Drilling Upstate

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

We’ll look into the controversy over drilling for natural gas in Marcellus shale in Upstate New York, and discuss the challenges landowners face when deciding whether to lease their land to gas companies, the role of landowners coalitions, and how public officials are managing the drilling already occurring in their towns. We’ll speak with Mark Dunau, organic farmer from Delaware County; Jim Bays, Supervisor of the Town of Smyrna, in Chenango County; and Abby Tamber, steering committee member of the Central New York Landowners Coalition.


Jim Bays,, Mark Dunau, and Abby Tamber,

Comments [19]

Peg from Southern Tier NY

Re #18. I am not arguing with you. You have made an assumption about what I think - (your argument suggests that people are simply stuck in their fossil fuel-loving ways, so let's simply roll over.)

You have given one suggestion for transformation - (halogen stove). Thank you.

Meanwhile, while my family have been living off grid and protecting many acres of forest and water sources since the early seventies, we have not seen much change (except to use more fossil fuels) from society. We have not witnessed many people who wanted to copy our low carbon lifestyle. In fact, many thought we were nuts. Once again, what would you suggest to unblock the inertia?

Mar. 23 2010 01:29 PM
thatgirlinnewyork from manhattan

peg - your argument suggests that people are simply stuck in their fossil fuel-loving ways, so let's simply roll over. we don't "have" to use many fossil fuel sources, but as a culture we seem to do so anyway. it's so much easier to just go along, right?

who knows why uptake of new energy technologies is slow in this country? consider that no one's being pressed to change anything (case in point: the refusal of three successive administrations in NJ to raise taxes on gasoline), but those who do find that there are generous subsidies from the state and federal government when it comes to converting their home consumption. my own parents changed from a natural gas stove to halogen, so if some conservative octogenarians can make a switch, surely others can follow suit.

it comes down to the sacrifice of change. our culture embraces the "profit now, pay later" dictum: if we had to shell out for the negative impact of something simultaneously to profiting from it, that might wake us up. as it currently stands, new york's children will be paying for this (and suffering from it) long after we're dead.

Mar. 23 2010 01:13 PM
Peg from Southern Tier NY

Response to #11. Once again, I agree with you. I am well aware of all the horrible incidents in other regions of our country and the planet.

What do you suggest to get people to stop using fossil fuels - when they know they have to anyway? How many New Yorkers (and others) are willing to do without natural gas in the near future? Everyone knows we need to head toward alternative sources of energy. Many people have suggested solutions for many decades already. How would you suggest we get mass cooperation on this?

Mar. 23 2010 12:56 PM
Nicole from NYC

What is so frightening, is that this is our DRINKING water.
We are playing with our water for the potential for a company to sell us energy. We are absurdly prioritizing money over clean and safe drinking water.

Mar. 23 2010 12:46 PM
thatgirlinnewyork from manhattan

LF speaks the truth. one possibility that no one talks about is the kind of litigation that may be mounted against those who choose to drill (including landowners) by those whose lives will be compromised by it.

Mar. 23 2010 12:45 PM
thatgirlinnewyork from manhattan

mark, the dSGEIS is invalid for the cumulative impact analysis missing from it.

hydrofracturing in upstate new york will never be safe or good for anyone, unless it is safe for everyone, and that's simply impossible.

Mar. 23 2010 12:42 PM
Lazarus Boutis from Westchester County, NY

What about compulsory integration, where even if you don't want your land drilled, if 60% of your surrounding neighbors allow drilling, gas companies — by state law — can drill UNDER your land too.

If drilling, as things stand now, is allowed to proceed, the southern tier, and those who depend on the area for water, or whatever, will face devastation.

There ARE alternatives! [Solar, wind, geo-thermal, passive houses, bio-gas, algae energy, better construction, better design and, of course, conservation.] These are what we should be pushing — with the same fervor as when we sent a man to the moon.

Mar. 23 2010 12:40 PM
LF from warwick, NY

So many irreplaceable losses have happened in this country because of the call for quick money. Very few of these things if any are ever profitable to those exploited. This is another case of an industry running over the people who live there, the destruction of the water and and land for multinational corporate profit. You can be sure that any money gained by citizens will backfire. There are plenty of records which clearly delineate what happens through exploitation of small towns. If you dont pass laws to prohibit these sorts of things RIGHT AWAY the corporations will sue you to do it. People of Smyrna: Dont be penny wise and pound foolish, you will be destroying your futures. Your government representatives need to ask themselves if they really want to destroy the towns they've been charged to protect..

Mar. 23 2010 12:38 PM
thatgirlinnewyork from manhattan

peg - so many "profit" numbers are being thrown around, such that using false suppositions makes those "live for today" folk believe they can take the money and run from their property--and many have in other areas.

to quote this apart from what this will cost new yorkers overall (including those who lease their property) is irresponsible. these numbers don't come from anything that can be proved, and they only inflate the ire between landowners who lease, and those who do not or cannot.

read the stories about dimock, PA residents, and find out what little, if any, profit they've earned for their leases at or via propublica:

Mar. 23 2010 12:36 PM
JP from NJ

Oops, on my questions that should be “inevitably” not “indelibly”. Sorry about that….

Mar. 23 2010 12:27 PM
Peg from Southern Tier NY

To #7 (that girl) - yes I know all that - and perhaps there is still something the residents of NY can do to stop some of it. I just used those numbers to put the profit potential in perspective.

Mar. 23 2010 12:26 PM
JP from NJ

Please ask guest that is pro drilling what possible profit or energy demand anywhere in the world could even come close to justify risking the drinking water for 8 million people? Also if they do drill and contaminate the drinking water, how much would it cost to clean up? And please ask if they don’t want to list chemicals used for drilling, how will the local fire department HAZMAT team (who will be the first on the scene) know what and how to clean up spills that indelibly will happen?

Mar. 23 2010 12:19 PM
thatgirlinnewyork from manhattan

peg--the way any monies from drilling would be distributed is strictly based on land ownership and leasing. there is no plan to give "every man, woman and child" any money. even those who lease won't come anywhere near earning $100K.

what it will cost the state to clean up the environment (as if), treat water-born illnesses, and lost income to farms, tourism and other water-dependent businesses will never be offset by "drilling income".

Mar. 23 2010 12:18 PM
Unheard from NYC

Frakkin' cylons

Mar. 23 2010 12:17 PM
thatgirlinnewyork from manhattan

don't accept the rhetoric of "energy independence" from those who will benefit most from this filthy technology. commune with your fellow new yorkers over the facts at!

Mar. 23 2010 12:15 PM
Drea Zlanabitnig from Manhattan

Mar. 23 2010 12:14 PM
Josh L

Are NY bottled spring water companies lobbying hard?

Many firms, including multinationals, have spring water bottling plants in Northeast PA.

To to my surprise they seem to have been fairly silent even as gas trucks there are rumbling right by their bottling plants in order to drill (and pump millions of gallons of frack water) right into their water sources.

Mar. 23 2010 12:06 PM
Peg from Southern Tier NY

The natural gas in the Marcellus Shale regions of NY have been estimated to equal enough profit to give every man, woman and child well over $100,000 each. NY residents need to be proactive and keep more of that money for state residents (like Alaskans, who get rebates rather than taxes from energy resources).

Fortunately, in New York, we’ve been able to learn through negative experiences of hydrofracking in other states. We know the pitfalls we face (the negative environmental and infrastructural risks to local and regional populations and the actual loss of local revenues to energy company profits).

As a non-leased landowner in the Southern Tier, surrounded by many landowners who signed leases, I am worried that my beautiful, pristine property will be forced into becoming an industrial zone.
If drilling for natural gas is inevitable – what can our state of NY do to keep more of the revenue for ourselves, while protecting our important local resources – especially our WATER?

Mar. 23 2010 11:37 AM
laura from bethel, NY

1.Put back in effect, home ruling, let the town decide, neaning the town poeple not Albany. Is our drinking water.

2.Farmers are the owner of the bigger land and the minory in the population that live in the town, the farmer will control my drinking water?

3.The farmer is getting sub cedes for years for financial hardship, now that is leasing the land to the gas company, were is our share of the profits? as a tax payer.

4.If the farmer or land owner lease the land this parcel became industrial zone, the use of land needed to be change and collect more taxes but because there is not home ruling were is our rights?

5.What about the environmental impact, from the drilling and use of chemicals, trucking, disposal waist and the pumps that will remain for pumping the gas?

6.Last if the notion is independence and balance the budget, I believe is a private interest manipulation and of course Albany has a carrot to balance the budget, this gas will be trade in the stock market and sell to the highers bidder, our gas rate will go down??????????????

Thank you for the opportunity to bring this to the light, I always respect your show and love it.
Keep going

Mar. 23 2010 08:17 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.