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Letter to the Editor: Historic Parallels in Fracking Fight

Written By Timothy Knight on 11/2/14 | 11/2/14

Dear Editor:  I received a call from a man who expressed concern over the reported bullying that landowner's are facing who have to deal with the Constitution Pipeline.  Reading up on local history, he wanted to share a story about the "rent wars", that he said was similar to our present struggle.

The early settlers who cleared Schoharie County land, making it profitable, were required to turn over the wealth of their hard labor to the British Crown via the landlords.  These landlords, scheming to create more wealth for themselves, levied a tax on the tenant farmers.  In our County, rebels formed.  Whenever the tax collector arrived at a farm the sound of a horn would gather these rebels, disguised as women or wearing Indian costume, and armed would scare off the taxman.

This is our local history and it was the extreme disparity and injustice of the Crown and their servant landlords, that fueled the courage and determination for peasant farmers, to prevail over British rule during the American Revolution.

Doesn't the fossil fuel industry wear the crown today?  Isn't Congressman Chris Gibson, who accepted $36,000 in campaign funds from oil and gas interests $3,500 of which was paid out by Williams Co. of Constitution Pipeline, their representative?  In House Resolution 140, didn't he vote to give billions in taxpayer contributions that could have gone to green energy jobs, but instead served fossil fuel extraction?

Far worse than turning over taxpayer funds is when the politician/landlords sell us out to an industry that is harming life, destroying water and sacrificing the land that has sustained generations.

The gas industry tried yet again to appeal the Dryden fracking ban and their application was rejected.  The 221 Towns in NY that have adopted bans are defying this crown's domination and wouldn't our Schoharie County forefathers stand with us?  They would see through the subterfuge of language such as, "limiting our dependence on foreign oil" or manipulating us with "jobs and clean energy" which is code speak for exploitation and drilling for natural gas.

Wouldn't they be on the side of the 99% when the 1% wants to ship American oil and gas overseas to turn a profit and at hazardous environmental risk in and unstable world?  Isn't selling off American natural resources to the highest bidder a form of treachery?

How would these ancestors counsel us?  I think they would tell us to start by voting for candidates that represent grass roots democracy.   Candidates that will serve the people instead of the crowned corporation and lining their own pockets.  At present, I believe that Sean Eldridge for Congress and Howie Hawkins of the Green Party for Governor would be their choice.

Deborah Krol,  Fultonham
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