Upstate New York Landowner, Shale Gas Activist
Upstate New York, and the rest of the Empire State as well, are dying a little bit every day under Comrade Andrew Cuomo and his foolhardy energy policies.
Governor Cuomo has certainly left an impression on Upstate New Yorkers that is about as sweet as mastitis in your morning milk. (Farmers will know what that means.)
Recently, I have been traveling around several upstate towns with my realtor looking for a ranch style home with more then 50 acres. Wait stop…. I know what you are all thinking. Why would anyone as informed about the ills of Upstate New York as me ever consider buying a second home here. Well, thanks to Cuomo, it’s a buyers market, that’s why. But, hey, neither me nor the particular homes I looked at thus far are the real story; for that, keep reading.
One of the first homes I looked at was a doublewide on 116 acres, It had a barn which I want for horses and a tool shed. The price was listed at $240,000 and marked down to $170,000. The owner was there to take questions and as we walked the borders ourselves (because the realtor showed up in sandals), I questioned him as we walked.
Me – Why the $70,000 reduction?
Him – It’s been on the market and listed over and over for more than two years now!
Me – Is it not selling because its a doublewide?
Him – It’s only 14 years old and on a foundation. The barn alone cost me $50,000 with 60 stations. The well with it cost another $14,000. It is definitely worth the original asking price with empty land in this area on tracts over 50 acres in size going for $1,500 an acre.
Me – Why are you selling?
Him – Taxes keep going up and are now as much as my mortgage payment monthly. Farming is being killed in Upstate by over regulation and corporate farms that get $100,000 in weekly milk checks are who we are now competing with.
Me – So, why don’t you sell to a corporate farm?
Him – They’re not Interested unless your land is adjacent to their’s. If I don’t sell it soon, I will lose everything to foreclosure.
Now, this is one story out of many and there are many more homesteads my relator wants to show me, but this is life in Upstate New York where farming was once touted as the staple of our economy. Why are taxes going up so fast and in such devastating fashion?
The answer is three words: Comrade Andrew Cuomo.
There is no doubt in my mind, as I hear tax stories from larger land owners selling (and there are lots of them), that their assessments have doubled during the last decade, because of offers of $1,500 to $5,000 per acre made for gas leasing. New York State received over $80 million I believe in 2009-2010 from taxes collected on those who received lease payments, even though no drilling ever happened. And, not even leasing ever happened for a lot of folks before Comrade Cuomo ended it all with a ban “at this time.”
So, taxed and regulated out of their homes, are your neighbors, including the guy who last year replaced his “Farm Fresh Produce Stand” with a “For Sale” sign. It’s not so much that people are quitting the business of farming in Upstate New York as it is the fact Comrade Cuomo has quit on Upstate New York. But, wait, there is more, because Upstate New York isn’t all that Cuomo is sacrificing.
Recently, Cuomo directly took over the reins of the New York’s Public Service Commission, an entity meant to independently oversee pricing from energy companies to protect the public from price gouging. It was never meant to e political entity, but that’s exactly what Comrade Cuomo has turned it into.
Readers who come here often know that this past summer I went to Lynbrook, Long Island and spoke at a rally about the natural gas shortage in New York.
Con-Ed and National Grid analysts recommended to their executives that a moratorium be put in place because, over the last 10 years of growth in the New York City metro area and as the demand for gas skyrocketed, necessary infrastructure improvements haven’t been made. Instead, mainly pipelines have been denied by Comrade Cuomo to appease protestors and the ignorant folks who have not realized they were cutting off their noses.
Amongst those ignorant people were some of the very same politicians who took a certain citizen tour by an anti-fossil fuel activist and who are now screaming for gas. Wellm this past week they got their wish as Cuomo instructed National Grid and Con-Ed to turn on the gas.
That’s right. Cuomo wanted the gas turned on despite his Green New Deal advocacy going so far as someone in his office claiming the utilities were creating the shortage to raise the prices. If there was ever even a hint of that, the Public Service commission would have come down harder than a mallet in a “ring the bell” carnival game on the two utilities. They didn’t. They just ordered the gas be turned on because they knew the utilities did what they had to do in the face of a shortage. It was a short-term political fix in other words.
But, wait, there is still more.
The gas companies, not wanting to be liable for winter shortages that may have killed New York City residents, have now contracted (and I say this with a wink and grin) to use “bomb trucks” to transport LNG to inject into their gas lines to avert any gas shortages.
Yes, pipeline protesters, this is the fruit of your activism. Lots of diesel “bomb trucks” will be heading down the highways and streets of the New York City metro area around the clock thanks to your efforts to stop pipelines and infrastructure development to facilitate underground transport of natural gas. More gas will now be consumed to transport more gas to a city where gas needs are growing.
But, somehow, I expect none of this will matter to our anti-gas friends (Vera, Bill, Craig, Walter, et al). They’ll just be waiting for another “bomb truck” accident to exploit even though the last one proved that the truck’s safety mechanisms performed as intended and did not result in an explosion. I am sure they’ll only be too delighted to walk over another dead man’s body to make a point. But, the rest of us know what’s going on here. We’re seeing Upstate New York, indeed all of New York, slowly dying from the worst sort of politics; the politics of Andrew Cuomo and the Green New Deal frauds he wants as friends.
This post appeared first on Natural Gas Now.