November 27, 2013
Issues become magnified when people face difficult times. Issues regarding the health, welfare and safety of our families, children and those not yet born into our world, must never be compromised by falsehood, pseudo-science and irresponsible leadership. At this writing we wonder if Congress will recover from the debacle of their poor leadership that caused a near shut-down of our government. Less than a 10% approval rating!! Inexcusable… but alas, the reality of our times. We cannot tolerate with calloused indifference, the lack of clarity in our leaders, especially when facing the critical issue of our future… and the fragile environment of which we all serve as stewards.
While elected leaders grasp for solutions to many vexing issues, you and I know that false promises of an economic panacea through a corporate assault on our environment via slick water high volume, horizontal hydraulic fracture drilling cannot be permitted to blind our vision of the future. The health of our water planet depends not just on our collective vigilance but the actions being taken by those who are identified on the attached listing. Their actions serve as beacons calling us to our best selves. We need to demonstrate leadership to our fellow citizens and those whom we have chosen to serve as our elected leaders. Yes… we need to lead our leaders with a singleness and clarity of purpose.
Some snippets demonstrating exemplars of leadership follow…
Ø A recent image of Pope Francis holding a T-shirt with the slogan “No al Fracking”—“No to Fracking”—has sparked praise from environmental groups. Reports from a meeting between Francis and Argentine environmentalists hint that the pope may be preparing an encyclical dedicated to environmental issues, including the issue of fracking. If these reports are true, the pope would be following in the steps of Benedict XVI and John Paul II, who both recognized the depths of our current environmental crisis and eloquently encouraged appropriate responses. The namesake of St. Francis would dedicate thought and energy to environmental action, especially after John Paul proclaimed St. Francis “the heavenly Patron of those who promote ecology” in 1979
Ø In a script destined for a Hollywood movie a rural, low-income, mostly Hispanic New Mexico county passed a community rights ordinance, banning oil and gas drilling, and was sued by oil and gas companies. “We’re protecting our water,” say two Mora County commissioners who support the ordinance. “It’s unconstitutional,” cry the Independent Petroleum Producers of New Mexico and a couple of private property owners who are suing over the ordinance. Their lawsuit was filed Nov. 15 in federal District Court. People around the U.S. and the world who are deeply concerned about the influence of big corporations and the potential environmental damage from hydraulic fracturing methods, cheer on Mora County.
Ø Unifor, Canada’s largest energy union, is calling for a Canada-wide moratorium on all new oil and gas fracking. Already the provinces of Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador have introduced moratoriums on fracking. Nova Scotia has banned fracking while undertaking a review. Unifor is now pushing for a national moratorium. Unifor is raising concerns about the safety and environmental risks associated with fracking as well as the lack of informed consent by First Nations about fracking activities on traditional lands.
Ø A recent forum… one of many being conducted by environmental leaders throughout western New York State… featured Lou Allstadt, retired Mobil Oil executive, at Ithaca College. The blue-ribbon presenters shared their extensive research findings that due to sparse natural gas resources in New York’s shale deposits the economic “boom” contended by the NYDEC is a fiction. Rather says Allstadt,“New York will receive little of the purported economic benefits but will face the adverse realities of compressor stations, pipelines, heavy (truck) traffic and waste disposal issues.” Further… “Small test wells from ‘wildcat’ drillers will be present in Central New York and not the tens of thousands of wells that the DEC anticipated would proliferate.” New York would see little economic benefit and suffer the widespread problems associated with the industry.
At this time of festive reunion of families at Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the legions of people…neighbors, scientists, teachers and leaders who embrace the call to concerted action by not allowing HVHF drilling in their communities. Together we can (and must) prevail in assuring that the health, welfare andsafety of our neighbors and families will not be mere, empty words but will be the values that we insure for generations to come. We do need to lead our leaders in making this passion a reality.
Joe Hoff, Chairman
Keuka Citizens Against Hydrofracking