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Town of Callicoon gas drilling survey results

By Fritz Mayer
September 7, 2012

The results of a survey on gas drilling were tallied on September 7, with respondents saying by a two to one margin that they were opposed to gas drilling with hydraulic fracturing in the town.

The survey questionnaires were picked up at the Callicoon Post Office by this correspondent, who is also the editor of The River Reporter and Frank Rizzo, editor of the Sullivan County Democrat.

The questionnaires, which are post cards, were taken to the offices of the Democrat and counted by Rizzo and this correspondent, in the presence of the couple who arranged the survey, Alvin and Raizi Shoop.

A total 3514 surveys were mailed out using tax rolls and voter registration rolls; 91 of the surveys were not delivered to their addresses.

A total of 669 respondents marked the box that indicated they were opposed to drilling and fracking, 328 marked the box indicating they were in favor of it, and 35 questionnaires indicated the respondents were unsure.

New World? Not a bad idea.

I'm probably willing to sacrifice a lot more than you think and probably a lot more than most. But that's my own business. I notice you didn't dispute the issues concerning the uneven playing field. Perhaps things that might change the landscape but do no harm to the planet are worth the effort and...over time...if we are as technologically smart as we think we are, there are probably ways to even minimize the visual impact as well. It's all in the personal choices and we should be able to make them without being bulldozed by propaganda spewed forth from unlimited resources of wealth. In my view people have bought into a bill of goods that says they should have everything they want at their disposal 24/7. Instead I believe that makes everything disposable. I don't buy into that mindset but at least for now I still have the freedom to make that personal choice. The planet is NOT disposable and if everyone respected it we would have a new world. I'd like to go out thinking I found the "inner" resources to show how much I value the earth not resources bought, sold and stockpiled by power brokers.

The Bottom Line

Here's one thing you simply can't dispute: There are those of us who don't cave in to propaganda and rhetoric funded by the giant wheels of corporate bloat. Who you are now doesn't concern me in the least. The important thing is that I know who I am and I am a person who is willing to sacrifice monetary gain in favor of defending the environment from risk and the potential for risk put forth by operations such as injecting chemicals, recovering fluids, retaining fluids, transporting fluids known to contain harmful chemicals while all are at the mercy of potential human error. Yes, it's "us against them" and that's the way it's going to stay as long as corporations have been given the same rights as individuals. Failure to regulate banks, Supreme Court rulings that favor powerful energy and food cartels, government agendas to spend billions on military bases and operations around the world when we should be transforming into less energy dependence are all signs that freedom isn't free (from corporations that is). Even the out of control spending on political campaigns speaks of how much we are at the mercy of corporate money. We don't even have the freedom to choose who gets to debate and who gets on ballots. So, the one thing we can do is disagree until the cows come home. And I am all in favor of disagreeing with people who think like you Mr. Wythe.

You certainly have a right to your opinion,

however, I think your mis-informed, mis-lead or just delusional. One of the most toxic chemicals used to frack a well is glycol, the same stuff you and every other vehicle on the road drive with around every day in your car's radiator where the potential for human error is realized every day, all day long somewhere or other.

I might agree with some of the opinions you express, however this topic is about energy, specifically shale gas. Your dislike of corporations and government hasn't stopped you from using their product or enjoying the freedom and protections they afford you has it? How do you provide electricity to your home and computer? Heat your home? Run your car? Do the energy corporations force you to use their product? Would you rather see 25 or 30 - 300' tall windmills on top of that hill you see near your home? How about field full of black silicon solar panels instead of hay or corn in that field down the road? Maybe you'd rather a huge building full of incredibly toxic batteries storing the electricity those 'green' technologies produce for use when the sun isn't shining or the wind isn't blowing? Maybe a nice nuclear power plant on the Delaware River, maybe around Narrowsburg where the water is deep. Or does it make more sense to utilize the most abundant, cleanest burning, efficient fossil fuel we have right under our feet?

You say you are "willing to sacrifice monetary gain", what else are you willing to sacrifice? Without the energy these "giant wheels of corporate bloat" produce we all would be living back in the 19th century. That might be OK if the population was as small as it was back then, but with the numbers we have today it would be a whole different kind of world.

Spin Doctor

Who are you to assume that the survey means nothing to so many people because they were unresponsive? There's a myriad of reasons why people didn't or couldn't respond. You are losing your credibility when you make statements like that. And, as for those "elected" officials who support drilling in an area that is either more densely populated or designated as more precious and in need of special protection than other parts of our country where drilling has been done so "safely" as you say, how many of those officials are either lease signers or stand to gain monetarily from ties to leases? And if most drilling has historically been in the west where you can travel hundreds of miles and not see a homestead, how would you even know if chemicals leached out. If you are a fair person then you have to finally take a look at both sides of the issue. Everything is relative and you can't compare this area to places which are sparsely populated.

Anonymous posters have no credibility

Jennifer, the person who calls himself George Wythe does not have credibility, except with people, such as he, who only get their "facts" from the gas industry PR firms, especially, E.I.D. They just circle their wagons, and deny any other part of reality that conflicts with their goals.

His words are always an exact parroting of E.I.D. blogs, plain and simple.

No one responds to his four year out of date "facts", such as the pre-existing conditions of "flaming faucets", in which the "gas migration is biogenic only, not caused by the industry, pre-existing, and not a serious threat", or, "frac'ing is a 60 year old technology and has never caused one single case of contamination", Or, even how "wonderfully vibrant the economy is in Susquehanna, or Bradford, for almost everyone", and, where there is "no pollution", because, why would any knowledgeable person debate with the anonymous, in a blog like setting?. That should be saved for situations in which people stand up under their own names, and in more serious venues.

These types of industry writers have been committing suicide by word, since they came East. The more they speak, the more their lack of credibility becomes transparent.

An anonymous blogger, who writes like Mr. Wythe, was just exposed as Ryan Holbrook, a lawyer for Norse Energy. Ryan Holbrook's father even works for Norse Energy. These bad apples don't stray too far from their play book, and they always portray their playbook as the word of God.

That works, when they talk to their choir. The non kool aid human beings, see them for what they are, PR hacks, selling BS.

Typical Barfy

Since you can't cite fact to disprove what I say, you choose to 'shoot the messenger' in lockstep with your Saul Alinsky rulebook, isn't that so Barfy? You can keep trying to peddle your lame attacks on my person forever for all I care. The facts pertaining to drilling are clear and there for anyone and everyone to see. Where are your facts? Locked in your closed mind? Prove me wrong, I dare you. Otherwise, just stop boring us with your lies.

Drilling facts? Shoot the messenger? Us?

You are not a person, therefore, I can not attack "you". You are an unknown, anonymous, writer who throws juvenile words at people, such as "lame", and "barfy", and who tries to peddle your pro shale gas extraction opinions within a local newspaper, that serves a local area, in which you do not live.

I think you are right to refer to yourself as "us", as there are at least two of you, "Mr. Wythe", and, the real you, which is in hiding in some other State. In general, this is a small community, and people know one another. I have a history here. I pay taxes here. I speak out, here. This a real community.

You, on the other hand, are an unknown, blogger, from God knows where, waving a shale gas flag, expressing your opinions about very local politics.

What are you "daring" me to do? Write substance back and forth, with an unknown blogger, in TRR's electronic venue? That would be a very large waste of time. Look at your original two posts in this thread!

I'll turn around your dare, and ask you to write a "my view" column for TRR, or perhaps, just a letter to the editor. I believe TRR actually checks those submissions for the veracity of name, address, phone etc. I believe TRR actually checks the identity of such a person.

Until then, you might as well be Brad Gill's, or Lou D'Amico's, older cousin, from North Carolina, writing under a false name, George Wythe.

Thank you for your Saul Alinsky reference, though, I am hardly worthy of it. You are, on the other hand, are very worthy of my reference to Energy in Depth.

More attacks and excuses but,...

...all you've proven is my point.

Thanks Barfy !

not a question of energy but one of safety

The issue it isn't about money or fuel it is about safety and health This is what I have found-
All of these FACTUAL cases of water contamination are upstream of Binghamton:

Eight blowouts of drilling muds during Laser pipeline construction. ~100,000 gallons

WASTE dumped on private property (source: Craig Stevens) This is upstream of Binghamton:http://www.pressconnects.com/article/20110810/NEWS01/108100412/1-500-gallons-drilling-mud-spills-into-Pa-waterways
Depue 8H well (failed casing) is upstream of Binghamton:
http://www.marcellus-shale.us/Depue-Truthland.htm
Heavenly Angels Restaurant in Franklin Forks with high
arsenic and barium in the water: is upstream of Binghamton:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQMFrncktMY
Manning’s erupting water well is upstream of Binghamton:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kf_RxSuu9IA
Black Water in Franklin Twp. mentioned in this video is upstream of Binghamton:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPM64kseP30
Black Water in Great Bend Twp. is upstream of Binghamton:http://www.youtube.com/wat

How horrible!!!

Drilling mud spills into the waterway!!! MY GOD!! That's the end of all life as we know it!! Are you kidding me? A little muddy water? That's your big safety issue? Ever seen what happens after a heavy rain to any river or creek? Even the article you linked reads "drilling mud is a mixture of water and bentonite, a non-toxic, clay-like material ". The fact is if the state wasn't so ridiculous with their permitting process the pipeline could have open-cut that creek while pumping around the water thereby avoiding any risk of a frack-out.
A well casing is leaking across the road from Salt Springs SP, where the water has been bubbling methane since people can remember? Arsenic & Barium are common in water wells in some areas, however, they are not on the list of chemicals used in fracking wells, so why are you assuming a gas well is the cause? Oh! I see, because your 'factual source' is youtube and Craig Stevens! That explains it.

"a myriad of reasons" ?

Really? Are you trying to tell us someone who really believes their very land and water are at risk as some claim, won't take the, what, 30 seconds it takes to read and respond to this "survey"? Or maybe they can't afford the 32 cent stamp? (if one was even needed) I know if I was part of the fanatical anti-drill crowd I would respond. No, 3 out of 4 didn't respond because they don't subscribe to the fear mongering these so called 'environmentalists' are trying to sell. Plain as that.

An elected official, who supports drilling and incorporated it as part of his platform before the election should certainly be allowed to gain monetarily from their lease, why shouldn't they? The voters who elected them are of the same opinion if they voted for them, wouldn't you say that's representing their constituents views? The voters in Tusten and other towns elected those who oppose drilling and they passed laws preventing it, even though those in favor of it aren't happy about it, the majority rules. At least for now.

Do you really believe our 'area' is more precious to us than other places in the country are to the people who live there, no matter how densely populated? Have you taken a ride through Susquehanna County yet? It's not far away. Wells and pipeline are currently under construction as close as Thompson, Ararat, Gibson areas and east. Do you see any destruction, industrialization, pollution, or any of the other bull the anti crowd is trying to sell? You won't. What you'll see is obvious prosperity and occasionally a sign by a gravel road identifying the operator of a gas well which you probably wouldn't even know was there if it wasn't for that sign.

I looked at both sides of this issue and realize one side deals with facts and reality while the other deals in fear and hyperbole. I have yet to see any claim made by the anti-drill crowd link to real proof. From Fox's flaming faucets, which have occurred alot longer than gas drilling, to Dimock's water problems which every testing agency from private companies to the federal government has found safe, to the baloney that the local economy suffers instead of flourishes.

The real truth is, shale gas will all but kill green energy. The very abundance of shale gas changes everything. That is why these groups try every trick they can think of to stop it. But it means too much to too many. From landowners to workers, as well as our entire country's energy independence, we will all benefit.

Callicoon gas drilling survey

I know Fritz Mayer I know he pays taxes in Sullivan County but who is George Wythe and why do I not see him as a Sullivan County Tax Payer on the Tax program I use? SO if he doesn't live here who does he work for? I question his motive and math. I feel the undecided votes actually say...There is not nearly enough known about the health and other impact for these people to make a statement.

for starters,

I don't have any property in Sullivan, does that mean I'm not entitled to my opinion? Do I need your permission? I don't think so. FYI, I work for myself, not that it's any of your business either. "not nearly enough known about the health and other impact" ? Are you kidding? The HVHF process has been going on since the late 90's, over 12 years now, that's longer that it takes to become a brain surgeon. How long will be long enough to satisfy you people? Fracking in vertical wells has over a 60 year history, with in fact, no, zero, not one proven case of aquifer contamination, or health problems. It is successfully and safely used in over 30 other states including PA where the benefits are so obvious it's incredible. Farmers are actually doing well, improving their farms and herds, people are working, unemployment rates in gas counties are some of the lowest anywhere in the country. The new PA impact fee has raised over $200 MILLION already this year with the biggest part of it going directly to counties and towns hosting drilling. I guess this isn't the kind of "impact" you're looking for huh? Other than wild claims by unreliable sources, shouldn't some negative effect, if there are any, be obvious by now? I suppose there are a few things, rents go up for one, retail prices for many goods and services too. I guess that depends on which side your on as to whether or not that's a good thing or a bad thing.

The fact is less than 20% of Callicoon residents share your concerns, if that wasn't the case more would have certainly responded to the survey.

Results tell the story.

Some will conclude this survey means Callicoon residents oppose gas drilling by a 2:1 ratio, since it represents a cross section , or weighted, or whatever blah blah blah malarkey they claim. In fact, what it shows is less than 20% of Callicoon residents oppose drilling. The other 80+% are either for it or just don't think it was worth the bother to respond since their voices were already heard in last fall's election when Thomas Bose whipped Bruce Ferguson, (the rabid anti-gas candidate) by over 20% of the vote. The actions taken by Mr. Bose and the town board regarding gas extraction are correct and support the views of their constituents no matter how anyone tries to spin this survey.

A special thanks to the 22 town supervisors who sent a letter to Gov. Cuomo in support of Shale Gas, especially Supervisor Ed Sykes and Deputy Supervisor Harold G. Roeder, Town of Delaware, and also Supervisor George Conklin, Town of Fremont, both in Sullivan County. Thank you all for acting on behalf of those who elected you.

A coin has two sides

The article is not about Bruce Ferguson, and his election loss, it is about a survey.

It is absurd to state, as the above writer does, "In fact, what it shows is less than 20% of Callicoon residents oppose drilling. The other 80+% are either for it or just don't think it was worth the bother to respond".

By that unacceptable approach to analysis, it is perfectly logical to state the flip side of the coin, and that would be, "In fact, what it shows is that only 9% of Callicoon residents are for drilling. The other 91% are either against drilling, or just don't think it was worth the bother to respond".

Anyone who thinks that either of the above evaluations are valid, or logical, might benefit from a brain scan.

While I'm sure your speaking

While I'm sure your speaking from your own experiences regarding "brain scans", the only point I was trying to make is that the 'survey' is worthless, it means nothing. The fact that the majority, 71% of Callicoon residents didn't respond shows their total lack of concern for this issue. So, the 'majority' of respondents still represents the minority of residents.

29%, 65%, 32%

While I would have loved it if there had been 3,514 responses to the survey, a twenty-nine percent response (1,032), is an immense number for any direct mailing. It firmly shows the passion involved around this shale gas extraction issue.

A strong majority of the respondents, sixty-five percent, are against shale gas extraction, in the Town of Callicoon. Only thirty-two percent are for this industrialized, polluting, process.

These figures mirror exactly, the leasing data we at Damascus Citizens compiled on Damascus Township, PA, where just over 67% of individually owned, taxpaying, properties, had not leased, and just under 33% had leased.

While our leasing data does not reflect a survey, the similar numbers are startling.

Thanks to TRR, and the Sullivan County Democrat, for assisting in the survey, and thanks to Alvin and Raizi Shoop, for doing it.