Yes, That’s Me — In a Panda Suit
Director of Public Affairs — IOGA-NY
I offered this post back in January, before we heard about the recent plans for multiple protests in Watkins Glen. The hypocrisy and shallowness of the folks planning this stuff cries out for a repeat, so here we go:
Perhaps some of you saw this week the curious notice posted online of a “civil disobedience” camp being organized next weekend on “an off-grid farm” near Keuka Lake by those who want to prevent clean-burning natural gas from being produced in, for and by New York State. Of course, the two-day activist training sessions may be off the electrical grid, but according to the sign-up sheet online, “we ESPECIALLY need people who are driving to sign up.” Presumably they mean driving “cars,” and presumably those cars are powered by “fossil fuels” — or the things they’re there to protest. Too bad irony is such a dead scene.
Think about it: Instead of swimming and macramé, anti-energy activists will learn how to “go limp” when being put under arrest and make a (happily) sedate group of 5 people look like an unruly mob of 50 for the newspapers. Campfire treats will be s’mores made with organic graham crackers, single-origin bean 70% dark chocolate and free-range marshmallows. In other words, pretty silly. (Except the s’mores bit, which actually sound pretty good.)
Civil Disobedience, rooted in Thoreau’s 1849 essay (required reading in high school if you’re of “a certain age”) which later inspired Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Susan B. Anthony and others, is part of a strong American tradition intended to show displeasure with government. It’s a clarion call against human suffering, to advocate for human rights, stop the war and ban the bomb. It’s also a good way to support the arts, as I learned in the mid-1980s while wearing this panda outfit to the right.
But none of those things will be on the table at Keuka Lake next week. No, these anti-HF folks are heading up to camp to learn how to prevent the generation of jobs, revenue and cost-savings for consumers on energy that responsible Marcellus development has made possible for other states, and can make possible for New York as well.
The good news is that the worm has turned on this issue just a bit over the past couple weeks — and while we still have plenty to do before permits are issued for genuine Marcellus activity in New York, at least now, for the first time in a long time, flickers of light can be seen at the end of the tunnel. In today’s New York Post, a spokesman for Gov. Cuomo is quoted as saying that “assuming [Marcellus development] can be done safely and is properly regulated, the economic reports from Pennsylvania show the potential financial and economic rewards from developing this industry.” Indeed they do. And it’s about time we put those rewards to work for New Yorkers.