Unatego Area Landowners Association
Otsego County recognizes the need for cheap energy (natural gas) in their county and has endorsed the building of the Constitution Pipeline.
Kudos to the Otsego County Legislature for passing a resolution endorsing the Constitution Pipeline at their November meeting. It was fitting that it followed a presentation by the CEO of the County’s industrial development agency. His 15 point program for projected growth depends on cheap energy. Cheap energy=gas. In our region, gas = the Constitution Pipeline.
The usual naysayers were present, reciting a litany of woes heralding the end of civilization as we know it. Unpacking this lowest tier of the opposition, you find many sincere and tenacious folks who are against all fracking, all pipelines, and all fossil fuels. Most speak from fear and an ideology that impels them to protect Mother Earth, no matter the costs. They use anecdotal information and quote from “studies” and stories they get from the internet. This face of the opposition. While vitally important to the anti-gas cause, is just the foot soldiers.
The supporting tier are the academics who produce “studies,” the press that highlights the latest stories, and the internet bloggers who amplify this mix of circular propaganda. The “studies,” are usually paid for by anti-gas money-men, then peer reviewed by friendly colleagues. The anti-gas media picks up the “studies,” puffs them up with headlines and pull-quotes but never reports the repudiations or corrections. The internet acts as an amplifying echo chamber. When the narrative reaches critical mass, it ends up in the mainstream press. Then it becomes . . . THE TRUTH.
That’s how a flawed Duke University study with Otsego County traces is referenced in The Economist magazine. It’s how the death of 17 cows in Caddo Parish, Louisiana, gets more internet coverage than 29 Special Forces troops downed in Afghanistan. The cows then becomes a plot point in a Matt Damon movie. A letter to the editor in the Albany Times Union purporting to be from an environmental group in New Jersey can be traced to a solitary writer and her secretary in New York City. Reuters News Agency reports on an oil rig mishap in North Dakota. Reuters characterizes it as “ongoing.” When I call the environmental officer in charge, he laughs. “The mist of oil spray on the snow was cleaned up before I arrived,” he said. “Reuters phoned as I was finishing my paperwork, so I guess that’s what they must mean by “ongoing.”
That’s Reuters, folks. The international news agency. Reportage like that is akin to seeing a fender-bender on New York’s Route 7 ending up below the fold in the London Times.
This deluge by anti-gas academics, the media, and activist groups is carefully orchestrated. The anti-gas consortium gets cash and logistics from the prime movers – an interlocking web of elitist tax exempt foundations and non-governmental organizations (NGO). You know their names – Rockefeller Brothers, Heinz, Eric Schmidt (Google), Pew, Steyer, Soros are some of the larger players. They’re joined by scores of smaller foundations and NGOs, all working to keep gas in the ground. Failing that, the objective is to make it costly to move gas to market. The actions are taken to flatten the price-spread between low-cost natural gas and high-cost renewables. The elites are banking (literally “banking”) on people choosing renewables if the prices equalize. As early backers of renewable energy, they stand to make lots of money.
Enter Governor Cuomo, their buddy. His energy plan, Reforming Energy Vision, sets goals and standards that can only be met by mandating a government driven artificial market for renewables. He then subsidizes, tax abates, creates credits for wind and solar through the budget and impedes gas development by executive order. The Constitution Pipeline delay is his handiwork. In New York, Cuomo is the steamroller that flattens the spread.
Only a couple of flaws. We, the New York tax and rate payers, will pay the tab.
Electricity will cost more. Germany has been implementing plans similar to New York’s since 2003. In Frankfurt, Germans now pay a household rate of 39 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity, three times what we currently pay NYSEG in New York.
The results of the German government’s push for renewables to reduce CO2 emissions pales in comparison to the power of market forces at work in the USA as gas replaces coal in electric generation. Our CO2 emissions are at 20 year lows and destined to go lower . . . if rational economics are allowed to prevail. Mandated and subsidized renewables are a stealth tax on the taxpayers and ratepayers. New Yorkers will pay more money (nothing new there) for less environmental benefits.
However, it’s not all bad. Somebody profits. It just isn’t us.
Richard Downey is a retired New York City schoolteacher and a member of the Unatego Board of Education and the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York.