Letters to the editor/opinion 7:02 PM, Oct 12, 2012

The recent Guest Viewpoint article by Elisabeth Radow on mortgages and fracking sounded strangely familiar. That’s because it was.

In March, the New York Times did a story titled “Mortgages for Drilling Properties May Face Hurdle,” in which it tried to spook people who were involved in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Service program. The Times said “extensive environmental reviews” were on the way for property owners involved in shale gas drilling. Not so. The USDA issued an immediate disclaimer, saying it would continue to exempt rural housing loans from environmental reviews.

Natural gas development has been a boon — not a disaster — to property owners. In rural Pennsylvania, where shale gas development is underway, property values are substantially higher — in some cases doubling — compared to areas where no gas development occurs.

We need sustainable growth in upstate New York. We won’t grow, prosper and rebuild our communities without a positive, balanced solution to this natural gas issue.