Saturday, February 11, 2012

Coalition Leader Dick Downey of Otego:
The Difference Is... We're Not Delusional

[Blogger's note:  This Letter to the Editor was printed and posted with the Feb. 6 Oneonta Daily Star, but — as has been my habit — I redistribute it here under an ongoing email deal I have with the author, a leader of the Unatego Area Landowners Association.  This is partly, of course, because I'm in pretty tight alignment with his views in the ongoing shale gas debate, and also because I respect the passion and the hours he's devoted to standing up for his landowners — but also because I really like the way he slings his verbiage.]

As usual, Adrian Kuzminski in his January 23 Letter to the Editor, perpetuates the misconception that those of us in favor of gas drilling are knuckle-draggers stuck in the Fifties, tooling around in our gas-guzzling Chevy convertibles, a deck of smokes rolled under the sleeve of our t-shirts, Booker T’s “Night Train“ playing on the radio.  I suggest that the farmers, hunters, recreational users, and landowners in general have a deep regard for the land they own and — by extension — the environment overall.  If energy could be economically extracted from cabbages, they’d be first in line at the cabbage patch.  Hey, they own the cabbage patch.

The difference between us and the antis is that we’re not delusional.  Cheap, clean(er) abundant, local natural gas is here under our feet, not in some “clean energy” daydream.  Until we get to Mr. Kuzminski’s renewable nirvana, somehow we still have to economically turn on the lights and heat the house.  That economical “turn on” is not going to happen by giving government life support to bankruptcy-bound Solyndras through subsidies and mandates.  Government supported, open source R&D centers, created to leapfrog the technology until renewables are competitive, might be a good idea, but that isn’t happening.

Meanwhile, Sustainable Otsego, when the sun isn’t shining, the wind isn’t blowing, the rivers aren’t dammed, the tides aren’t harnessed, the algae farms aren’t in existence, and biomass is an applause line in a Presidential speech, gas is the only game in town.

So dream on, Mr. K.  Renewables may be on that far distant shore.  Gas is how we get there.

— Dick Downey

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