3:57 PM, Oct 19, 2012 written by  Thomas Kelley  in

In 2007, I tried to read Thomas Friedman’s book “The World Is Flat.” I kept struggling with the question: If the world is flat, why isn’t the playing field level?

Marcellus Shale gas is a good example. Many states have taken advantage of gas locked in the shale deep below the surface. They are using the tax revenues from the development of these resources to make their states more competitive in today’s global economy.

This is not the case in New York. The fearful naysayers want their children to get a good education but they don’t trust technological advances. The self-serving NIMBYs took great pleasure in watching the demise of the family farms. They stood in awe as Mother Nature transformed pastures into fields, then into brush lots, then into scrub trees, then into woodland forests. Today, we hold in great esteem the self-appointed environment zealots who have undertaken the guardianship of the resulting unblemished landscapes. No sacrifice is too great for these well-meaning individuals, save two: the investment in the purchase price of the land and the annual expense of the property taxes.

I must accept the reality of the situation. There are more zealots than there are landowners. They don’t have to work long hours to generate the extra income necessary to pay the property taxes. They have more time to write letters and to visit our elected legislators in Albany. They make lots of noise. They are the proverbial squeaky wheel. They evidently do not trust anyone! They attend every meeting, always vigilant, ready to devour anyone who does not agree with their way of thinking.

We, on the other hand, trust the process. We believe in the laws of the land. We believed our elected representatives when they took their oaths of office. We believe that the appointed officials and the state employees in their respective departments would work diligently to come up with good sound regulations which would insure that the gas below New York would be extracted by competent people using state of the art technology and methods, protecting the rights of each and every citizen of the state in the process and that they would do it in a timely manner.

I still believe in all of the above, but I also believe I may have to admit defeat. Before I do, I wish to exercise one more of my rights. I was brought up to believe that the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights must be exercised responsibly. When we speak against something, we must bring some idea or suggestion to the table that is positive and is an alternative to that to which we are opposed. Will some naysayer, NIMBY or environmental zealot tell me how the state will make up the lost potential jobs, the lost tax revenues, the  lost opportunity to put some teeth into the advertising campaign that tries to create the image that New York is a good place to do business?

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