This is a critical time in the history of Chenango County. Local government is being asked to make difficult decisions, about allowing and regulating the industry of unconventional gas drilling, that have been abdicated by the State of New York. Many loud and persuasive voices are promoting this activity. There are beautiful full-page ads in local papers seeking to reassure us. There are frequent commercials on the nightly news. Even headlines in local print media make a discussion seem like promotion.
We must ask: Why all this expense and effort? How much does it cost for a full page ad in multiple papers? How much does a television commercial cost? An industry that invests in advertising does so in anticipation of greater return on that investment. Considering the visible expenses we have seen, what might the anticipated return be?
Now comes the harder question: who among us will receive the profit? The loud voices who anticipate profit locally want town government to believe that a great number of our citizens will benefit. This argument is advanced by showing a map, implying that all residents in the county are land owners. Let us remember that land ownership does not equal citizenship. Indeed if town boards would listen carefully, there are many more voices expressing concern and asking for protection. And the land owners who seek profit are not in a vacuum. Their actions will affect us all.
I would ask members of local government to look around their dinner tables, look around at church, and take a walk around their towns. See all those who will pay far into the future to satisfy the ravenous appetite for a few. Exercise your responsibility to provide for all citizens.
Margaret D. Davis