Saturday, October 17, 2009

NY State Gas Pipeline News: And the Winner Is...

Governor David Paterson has proposed nearly $1 billion budget cuts to health care and education. Read more here. He is concerned that the state will have cash flow problems as soon as December unless measures are taken now.
New York is ground zero for the fiscal crisis, Paterson said. This is a painful plan, but we will share the burden.
Paterson's proposal faces strong opposition from the state legislature, MTA officials, the city teacher's union, and the city health care union.

One group will not have to worry, however. The natural gas industry will be well funded regardless of the vital human services being put on the chopping block. Governor Paterson made a rare visit to the North Country on Tuesday (10/13/2009) to announce his proposal for $2.5 million in funding for a natural gas pipeline into northern Franklin County, NY. Franklin County has pledged $1.4 million, and state Sen. Betty Little has managed to find another $2 million. In any case, all these funds will be provided by the tax payers of New York State. A few citizens have questioned why money from state and county coffers should be given to a private company. It is unseemly for an industry that pollutes aquifers, rivers, and streams and causes deadly air pollution and soil contamination while accumulating huge profits and enjoying exempt status from environmental regulations,including the Safe Drinking Water Act, to be given free money. This same industry has a reputation for causing terrible problems for people who live in the areas being drilled for natural gas. Accountability and oversight are not as common as people may think.

This project still needs the approval of the state Public Service Commission. Contact information for this commission is as follows:
The Hon. Jaclyn A. Brilling, Secretary
Phone (518) 474-6530

James Denn
Public Information Officer
(518) 474-7080

Read more about Governor Paterson's gift proposal to Big Gas here. Giving away public money to private industry at this critical time when money is desperately needed for health care and education is not only unacceptable. It is unconscionable. When are we going to ask the natural gas industry to start giving back to us to pay for all the damage and destruction that they are causing while making fortunes for themselves, especially their CEOs? And when are we going to realize that we may have a difficult dilemma on our hands before long: Water or gas?

Update: Pennsylvania is giving its all to special interests, including natural gas drillers, too. Read more here.


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