The easy win last week by candidates all across the Southern Tier who favor development of Marcellus Shale natural gas surely means more than what the anti-fracking groups want you to think it does.
As The Associated Press reported, in our own redrawn district, the 23rd, Democratic challenger Nate Shinagawa lost by about 10,000 votes to incumbent Tom Reed. Shinagawa was also endorsed by opponents of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for natural gas.
In the 22nd Congressional District further to the east, Republican Richard Hanna beat Dan Lamb, a first-time candidate who was endorsed by New York Residents Against Drilling. In the Broome County executive race, Democrat and anti-drilling activist Tarik Abdelazim lost to incumbent Debbie Preston, a strong drilling supporter.
The AP reported anti-fracking candidates also failed in local town races in the Southern Tier. In particular, the AP said drilling opponents in Broome County, a likely target for drillers, pushed for their own candidates on town boards in hopes of winning majorities that would vote for drilling moratoriums. They failed.
"All these election results mean is that big money is still a big factor in our electoral process," said Sue Rapp of Vestal Residents for Safe Energy, a group near Binghampton that opposes fracking. "We believe that the majority of residents understand that we are not ready for fracking anywhere in New York state."
No, we do not agree with that.
As you know, the state has been studying fracking - a method of recovering natural gas by injecting a well with chemically treated water - for four years. And as we noted yesterday, the federal Environmental Protection Agency is also studying hydraulic fracturing and should provide solid, science-based guidance that will enable us to safeguard the environment while allowing Americans to get at the gigantic supplies of natural gas underneath our feet.
In short, we believe the vote last week accurately reflects the sentiments of residents along the Southern Tier, and that Gov. Andrew Cuomo should take it at face value in deciding the future of shale gas drilling.