In October 2010, M V Consulting, Inc. had the opportunity to interview NY Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo. In that interview we were able to address several issues that were of concern to voters, and the position of Assemblywoman Lupardo on those issues. One of the key items was the question of hydrofracking (Part 1 of the interview video starting at 6:36). An issue that is prominent in the appointment of Joseph Martens as Commissioner of the DEC today.
Hydrofracking has been attacked and supported strongly. There have been many accusations, rumors, misconceptions, and horror stories attached to the use of hydrofracking in recovering natural gas from the Marcellus Shale which runs through much of Central New York and Pennsylvania. There also has been huge amounts of income and revenues generated from the drilling.
The question before Gov. Cuomo is if hydrofracking should be allowed in New York State. Already there are on-going studies to determine if hydrofracking can be done in New York safely; as well as what restrictions and requirements are to be enforced if it is allowed in the State. Assemblywoman Lupardo is on the committee to help determine the answer to this debate. Which was part of the questions we asked her in October.
The critical point made in that interview was that Gov. Cuomo would set the direction of hydrofracking and natural gas drilling in New York when he appointed a new head to the DEC.
“That DEC Commissioner, that’s the one to watch. What the Governor does with the new commissioner and whether or not that person signals a preference one way or the other, or he may want to scrap it all and start all over again, who knows. We’ll see, we’ll wait and see.” – October 2010 interview with Michael Vass and Assemblywoman Lupardo, 13:02 in the video.
Today we have learned of the direction. A direction that appears to be beholden to downstate political preferences and those opposed to hydrofracking.
Joseph Martens has been appointed the new Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation. Since 1998 Mr. Martens was the president of the Open Space Institute (OSI). The mission statement of the organization can be found in the following:
“All of OSI’s work is directed by a consistent conservation strategy that emphasizes permanent protection on a landscape-level scale.”
Further review of the OSI website reveals even more about the view that Mr. Martens will likely bring to the DEC.
- “Every minute, two acres of farmland are irretrievably lost in the United States. That’s 120 acres an hour, 2,880 acres a day, and more than one million acres each year.”
- “The Community Forest Fund supports the permanent protection of municipal or community-owned forestland that provides economic, cultural, educational, recreational and ecological benefits.”
- “With climate change upon us, habitat conservation is now imperative.”
- “The Open Space Institute is dedicated to protecting lands that protect our water.”
These direct quotes found on the OSI website under “Issues we care about” are indicative of a view. A “green” and in some views eco-fanatical stance on what can or should be done to the natural resources around us. Given such declaritive statements, and 12 years of work to realize such a philosophy, it is not a far reach to state that Mr. Martens is anything but open minded on the issue of hydrofracking and natural gas drilling.
Thus a conclusion can be made, that Mr. Martens will delay, hinder and prevent hydrofracking – without regard for on-going studies or the economic impact on New York. Gov. Cuomo has made his decision clear, he is against drilling in the Marcellus Shale, without having gathered all the information relevant to the issue.
Proponents of global warming, eco-fanatics, and those with legitimate fears on hydrofracking have gained the upper hand on this issue, apparently. But there is another side to this issue. The State of New York is summarily losing the only major industry interested in entering the State. New York may lose billions in much needed revenue and thousands of jobs – which may have been generated if an unbiased view was sincerely applied to the debate at hand.
Given the appointment of Mr. Martens, Gov. Cuomo has place the bar perhaps too high – even if guidelines for safe and reliable hydrofracking could be found.
That is a problem. New York does not need political and idealistic partisanship in addressing the economic vortex that is the State budget. Single-minded views on natural gas drilling does not give the State a real outlook on the potential benefits and detractions to hydrofracking. Such potentially biased views simply pander to a generally far-left political base, that sadly dominates the State Assembly and Senate.
Is hydrofracking safe? Can there be guidelines that would ensure the greatest possible environmental and personal safety while providing New York with a much needed revenue stream? Is there an option that would make natural gas drilling of the Marcellus Shale viable?
If the apparent motivations of Mr. Martens, as promoted via the Open Space Institute which he ran for the last 12 years, are as we deduce then New York will never know. Ultimately, that realization (if correct) will only add to the problems in the State economy and the exodus of the population.
But as Assemblywoman Lupardo stated in October, we’ll wait and see.