Gov. Cuomo Treats Upstate Like Oz, But Is No Wizard


S. Dennis Holbrook
Director of the Independent Oil & Gas Association of New York
Former Ex. Vice President & Chief Legal Officer of Norse Energy


New York isn’t Oz and Gov. Cuomo is no wizard.  However, the unending delay game with which he is punishing upstate makes him look like the cowardly lion. 

New York’s tortured decision-making on shale drilling stands alone among the 32 states with the ability to commercially develop natural gas from shale rock. Despite a consensus of academic studies, a wealth of experience and recent statements from the heads of the Energy Department, Interior Department and the EPA that focus on the science to conclude that hydraulic fracturing has been and can continue to be conducted safely, the process is still banned in New York.

Given the governor’s penchant for Hollywood-style theatrics rather than real science, an analogy to “The Wizard of Oz” seems appropriate.  Our story opens with Dorothy dreaming in depression-era Kansas (with a striking semblance to current day upstate) of a better life over the rainbow, presumably with more yogurt farms and casinos to rescue a reeling upstate economy.

Along the way, she meets the Tin Man, who some would suggest could be our governor because he seems to lack any “heart” for upstate and the devastating economic impact of indecision. His supporters might suggest he is more like the Scarecrow because of his “brain” and his stated purpose in allowing science not politics and hysteria to dictate the decision-making process.

Cuomo as Cowardly_lion2Others would suggest that Governor Cuomo is closer to the Cowardly Lion because of his lack of courage in making a firm decision. He has ignored the stellar safety record of the oil and gas industry in this state, because drilling is unpopular with the more extreme elements of his political base, ironically portrayed as the green-faced Wicked Witch of the West.

In the closing scene Oz is revealed as a subterfuge–like the role of the Health Commissioner–and the characters are told to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, who is actually manipulating everything including the image of Oz.  Our governor’s role in controlling every aspect of the debate over natural gas development in this state is abundantly clear, no matter how much he may choose to hide behind the image of a health review.

If science, rather than the governor’s presidential aspirations were the driving influence, New York would have safe natural gas development, regulated by the NYDEC, and Norse Energy would not have been forced to shut its doors.  A true leader would stand up to the extreme elements of his political base, focusing on the needs of his fellow New Yorkers, most of whom depend on natural gas to meet their daily needs, and who benefit environmentally as natural gas displaces coal in electric generation.

Cuomo - Oz-and-surrounding-countrie

Land of Oz – Is this Upstate New York?

Unfortunately, the consequence of Governor Cuomo’s indecision is not some Hollywood fantasy.  The lost jobs and commerce are quite real and the impact is being felt throughout New York, particularly upstate.

Note: S. Dennis Holbrook is a Director of the Independent Oil & Gas Association of New York and was Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer of Norse Energy, which ceased operations last month.  He resides at 77 Walnut Street, East Aurora, NY and can be reached at, 716 713-2489. 

follow-us-on-twitter  like-us-on-facebook  follow-us-on-linkedin

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

5 thoughts on “Gov. Cuomo Treats Upstate Like Oz, But Is No Wizard

  1. Andrew Cuomo is without a doubt the worst gov. NY has ever had. It’s pathetic that a man with the power that he has is led around by the nose by Yoko Ono, Sandra Steingraber, Mark Ruffalo (who one time commented on a youtube that Cuomo would get “creamed” if he permits fracking), CANY’s own darling Isaac Silberman-Gorn, Debra Winger and the rest of the nut squad and Hollywood types. NY is done for if we do not get a handle on these special interest types whose only goal is to keep upstate impoverished and a playground for the rich and elite from NYC and the Catskills. Craft breweries, yogurt factories, wineries, casinos, and organic farms are the foundation of the blueprint to keep us poor upstate as the wages paid by these businesses are near the bottom of all pay scales.

  2. Pingback: Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Mon, Nov 25, 2013 | Marcellus Drilling News

    • Tom: We were all “misinformed”. However, in Albanyese another way to put it is “lied to”. Pinocchio Cuomo is, as I already stated, the worst governor this or any other state has ever had. His protocol for getting the Unsafe Act passed was an abomination.

  3. Pingback: Gov. Cuomo: Where Do We Go to Get Our Business Back? - Natural Gas Now

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *