Too many facets to the gas drilling story

I haven’t made up my mind about gas drilling. It’s not that I haven’t thought about it, and it certainly isn’t that I haven’t heard about it.
I’ve heard about it all right. Every meeting I go to, there’s someone there, pamphlet in hand or high horse underneath. That goes for both sides.
As my friend Jennifer says, “For every story there are really three – his, hers and the truth.” I’m still waiting for the third chapter.
Oh, there are plenty of well-meaning people. And as much as each side will deny it, the well-intentioned are likewise on both sides.
There are intelligent people on both sides too, which makes swallowing their tales that much more difficult.
And so I look back. Like the people in most rural areas of America, we in Sullivan County have long made a living off the land.
Some of the earliest settlers harvested timber and sent it down the Delaware to New York City. When the forests began to thin, they replaced them with cow pastures where the livestock ate the grass and gave milk that fed families by both its sale and its existence.
In the winter, generations have turned to the abundance of maple trees first for a food source and more recently as a cash crop – sap, made into syrup and candies.
And lest this be looked at as merely a western Sullivan County tradition, I point to Kiamesha Lake, where blocks of ice were in essence harvested and sold, where chicken farms were once a dime a dozen (at least their products were).
My point? That pastoral farm setting that’s laid out an environment we so need to protect has by its very nature laid the groundwork for something we’re afraid will sound the death knell.
For those who’ve signed – or intend to sign – gas drilling leases, it seems the logical next step in living off the land. They’ve bought this land. They own this land. And a lease may well be the best payout for their investment.
Ah, but then there’s the other hand. The devastating environmental affects that could render currently viable land – and everything surrounding it – useless.
See? A conundrum, and one I can easily admit I can’t answer. I’m not ashamed to tell you – I need more information.
So why bother writing about it? Simple.
Each time I hear one side or the other moaning about the other – without ponying up some valid facts and some real information – I have one answer for them.
If you want to make someone listen to you, stop. Walk to the other side of the issue and take a look. Then walk around it again.
And if you still haven’t changed your mind, get a bunch of people together and buy the land. Because whoever owns it has the ultimate say.

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  1. I too need more info. I have people coming into the library all the time and they tell me what I should believe. I’d like to decide for myself. I knew that saying would come in handy one day.

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