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NY to Ban Fracking: Turn out the Upstate Lights

NY to Ban Fracking: Turn out the Upstate Lights

Upstate NY’s dim light bulb just went out.

It’s tough up here in NY’s flyover country, that enormous expanse that starts in the Catskill mountains north of New York City, and runs north towards the Adirondack Mountains through the State Government City (Albany), westward for hundreds of miles along the “Southern Tier” past Elmira and Corning, then up to Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo, which are shadows of their former selves.

There are bubbles of prosperity, mostly college towns like Ithaca, but beyond the bubble, it’s tough.

And depressing.

This is beautiful country and countryside, but it has been bleeding population and jobs for decades.

Just as used to be the case in the area of Pennsylvania just across the Southern Tier border, less than an hour south of Ithaca.

Upstate NY Map

Fracking changed all that for the Pennsylvania flyover country.

As in many other places around the country, fracking turned around what James Carville once referred to as the Alabama part of Pennsylvania.

There were high hopes along the Southern Tier. The prospect that the years-long fracking moratorium would be lifted resulted in large cash payments for mineral rights to farmers and others in this region.

Those hopes are dead. As a doorknob.

Cuomo to Ban Fracking in New York State, Citing Health Risks:

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration announced on Wednesday that it would ban hydraulic fracturing in New York State because of concerns over health risks, ending years of uncertainty over the disputed method of natural gas extraction.

State officials concluded that fracking, as the method is known, could contaminate the air and water and pose inestimable dangers to public health.

That conclusion was delivered during a year-end cabinet meeting Mr. Cuomo convened in Albany. It came amid increased calls by environmentalists to ban fracking, which uses water and chemicals to release oil and natural gas trapped in deeply buried shale deposits.

It didn’t need to be this way:

The ban is popular with environmentalists, of course, but it will deprive farmers and other landowners of billions of dollars in royalties their neighbors in Pennsylvania are enjoying with the fracking boom. And that’s sad, since New York’s Health Department report doesn’t give much supporting evidence for the ban, other than vague claims of surface pollution, noise and economic disruption that accompany any large-scale industrial development.

The report cites no solid evidence that fracking can cause methane and other hydrocarbons trapped in shale rock thousands of feet underground to suddenly change their behavior and migrate through a mile or more of bedrock. Fracking can contaminate groundwater, of course, but only if drillers make mistakes installing well casing, or spill oil or fracking fluids on the surface — accidents that can happen with any type of drilling.

There will be litigation, but good luck with that.

The party’s over. Turn out the lights.

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“NY’s dim light bulb just went out.”

While I was no fan of Gov. Cue-mo, I wish his family condolences. Terrible time to lose a family member.



The druid religion of the Collective (which HATES good science) strikes again.

As I understand it, the report admits that there’s no evidence horizontal fracking is unsafe, or even any reason to suspect that it’s unsafe, but there’s no proof that it is safe either. If we had gone with the proposition that nothing new may ever be done until it’s been proven safe, we’d never have come down from the trees.

“Hmm, this agriculture thing. You say you can just stick a seed anywhere in the ground, and a plant will grow in that same place? And you think it’s safe to eat those plants? Yes, I know that’s how nature works too, but nature knows what it’s doing and maintains a balance; how do we know that it’s safe to sow seeds wherever we like? Maybe there are spots where it’s safe to grow crops and spots where it isn’t. Or maybe some seeds are safe to sow and some aren’t. Or maybe there’s some critical mass of plants that will trigger a catastrophe. What if all these new “farmed” plants suck all the carbon dioxide out of the air? What if all that extra food attracts hordes of deer? Oh, what’s that? You’ll put up ‘fences’? More unproven technology! How do we know fences are safe? What if someone climbs up one and falls?”

I went to undergrad at SUNY Binghamton (or whatever they’re calling it these days) right on that NY/PA border. (My smarter sister went to Cornell, 45 miles or so north. 🙂 )

That was in the mid-80s. National economy was booming under Reagan, but not “upstate” NY. People still lamented losing all the shoe factories–I shit you not, the shoe factories–and everyone was desperately hoping to get a job with IBM, the prevalent NY computer company that had NEVER, EVER, EVER laid anybody off.

Then IBM restructured out of mainframes, laid a ton of people off, lots of career IBM folks with whole retirements in IBM stock were wiped out.

Upstate NY, outside of the college towns (and not even all of them) is Appalachia of the 1800s, but with DirectTV, meth, and a constant stream of 20-year-olds fleeing the state for friendly climes.

(I recommend they go wherever the most fracking is happening.)

Awesome job, Empire State. Awesome. Job.

–Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    Ragspierre in reply to Andrew Branca. | December 17, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    If I were advising a young man, I’d recommend that they learn directional drilling technology.

    Even in a stupid state like Nuevo Ork, they still may be able to produce out of the right kind of formations without fracking. You just drill a really long production zone by turning horizontal, which is the whole attraction to directional drilling. But it will always be about economics.

    Fortunately, those who live in that area still may be able to find work across the PA border, where they are actively fracking. It’s a blue state, too, but there are also still enough blue collar workers left to keep some sense of reality in its policy.

    Not A Member of Any Organized Political in reply to Andrew Branca. | December 18, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    Sounds as though they’re all Fracked Up.

How dare you say Cuomo has turned out our last light!

We proudly (gag) accept Marcellus shale drill cuttings, wastewater, sludge, and other smelly stuff from Pennsylvania’s fracking boom to place in our landfills.



Fracking would be good for New Yorkers’ health. When people are poorer, they are sicker. When they don’t work, they get sicker. When economy is weak and productive people leave, taxes rise on remaining producers, and that makes them sick.

Hollywood propagandizes us with their liberal messaging … man’s house burns up, “there was fracking down the road, don’t ya know. Yeah buddy, that fracking is bad stuff.” They can’t stop lecturing us on their BS/PC religion, and script it in every show.

There may be a dozen homes affected nationally, but they found all problems were from a casing or sealing problem, not fracking. More fracking means fewer wells, less chance of casing leaks.

Illinois is said to be the Saudi Arabia of coal, California won’t drill … too bad the most in debt states are so self righteous, while cutting their nose off to spite their face.

This has the interesting effect of keeping money out of the hands of the more right leaning portions of the state and further concentrating wealth and influence leftist NYC.

Why do they even pretend they care about ‘science’ at all?

Just like climate issues, it’s all about ideology first, and science is irrelevant.

    They still have to be able to “fool some of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time.”

    stevewhitemd in reply to Estragon. | December 18, 2014 at 7:40 am

    Don’t forget that the greenies will use New York’s “science driven” ban elsewhere to shut down fracking. After all, New York said it was dangerous so it has to be so, right?

    There’s no science behind it but the average person will never hear that from the MSM.

    soljerblue in reply to Estragon. | December 19, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    Ideology first, last, and everlasting. Science must conform. Faith must conform. Education must conform. We must march in lock-step — HUT-2-3-4…

The oil will still be there for future, wiser, generations.

Eastwood Ravine | December 18, 2014 at 2:25 am

Just wondering if any of the energy producing states in or near the North East might consider not selling their energy to the State of New York.

It would be cool to bring the liberals to their knees when they don’t have the power to charge their IPhones.

It’s about power, nothing more. Compare fracking with casinos, Albany’s “gift” to upstate New York. Fracking involves thousands of individuals negotiating and dealing directly with independent energy firms and hundreds of independent drillers and related companies. It involves revenue streams flowing directly to individual land owners and cash flows from and among the drillers and energy firms, ALL with NO participation by the crooks in Albany. Albany’s take is limited to tax remittances, Albany’s participation is zero. None.

Compare that with casino gambling, Albany’s gift the peasants. Albany dictates how many casinos will be permitted and chooses the locations (more about this below) where they will be built. Individuals seeking to participate must apply to, be approved by, and receive licenses from Albany. Applications for licenses must be accompanied by “application fees” in the form of tens of millions of dollars, literally truckloads of money deliverable with the library-sized applications that provide Albany with the details of every aspect of the applicant’s proposed casino. The application fees are to be used to create a state casino oversight commission – imagine, an entire organization of government jobs created whole cloth from nothing, for brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, brothers-and sisters-in-law, favorite aunts, unfortunate uncles, husbands and wives, all available to be doled out by the Albany. But wait, it gets better. After the state awards licenses, it sets the rules of operation and oversees the businesses. It takes (skims) its piece directly off the top and dictates who gets what from what’s left. The economics in some of the proposals rank among the world’s great fantasies.

New York State’s foray into casino gambling is a gigantic, state run, state controlled racket. Fracking involves thousands of individuals and independent firms, going about their business, producing a valuable good, and paying taxes, all without government participation. It’s about power and control; it has nothing to do with the environment and the state just cannot allow it.

Want a laugh? (if you’re still here) That row of counties in NY that share the straight line border with PA have been known as the Southern Tier since the beginning of recorded history. Once prosperous, it has long been economically depressed by the exodus of businesses from NY. The ever-beneficent state, in all its wisdom, declared that two(!) casino licenses would be awarded to businesses in the Southern Tier. Subsequently, howls of outrage accompanied by cries of equal pauperism (justifiable) emerged from the northern part of the state, which also wanted in on the casino gravy train. No problem, said Albany, we’ll write a legal definition of Southern Tier and include the counties whose shores are washed by the waters of Lake Ontario! You can’t make it up.

pablo panadero | December 18, 2014 at 8:06 am

Note that Cuomo will not ban the PRODUCTS OF FRACKING. If they truly believed that fracking was dangerous, they would require that the local gas utilities provide only certified frack-free gas. That way, they would promote the establishment of a safer technology.

theduchessofkitty | December 18, 2014 at 8:09 am

Ban fracking, New York. Go ahead.

And leave all of NY State in the dark!

(Meanwhile, your inhabitants who can afford a car to drive out of state are showing up here in TX…)

Michael Settle | December 18, 2014 at 8:25 am

I have not hear.d anything about banning imports of energy products obtained by fracking in other places. Just some more New York hypocrisy of it is ok for someone else to do it so we get a cheap product

I live in the Northern Tier of PA, the epicenter of the Marcellus Shale Play in PA. I am sitting in my winter home in SC, a home I was able to purchase because of the Fracking Industry. A very selfish part of me says, way to go Cuomo! And just in case some people are wondering, that issue with the water igniting coming out of the sink? My PA house has that too, and it was happening way back in 2003, years before the fracking started. Naturally occurring in the well water, and easily fixed.
I would however, like to thank NY for their nice casino, just over the state line, and the $5.99 buffet.

So what. Seriously. So what. NY will become the latest turn of the rust belt screw. What’s the worst that happens? They raise taxes by 20%? Again, so what?

The Dems’ ill-conceived, anti-free market economic policies have wrought havoc on the non-NYC-area economies for decades. Luring businesses and jobs has been difficult. When, on a rare occasion, a major company is lured to these areas, it it touted as an accomplishment, instead of being a de rigeur occurrence that is the fruit of economically-sound, business-friendly policies which create an environment that is hospitable to job growth and entrepreneurial investment and risk-taking (as North Carolina and Texas have done, with great success).

Apparently, Cuomo wants New York State to remain economically unbalanced and non-diversified, dependent to an unhealthy degree on New York City and the other major urban areas (Rochester; Buffalo) for tax revenue. Very sad and unfortunate.

Advice to young men with access to money, buy up mineral rights to vast acreages (not lease). These rights should be dirt cheap now. In 20 years or so when energy supplies begin to dry up elsewhere and prices increase, NY will get developed. Meanwhile, New Yorkers will miss out on economic improvement. Fracking has been accepted as safe enough by many states and has gone on for years. Cuomo is in effect saying, “you, other states, are all wrong, NY is right.” He promotes tourism jobs and casinos. Not what we need, an economy based on housekeeping and groundskeeper pay or gambling addicts. NY’s high taxes and “home rule” patchwork quilt regulations would have made NY unattractive to the energy industry, so we would probably be last to be developed. NY will continue to bleed high income people and good jobs and get politically bluer until we become like California, nearly bankrupt. Congratulations Cuomo, your helping to change NY from the Empire State to the Pauper State.

Obviously the fact that he lost the entire area in the recent election played into this little mans decision. The NY economy has been devastated and the best they come up with is no taxes for new businesses as the old businesses leave town.

The economic explosion started by Governor Clinton in 1820 is now completely done. They don’t make them like they used to.

how ’bout we call them “frackpots.”

“Our rural communities are dying a slow, painful, poverty-stricken death and hope is scarce.”

This is the goal of the Progressive plan for America.

“Upstate NY’s dim light bulb just went out.”

Not really — the real dim bulb is that leftist mafioso in the governor’s mansion.

It’s payback for the upstate population not willing to obey the ridiculous gun control laws that Albany and NYC wanted to foist on them.