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Reasons to vote

November 2, 2011

If drilling comes to our region, the crime rate will probably rise. Sherriff Scott Busching of Williams County, ND said: "Small towns enjoying a boom in oil and gas drilling are seeing a sharp increase in drunken driving, bar fights and other hell-raising…. The drilling industry has brought with it a hard-working, hard-drinking, rough-and-tumble element that, in some places, threatens to overwhelm law enforcement…. We have come to the point here where we're almost overwhelmed. It's very close," he said, according to the Times-Herald Record.

Your mortgage could be threatened. The Arkansas Times, following up on a New York Times story, writes, "Banks are becoming wary of lending money for land on which gas wells might eventually be drilled and might become home to waste pits, environmental problems and other changes." You may think, so what, I'm not going to be borrowing money from the bank once they start drilling on my land, and I won't have to worry about paying off a mortgage. But no one really knows how this will work if you are forced to sign a lease because of compulsory integration—that is, forced to participate because of drilling on adjacent land. Gas leases could put your mortgage, your refinancing, or the sale of your home at risk.

As far-fetched as it may sound, drilling deep into the earth and breaking up shale may actually cause earthquakes. The New York Times reported the following: "A British seismologist said Friday that two minor earthquakes in northwestern England 'appeared to correlate closely' with the use of hydraulic fracturing, a method of extracting natural gas from wells that has raised concerns about environmental and seismological risks in the United States."

This is a local election, but we have been asked to weigh in on an issue of national and even international significance. This is not simply about the rights of large property owners to do whatever they want on their land. It is about the rights of all area residents whose lives and property values will be affected by gas drilling and which the Democratic candidates for our Town of Delaware board have promised to protect.

Michael Chojnicki, Joseph DiPane and Karen MacBride
Callicoon, NY