Upstate New York Landowner, Shale Gas Activist
Vic Furman talks about Sullivan County, New York, farmer Bill Graby who fought for fracking for years and whose future was sold out by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
I offer this post In memory of my friend Bill Graby who has passed away but gave us all great encouragement because he was a true warrior. Don’t look for stats in this one because I know most visitors here are well aware of the truth about New York and its denial of economic revitalization to Upstate. But, I have to honor “Big” Bill Graby for his role in fighting back against this tyranny.
I am soon to see seventy years of age — just a few more years — but, if you compare it to Governor Cuomo’s length in office and his political staying power, a few years is a lifetime for many of us. When the Governor got elected in 2010 he made speeches on gas drilling in upstate to the effect he would let the science decide, but we know better because we saw the televised boy and trick pony show he and Dr. Zucker gave us on December 17, 2014, as he sold us all out.
It was a science circus where the data, such it was, came from anti-gas screeds peer-reviewed by other anti-gas activists such as Sandra Steingraber. We saw the Park Foundation fund Josh Fox, Walter Hang and Tony Ingraffea to undermine the case for gas. Steingraber grabbed big bucks from the Heinz Endowments and Walter Hang got millions from the Rockefellers to produce junk science with less credibility than a unicorn farm in the Adirondacks.
But, Bill Graby fought on. He died in 2019 but several of us only recently learned of the loss of this fighter, yet another example of a warrior for our rights to harvest the crop that would have saved his farm from auction and many like it. He never quit or hung up on hope that New York would come to its senses and reject the falsehoods spread by Cuomo, even after his farm was lost. He was a respectful man with integrity. He was measurable presence who took pride in his life, family, and friends and, even though I only knew him from the Upstate gas wars, I could see this in his self presentation. He was a joyful man, a happy warrior.
Eventually, New York will drill. There are billions of cubic feet gas beneath our state that cannot be ignored by a sane government, a state that is in a financial downturn as we finance free education for illegal aliens, give them licenses and reward them with welfare and other benefits for which New York’s own citizens do not qualify. It doesn’t take a genius to realize the gold beneath our feet is natural gas and, sooner or later, we’ll all need it.
Instead of starting this year in New York with a $9 billion deficit, we could have been another Pennsylvania. We could have been collecting ad valorem taxes impact fees, enriching our citizens who, like their Pennsylvania cousins would have supported food drives, built new hospitals, created new education programs, built new parks and created new businesses to give Upstate life again.
That’s what Bill Graby wanted; the same thing his neighbors across the Delaware River wanted. I saw a cartoon that I wasn’t able to copy and paste but it would have got a big laugh from Big Bill. It was of a family living in an igloo all snuggled together in an attempt to stay warm in freezing temperatures in the Northeast as others protested fossil fuels outside. It was intended to depict the life Yoko Ono, Mark Ruffalo, Leonardo DiCaprio and many of the presidential candidates in 2020 seem to suggest we Upstaters should all be living even though would never accept living without fossil fuels to heat their own homes, of course.
I’m guessing this post will generate comments from the usual suspects because it is truth. Let me pre-empt some of their nonsense, however. Despite their claims of massive water pollution, two-headed goats and their penned list of the harmed; the fact is there has been no credible evidence to support their claims.
Unfortunately, there has been little press about what we do know; that Food & Water Watch and Catskill Mountainkeeper paid Craig Stevens as much as $6,000 per month to carry around a phony jug of brown water claiming it was due to fracking, all while selling water filtration systems to those who bought into his carpet bagging, including Ray Kemble. Likewise, there were no stories in the press about activist film maker Willy Huston filming a water truck dumping water on a hayfield and saying it was frack fluid, even though he admitted in court under oath it was a misrepresentation of fact.
That’s why I want to thank Tom for this blog site and the ability to inform and debate. Let me also thank Jim Willis for his excellent reporting at “Marcellus Drilling News” And, let me acknowledge the many commenters on this site, responsible or not, who keep the debate going. We know, in time, the failures of policies that are already result in 6,500 people a month fleeing to greener pastures, will become clear to all. Eventually, many of us will see the awakening of a government in New York that accepts the true science and value of natural gas harvesting.
Sadly, Big Bill Graby will not be here to see that awakening and perhaps I won’t either but it will happen and Bill will be smiling from the heavens. I’d like to think he’s already trying to tell us to keep the debate alive and to never quit, because, quite simply we are right and are opponents are wrong.