“No ‘middle ground’ between fact and fantasy”

When Donna Lupardo, Assemblywoman, D-Endwell, 126th District, wrote this

… MB wrote this:

Very disappointing bit of writing from Lupardo, who was, for a while,
one of the more reasonable people around as far as this issue is
concerned. I understand the appeal of these “middle ground” arguments.
I really do. In some cases, finding “middle ground” is exactly the
right thing to do. Unfortunately, all too often, the “middle ground”
isn’t really in the middle at all–rather, it is skewed very, very,
very far toward the side that has dollar signs sparkling in their
eyes–a side that is sometimes aided by nutty and/or gullible people
who are allowing themselves to be used.

For example, let’s take a look at the global warming issue. On one
side we have people who are paying attention to the vast amount of
scientific evidence that has been accumulated indicating that global
warming is occurring, is due to human activity, and if left unchecked
is going to make life on this planet a lot more difficult (to put it
mildly). On the other side, we have a bunch of people who think that
just because they can dig up a handful of credentialed people (I
hesitate to call them “scientists”) who tell us not to worry about
global warming, they can go ahead and cheerfully ignore all of the
science on the other side. Finding some sort of “middle ground”
between these two groups is like finding some sort of middle ground
between your rational Aunt Bessie who goes out to work every day and
then comes home and balances the checkbook and prepares a nutritious
meal for her family, and your loony-as-a-jaybird Uncle Everett, who
spends each day standing on the rooftop dressed in his Napoleon
outfit, alternately baying at the moon (whether the moon is up or not)
and dreamily picking out which horses he plans to bet on in tomorrow’s
races. Clearly, the Bessie/Everett household is going to run a lot
more smoothly if Bessie does all of the planning and never gives
Everett a cent.

We have, I believe, much the same sort of situation as far as this
shale gas mess is concerned. On one side are the people who have
looked at all of the problems


as a result of this type of drilling, and on the other
side are people who a) don’t give a damn, and/or b) are willing to
believe in some sort of fictional universe in which some sort of
fictional technology exists that will allow some sort of fictional,
safe drilling. I have lost count of the number of people I have talked
to who have said that they started out thinking that perhaps there was
some safe way to do the drilling, until they did some research…and
then they decided that there is no safe way to do the drilling.

At the heart of the issue, as far as I am concerned, is the huge
number of wells required. According to everything I’ve read,
(including information from drilling-friendly sources), a shale gas
well depletes very rapidly; even when it is re-fracked, production
does not come back up to those high initial levels. That means that in
order to maintain a reasonably high level of production (and income)
from a given shale gas area, you have to drill more wells, and then
drill more wells, and then drill more wells, on and on and on. And
with a huge number of wells, even if each well has a very small
negative impact on the environment and on public health, the
cumulative impact is going to be nasty. (Let me just pause here to say
that the phrase “negative impact on public health” means that people
will get sick–perhaps very sick. Some of them may be people that
those in the “middle” or on the pro-drilling side know and love.)
Finally, after a given area is drilled out, the gas companies will be
off to the next area, leaving a huge mess behind. We have seen this
act before, with other extractive industries. Can Donna Lupardo or
anyone else point to a case in which it DIDN’T go this way????

I’m sure that we can all agree that it would be lovely if our area
could prosper from the drilling while simultaneously remaining a safe
and pleasant place in which to live. It would also be lovely if
tomorrow morning everyone woke up and found a large basket of cash on
their doorstep, no strings attached, and then went into the house and
turned on CNN to find that world peace had miraculously been
established and a perpetual motion machine invented. Unfortunately,
none of these things are going to happen–they are fantasies. And
there is no reasonable “middle ground” between fact and fantasy.

Please write Donna Lupardo and tell her there is no “middle” ground
here–it’s a bit like an election: either you vote for a given candidate, or you
don’t. Period.


MB’s makes more sense to us.