Monday, October 15, 2012

Albany Rally For Truth & Energy, Oct. 15

Best hat of the day.
Nobody brought pitchforks, except for the one in this image, marking New York's
repeated delays on the question of shale gas (positive spin), or fracking (perjorative spin).
On the left, that's Susan Dorsey of Chenango County, 

one of the primary firebrands to this rally..
Probably the best reporter statewide on this issue (but still not as good as he could be),
Jon Campbell of the Gannett chain, appearing to be in the act of actually counting the crowd. 
But here's how Campbell's count wound up getting reported:  "Several hundred."
Some partisans put attendance at more than 1,000, while I figured it peaked at about 700 —
including construction workers
in hard hats joining late on their lunch breaks. 
I can tell you this for sure:  It took 16 busses to get most of the out of towners there,
probably all of them run on diesel.

Facing the crowd, with the Hudson River behind.
Landowners and supporters filled the amphitheater in Albany's Corning Preserve along the Hudson.
Landowners from Steuben County hit the road at 5:30 a.m., but were among the first to arrive. 
The pro-drilling side has been torn by those who are now ready to attack 

Governor Cuomo directly for his leadership pattern of delay, 
and those who still think it's smarter to counsel continued patience.
U.S. anthem sung by a Chinese choir from Queens, as viewed by one-time chicken farmer
Doug Lee, a landowner activist who emceed for the day, despite his middling accent. 
One of the most interesting, but totally blown, angles to New York's shale gas fight is the
disproportionate number of recent immigrants who are right in the thick of it.
I suspect this phenomenon has to do with New York populations who have personally experienced
oppression overseas — and are now fired up, watching their opportunities again under a
similar threat here in their adopted U.S.  It's a familiar pattern for anyone who's ever hung out

over the last two or three decades
with exiles of Cuba, South Vietnam, China, or
eastern Europe:  Their political outlook has been shaped much more forcefully in the direction of
traditional American values than that of most pre-existing citizens. 
I think that would make a helluva story, and some of it did get rare notice in the Albany paper here.
Crossing the pedestrian bridge into downtown Albany.  City police had officers mounted on
some really nice-looking workhorses to lead the protest march through street crossings.
Out-of-their-depth, anti-fracking celebrities were a frequent target, and rightfully so. 
But, on the same day as this rally, Yoko Ono and her son Sean Lennon were consulted by
New York media outlets for their expertise on health studies.
Race car van in parade of marchers and vehicles.  Does anyone know if
Kyle DeMetro's Number 15 car actually runs on natural gas?
Rosie the Riveter reincarnated.  I have a soft spot for persuasive material that lives on
in re-purposed forms, especially stuff with appeal to both the left and the right. 
Like peace signs surrounding "Drill a Gas Well, Bring a Soldier Home,"
this is another good one.
Message about mineral rights (in German) for Governor Cuomo.
Again, I ask, what is with these immigrants who seem to take their American rights much
more seriously than the largely jaded majority that's been kicking around here for generations? 
Upstate's remaining, largely old, largely white, largely rural guard has, in fact, counter-intuitively
joined forces with small circles of recent immigrants — to defend property rights and
economic opportunity against the continued onslaught of government control,
which lives on from the Sixties.  Unfortunately, this theme is a nearly complete turnoff for the younger
generations shaping modern media, especially in New York and the rest of the Northeast U.S. 
To most of them, it's just not a story.  I think that's nuts.
State Senator Tom Libous, representing the Binghamton, NY area, and one of the few
pol's statewide to consistently and forcefully support the pro-development cause. 
Most leaders, including Governor Cuomo, seem too afraid of the omnipresent shaming from
drilling opponents to take an unequivocal stand for (what I see as) the middle, regulated ground.

It's a failure of leadership in a democratic society, and New York State has a long,
colorful history of such failures.


Anonymous said...

With the high cost of living and taxes, it’s tough to hold on to land that has been in the family for decades or even hundreds of years. There’s a lot of love for the land, especially if you and your ancestors have walked it, worked it, planted it,cultivated it, lived on it and plan to die on it. That’s a human life invested that can be taken away just because the taxes go unpaid. Blood, sweat and tears are on that land. I know. My family have lived here since before this was the USA and we are struggling. So I can understand why many would want to get money to help them pay their taxes. But no amount of money is worth ruining our most precious resource,water, forever. You can’t drink money. The Catskill Mountains of NY State- such a beautiful rural and wilderness area in upstate New York, with reservoirs that supply NY City with water. We have some of the purest freshwater in the world and want to keep it that way. This is what we are doing: Check out the entire website and documents. Originally starting in the heart of the Catskills, this is now the fastest growing anti- fracking movement across NY state.

Andy Leahy said...


I fully support the right of a landowner -- who, for whatever reason, is dead-set against drilling -- to simply not sign a lease. And to buy more land, in order to decline to lease it.

That's a guaranteed, legal method of keeping the direct surface impact of drilling off their land. And being free to exercise that individual power, one way or the other, is the crux of owning private rights.

In exchange, would drilling opponents please find it within their ethical framework to tolerate and support the right of other landowners to choose a different, fully regulated path?

The answer is they won't. And that's why we have such a fight on our hands here in New York.