Unatego Area Landowners Association
Dick Downey comments on an Oneonta Daily Star article about the Constitution Pipeline stating they now “see benefits coming from the natural gas pipeline.”
Congratulations, Daily Star! You finally equate the Constitution Pipeline with the area’s economic health. While disapproving the route, the method of land appropriation, the preparation for construction, and the industry’s history of securing local tax abatement, the Star’s January 20/21st editorial at least notes some benefits and beneficiaries of affordable gas.
They include job retention at Amphenol and the agri-business in Frazier and, more generally, the benefits to small businesses, local governments, schools and homeowners. Unfortunately, the editorial goes NIMBY on local gas production. Earthquakes and secret chemicals are cited. Your apparent conclusion: just let Pennsylvania produce the stuff and pipe it north. We’ll take it; better underground than in trucks.
OK, but at least two cheers for your conversion.
Let’s drill a little deeper for some background. Upstate New York has been in a downward spiral for years. We’re bleeding population. Look at enrollment trends in local schools. In my district, Unatego, the enrollment 20 years ago was 1.479. It now stands at 806. Other districts tell the same story. With no jobs, people leave.
Businesses create jobs. New York touts it’s “open for business” but with the high taxes, the labyrinth of regulations, and high energy costs, the cost of doing business is far too often prohibitive. Solutions for these impediments are, perhaps, beyond local control but our leaders and institutions like the Daily Star must speak up for pipeline expansion.
While the Star’s focus on job retention is a good first step, job growth is the key to stemming the loss of young families and returning the area to vibrancy. The availability of natural gas is paramount to attracting businesses and creating those new jobs. Bottom line: we need the pipelines to deliver the gas.
Are you listening, Governor? Issue the permits. Stop the political games.
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.