A Free-Market Energy Blog

'Imagine' A New York World of Hydraulic Fracturing (and economical clean energy, sustainable jobs)

By Steve Everley -- November 15, 2012

In recent months, the state of New York has been a focal point in the broader public debate over hydraulic fracturing. Activists in the state have teamed with musicians (in the loosest possible definition of the term) and Los Angeles movie stars to try to block shale development from occurring.

Hollywood’s finest, including Robert Redford and airline aficionado Alec Baldwin, as well as celebrities like meat-suit-wearing Lady Gaga have expended great effort in trying to undermine scientific conclusions about the safety of hydraulic fracturing.

Meanwhile, unemployment remains unacceptably high in the areas of upstate New York where prospective natural gas development would be located. So, it was with perhaps little surprise that when the voters in the Southern Tier had their say at the ballot box last week, they sent a clear message that they’ve had enough of “artists” telling them how to live their lives.

As the Associated Press reported, candidates opposing hydraulic fracturing “were beaten up and down the ballot after intense campaigns, some of which were framed as referendums on shale gas development.”

Translation: bring all the tambourines and celebrity star power you want, but facts will win the day, and the people have spoken.

Not to be rebuffed by democracy, “Artists Against Fracking” founders Yoko Ono and Sean Ono Lennon – best known for breaking up the Beatles and, well, being the son of the lady who broke up the Beatles, respectively – have paid for a huge billboard that says “Imagine There’s No Fracking.” Naturally, the sign is in New York City, far away from both where development will actually occur and the people who voted overwhelmingly in favor of such development.

Artists Against Fracking

The group claims that the billboard was placed on a route that Andrew Cuomo frequently travels, meaning they’re clearly trying to tell the governor to ignore the voters and ban hydraulic fracturing. To be fair, they could have put the billboard in Elmira or Horseheads or anywhere else in the Southern Tier, but after the thumping that opponents of responsible natural gas development took at the polls, it’s probably for the best that they kept their toxic message far away from the people it would most severely impact.

What Yoko, Sean, Ms. Gaga, Jack Donaghy, and the countless other wannabe “experts” don’t understand is that in upstate New York, people don’t have to “imagine” anything. There’s effectively been a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing since 2008 throughout the state. The lack of jobs (unemployment in the Southern Tier is above the national average) means upstate New Yorkers are actually living in a world without responsible natural gas development – not just singing about it on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and pretending it’s somehow paradise.

If there’s one thing to be learned from the recent elections, it’s that New York voters are done with the games and grand charade. They want jobs and they want futures for their families, and last week they voted for both.

Hopefully they won’t have to “imagine” a better life for much longer.


  1. Tom Tanton  

    Well, I hope the movement for rational energy policy and development follows the advise of Dave Loggins rather than Yoko and Sean. “Please come to LA (Cali)…” in his song, ironically, titled “Please come to Boston.”


  2. Michael Douglas  

    Hydrofracking from a climate change perspective is absolute insanity. From the estimated 7,000 diesel truck trips per well, the construction of cement well pads, the extraction process, the “treatment” of the waste water, plugging of non productive wells, leaking methane, and the burning of the gas itself is all together a massive amount greenhouse gas emissions that will drive our planet past it’s threshold and cause more extreme weather events, melt glaciers, and raise sea-levels.

    So, now you say that the southern tier of New York is in need of jobs and that fracking is the only way? Do you know that most of the fracking jobs are filled with workers from out of state who come for a short while, drill a well and leave with the money that is supposedly supplying the southern tier with jobs? Not to mention the unintended consequences like rental inflation, increased homelessness, increased crime, and increased health services that come with these gas and oil workers. This article is a really poor example of why fracking needs to happen now in the southern tier. Steve Everley needs to get his facts straight before polluting the media with this kind of garbage.


    • severley  

      Thanks for the comment, Michael. Experts from around the world — including the United Nations, the International Energy Agency, and Environmental Defense Fund — have all affirmed that natural gas development should be viewed as a positive step in broader efforts to address climate change. Officials in the Obama White House have also praised natural gas as a clean energy source that we should embrace. I think most folks would consider their conclusions to be credible and noteworthy, but if you wish to have another opinion, that is your right.

      As for your claim that “most” of the jobs will come from out of state, you are unfortunately mistaken. In neighboring Pennsylvania, more than 70 percent of all workers hired by the Marcellus shale industry are from Pennsylvania, according to data from the state’s Department of Labor and Industry.

      If you believe the shale industry is not delivering economic prosperity, I urge you to read the following story, which appeared in today’s Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/the-new-boom-shale-gas-fueling-an-american-industrial-revival/2012/11/14/73e5bb8e-fcf9-11e1-b153-218509a954e1_story.html

      Hardworking Americans have jobs today because of the shale industry, and companies that were taking multi-billion dollar investments to other countries just a few years ago are now moving their operations back to the United States. All of this is due to affordable and abundant natural gas supplies, a growing portion of which is being responsibly developed from shale. To oppose shale development — and hydraulic fracturing specifically — requires not only denying those events ever took place, but also a hope that such investment in the United States will never happen. Once again, if that is your position, that is your right.

      Thank you again for your comment. But next time, I would urge you to research the facts before issuing such brazen accusations.

      Steve Everley


  3. Enviro Equipment Blog  

    The anti-hydraulic fracturing crowd will stop at nothing to discredit this drilling practice which very well may make the United States the leading producer of fossil fuels by the end of the decade. Their latest attempt is by a New York-based organization called ‘Grassroots Environmental Education’ which put out a supposedly unbiased (yea, right!) report stating that the hydraulic fracturing is radioactive and will kill New York State residents (i.e. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/karl-grossman/fracking-and-radium_b_2096539.html). Naturally, the “investigative reporter” who did the story sounds like the report’s validity should not be questioned and that everything in it should be taken as the gospel truth.

    That’s liberals for you.


  4. Anziani  

    Here they go with the GHG B.S. again! Show me one scientific experiment or PROOF that .04% (CO2) can heat anything except itself and then for only about 5 microseconds with so-called back radiation. PROVE that .04% of the troposphere will heat the other 99.96% of the water vapor, nitrogen and oxygen left. Show me scientific experiments or proof that CO2 stays in the troposphere any longer than 3-5 years. Show me scientific proof that the whole “Climate Change” thing is other than B.S.!


  5. rbradley  

    Anziani…. I will quote climatologist Pat Michaels:

    “… AGW is a truism. Add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and you will get a radiative change. The key concept is not change but rather the true net sensitivity, which certainly appears to be lower than values typically used in the IPCC model ensembles. Policies are rightfully contingent upon sensitivity rather than mere existence, and low sensitivities should associate with a “hands off’ policy because natural technological change rates are so high that the issue becomes a non-problem.

    The alternative hypothesis of a climate change largely driven by the sun in recent decades suffers from the problem of stratospheric cooling. Increasing solar output would have the opposite effect, while increasing carbon dioxide is highly consistent with it. Stratospheric cooling is a problem dragon slayers.”


    Anthropogenic global ‘lukewarming’ is a far more teneble hypothesis than


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