Letter to the Editor: Who will protect me?


Who will protect me? I have received a lengthy letter from my insurance provider, Preferred Mutual Insurance, meant to “clarify policy language …” Coverage is still excluded for the “release, discharge, dispersal, seepage, migration, or escape of pollutants” This follows in the footsteps of Nationwide announcing that hydraulic fracturing operations are prohibited in relation to properties it insures. Other providers will undoubtedly follow.

The federal government won’t protect me. Former VP Dick Cheney and unidentified captains of industry helped draft the 2005 Environment Protection Act which made natural gas industries exempt from following dictates of the safe drinking water act or the clean air or clean water acts. Corporate enemies can make my air un-breathable and my water undrinkable and it’s OK. In the latest iteration of the House of Representatives one of every five votes has either rolled back protections for public lands, clean air, clean water, or enriched the oil industry.

State government won’t protect me. FOIL requests tell us that drillers were given exclusive access to NY drilling rules weeks before they were released. The DEC is preparing a generic environmental impact statement (sGEIS), thus treating the industry like a patron rather a regulated entity. If NY were serious they would repeal the Compulsory Integration law, a transfer of private property rights to the gas industry. Governor Cuomo says he will decide whether fracking is safe based upon science, and political science is involved in a politics-based deal with State Senator Libous who cares not for my property rights, to allow fracking in those places represented by the Senator. Why is my drinking water source not as important as the water source for New York City or Syracuse? Why is a health assessment survey not being considered?

Using tax money, my county government has hired an un-credentialed natural gas consultant to work with local business, schools and leaseholders to welcome in the gas industry. The way is paved for industry to reap enormous profits. Even local townships may not protect me. Guided by well paid industry shills, a Landowners Coalition is succeeding in getting town boards to endorse acceptance of whatever plan our DEC comes up with concerning gas drilling. Shame on town boards thinking that the DEC knows their own towns better than they do.

The natural gas industry is spending millions in newspaper and TV ads to make me believe that I don’t need protection from them, but experiences from other places proves them wrong. We are not protected.

Earl Callahan

New Berlin

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