations. Clearly, our neighboring Marcellus blessed states, after three years of experience, have matters in hand. And they are enjoying the fiscal benefits as a result.

We would enter the industry well armed with the benefits of having learned from the experiences, good and bad, of our Marcellus neighbors, particularly Pennsylvania. The location of our share of the Marcellus in south central and Western New York is precisely the area of our state most in need of decent employment. And what state government has come up with for job creation is not very promising.

Of course bad things will happen despite all precautions. But oil continues to be drilled despite platforms burning and sinking in the Gulf. Coal continues to be mined despite mine explosions and nuclear plants suffer accidents such as Three Mile Island and they continue to function. We are human after all, prone to error. Did we think Japan would forego nuclear energy after the cataclysmic destruction of its Fukushima nuclear plant?

North Dakota didn’t hesitate when a gigantic oil pool was discovered under its soil. It commenced drilling. As a result the state enjoys a three percent unemployment rate and millions in tax dollars from oil operations have made the state’s schools outstanding examples of quality education.

Self denial can be a virtue, but not in our neglect of shale gas. Let us develop at last our share of nature’s treasure trove, the Marcellus.

Tom Harte