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The article below was published in Hometown Oneonta last week. It's just some thoughts on job creation that I had when Amazon announced its headquarters selections. If we want job creation in this area, the last four paragraphs frame our situation and a solution. They're the truth you rarely find in our local media.

 

Dick

 

Otsego County wants jobs: New York City likewise. Recently Amazon chose NYC and Northern Virginia for their new headquarters sites, each employing 25,000 people with an average salary of $150,000. Nice work if you can get it, and 238 localities went for it. Assuming the search wasn't rigged, what were the criteria for selection?

 

Adjusted for scale and to specifics related to the nature and culture of Big Tech, Amazon's selection criteria was similar to those assessed by Otsego Now, our local Industrial Development Agency (IDA). Logistically, both note the importance of proximity to airports, rail, and interstates. Both stress "shovel readiness." ie., access roads, utilities, and zoning ready to go on Day One. Money talks. Amazon and Otsego Now both acknowledge incentives are needed in closing the deal; $5.5 billion in City and State money to Amazon in NYC, a more modest PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) to firms relocating in Otsego County.

 

Otsego is a good place to live and work. Want a bagel with schmear? You got it! A church supper with the neighbors. Bring a dish-to-pass! From a belly flop in a winter lake to a summer opera at Glimmerglass, Otsego has it all. Amazon calls this criteria "Diverse Culture" and tells us that's what their employees want. Under another broad criteria, "Community," Amazon found its employees wanted to further their educations and have access to music and the arts. Amazon chose accordingly. More than most rural counties. Otsego has these amenities.

 

Under the criteria "Labor Force" Amazon chose catchment areas of at least one million people with follow-up projections of the number tech-savvy potential employees. Both NYC and Northern Virginia had 250,000 possible hires, approximately 20% recent grads with tech degrees. Obviously Otsego County wouldn't have met Amazon's specific needs but our labor force is ample and educated.

 

Otsego County would also have fared poorly under the criteria of "Connectivity." Amazon rated each geographical applicant on their fiber and cell service capacity. Can you hear me now, Otsego? The answer would be, "No!"

 

"Sustainability," a virtue-signaling concept in the Facebook/Amazon/ Netflicks/Google (FANG) world, was another criteria. Amazon's methods to attain this goal aren't clear. Don't expect 600 foot windmills lining the East River. Rooftop solar is unlikely to power the product of 25,000 workers. However, the Indian Point nuclear facility, Con Edison, and Brooklyn Union Gas will still provide .

 

Wisely, Otsego wasn't among the 238 applicants for Amazon'x headquarters expansion. However, in spite of New York's high taxes and excessive regulation, the County does have most of the "right stuff" -- the logistics, a civic willingness to get things done (including PILOTS), a labor force, a culture and community able to attract people from far and wide. We fail on fiber and cell phone connectivity. We also fail on utility infrastructure. We need the availability of affordable energy. That means gas.

 

Case in point. Recently a company met with Otsego officials to discuss a distribution center site being prepared in Schenevus. First question: is gas available? The pipeline situation was explained. New York has a Governor who has banned gas and obstructed new infrastructure. Possible alternatives were presented. As one of the participants said, "The air went out of the room." The meeting continued but it was over. With the key incentive off the table, we'll never know how many jobs Otsego lost.

 

We do know some of the losses through our IDA. A local landmark restaurant wanted to bottle its sauce locally but had to look elsewhere due to the lack of affordable energy -- gas. A projected 300 jobs lost. A Chinese company did a feasability study with the IDA. It rejected the intended site due to the lack of gas. Another 175 jobs lost. These are two opportunities were we know our losses. Unknown are the losses from companies who reject Otsego County out of hand -- no gas.

 

The comparative numbers on energy costs tells it all. Virginia's electric utility regulator recently listed the costs of wholesale electicity by source. Offshore wind costs 13.1 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh). Onshore wind costs 9.4 cents per kWh. It costs 5.7 cents for new solar. Gas clocks in at 3 cents wholesale. The use of gas for heat presents similar savings.

 

If we want to jump-start job growth in Upstate New York, we'll need the availability of gas. It's that simple. Nice work, if we can get it, but not likely anytime soon with Andrew Cuomo as Governor.

 

Washington — US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry on Thursday reiterated his arguments that energy infrastructure is critical to national security, echoing a theme that has percolated in the national debate about whether new measures are needed to prop up coal and nuclear power plants and promote natural gas pipeline projects.

"It is really important for us as a country to have an energy infrastructure plan in place because it is about the national security of this country," Perry said at an event held by the Consumer Energy Alliance. "Energy security is national security."
Perry added: "99% of the military bases in the continental United States are attached to our civilian grid."

After a long pause, he concluded: "Bam! Drop the mic!"

The national security narrative has come up time and again as the Trump administration has floated ideas to stave off the retirement of coal and nuclear power plants.

A leaked Department of Energy memorandum laid out a national security justification for using emergency authorities to prevent baseload retirements.

MILITARY BASES
And the chief of staff at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission reportedly said it is working with DOE and other agencies to identify plants that are critical to ensuring that military bases, hospitals and other critical infrastructure can maintain operations in a disaster. FERC later clarified that it is providing technical support rather than aiding in developing policy.

When Perry spoke at a House of Representatives Science, Space and Technology Committee hearing in May, he questioned whether "states have the right to block a pipeline across their state that will have a national security implication or an economic implication on individuals."

On Thursday, Perry was asked to weigh in on New England's infrastructure constraints. "Why in the world today, with America being the number one oil and gas producing country in the world, would Boston and the Northeast have to have to rely upon gas from Russia? I don't get that," he said.

LNG IMPORTS
He was likely referring to the offloading of a tanker originating from Russia's Yamal plant during a cold snap last winter to replenish stocks at the Distrigas LNG terminal in Boston. New England leans on imported LNG to supply power plants during cold weather when the region's gas pipeline capacity is dedicated to home heating.

ISO-New England has proposed a cost-of-service agreement with Exelon to prevent the retirement of units 8 and 9 at the Mystic plant in Massachusetts, which provide about 1,400 MW of capacity and use LNG from Distrigas, rather than pipeline gas, for fuel supply.

PIPELINE POLITICS
Perry said politics in New York make it very difficult for US-produced gas to travel across the state. On a recent trip to Ukraine, Perry talked up US LNG as an alternative to Russian gas, "because the Russians are not necessarily reliable," he said, spurring chuckles from the audience.

"I would suggest that those that are making decisions in the United States that think somehow or another Russian gas is more reliable than US-produced gas, they might want to think about that," he said

Two major projects have been blocked by New York -- Williams' 121-mile, 650 MMcf/d Constitution Pipeline (CP13-499), and National Fuel Gas Supply and Empire Pipeline 's 97-mile, 497 MMcf/d Northern Access 2016 project (CP15-115). Both were denied water quality certifications. But FERC recently waived New York's Clean Water Act Section 401 review for Northern Access on the grounds that state regulators took too long to act.

-- Kate Winston, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

-- Edited by Keiron Greenhalgh, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Below you will find a LTE published in Hometown Oneonta last Thursday. Also, at this time of year, the UALA endorses candidates that support gas development. The UALA is non-partisan and single issue -- we favor gas develpment. Recently we've included news about the closing of Otego Elementary because many UALA members live elsewhere and appreciate the news. Also, the school's closing is a direct result of economic conditions in Upstate New York. Governor Cuomo is largely to blame for those conditions. He has essentially banned gas.
 
Therefore, the following endorsement: the Republican candidates for state and federal legislative offices and for the governorship support gas development/pipeline infrastructure. The Democrats candidates don't. It's as simple as that! Please get out and vote.
 
In Thursday's Hometown Oneonta:
 
The Gas Wars continued in the October 5th's Hometown Oneonta with several dueling op eds and letters to the editor. Patricia Jacobs opined that Oneonta grew without natural gas. On the other hand, Roger Colazzo remembered an Oneonta that welcomed gas. At a recent meeting on the proposed decompression station, the only arguments he heard from the antis were emotional ones without rational solutions. He asked for data to support alternatives to gas that would heat buildings that need constant, on-demand energy.
 
Adrian Kuzminsky argued that natural gas is unnecessary for the economy he (Kuzminsky) envisions -- a broadband world of the future. He feels investments in a gas infrasturcture drain the taxpayer and are uneconomical for businesses dependent on gas. Those businesses should go where the gas is -- "elsewhere."
 
My thesis was, "Economic growth and JOBS that retain young families depend on affordable energy." Governor Cuomo's renewable energy plan leads to rates similar to California, Germany, and South Australia's. Their rates are triple ours. If we can't attract industry now due to high rates, wait until the Guv's plan kick in. Welcome to the High Lonesome.
 
Here's the deal. One million people have packed up and left New York for other states since Governor Cuomo's inaugeration. That rate is accelerating. An article in the October 5th's Weekend Star cites a study that shows local school enrollments are plummeting. In fact, several local schools are among the fastest enrollment drops statewide; five within the Top 20, eight within the Top 50. School administrators blame a lack of industry for their empty classrooms.
 
The young with families leave because jobs and opportunities are elsewhere. Others leave because of taxes and the high cost of living. The companies that provide jobs aren't relocating here because high taxes, over regulation, and high overhead, with energy costs a major factor.
Mandated, subsidized, prioritized renewables will drive up the cost of energy, choke development, and limit job creation.
 
Jody Zakrevski, the Director of our industrial development agency (IDA), Otsego Now, was right. The 475 jobs recently lost due to a lack of abundant, affordable energy (ie., gas) shouldn't be looked at in a singuular sense but in the plural. Those jobs represent FAMILIES (Mom, Dad, the kids) lost to Otsego County. Zakrevski's predecessor at Otsego Now also spoke of the necessity of gas. That's two for two from the professional economic development ranks. Maybe they know something?
 
Finally, regarding Adrian Kusminsky's bridge to the future via countywide broadband -- it's going to happen . . . about 100 miles southwest of us in Bradford county, Pennsylvania in the heart of the Marcellus Shale play. Bradford County's IDA, the Progress Authority, has as part of its mission a goal to balance out the cyclical nature of gas with a diversified business base, from agriculture to manufacturing to high tech. The key is broadband. To make this happen, they are in the process of setting up their own countywide broadband network. Several years in the planning and with several million dolars surplus in their treasury, they are now working with an engineering firm to suppliment "dark" fiber already in place with new towers, poles, fiber optic cable plants and switching stations, plus incorporating emergency networks and e-rate entities. The final project won't be cheap ($11.6 million) nor complete (the perenial "last mile" up the hollows) but it is a plausible plan.
 
Bradford County isn't waiting for a government handout, a grant cycle, a Hunger Games political gimme. They are not dependent on the indulgence of Spectrum or Time Warner. They are doing it themselves because they have a vibrant economy with customers waiting and money in the bank. They are doing it because they have gas.
 
That's reality. The exodus of young families from our towns and villages is a reality. "Elsewhere" is where Mr. Kuzminsky wants affordable energy-dependent industries to relocate. According to Mr. Zakrevsky, that's what they are doing. They are taking their businesses and jobs "elsewhere." That's what's happening in Otsego now, a county held in check by an "environmental" ideology that ignores reality, the laws of economics, and the common good.
 
Hello, LaLa Land!

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, lost Upstate New York, according to the unofficial election night tally.

Cuomo won six out of 50 counties Upstate: Albany, Erie, Monroe, Onondaga, Tompkins and Ulster. Four of the counties happen to be home to the state's big Upstate cities: Albany, Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse.

Republican Marc Molinaro carried 44 counties Upstate, plus three Downstate counties: Dutchess County, where he is county executive, Orange County and Putnam County.

Molinaro also won more votes than Cuomo Upstate, with 1,090,382 votes (54.9 percent) to Cuomo's 894,800 (45.1 percent), according to unofficial results.

A Siena Poll released the weekend before the election showed Cuomo losing in Upstate NY to Molinaro. The poll showed Molinaro leading Upstate by 10 percentage points (46-36 percent).

Cuomo lost Upstate in 2014, winning only eight counties while Republican Rob Astorino won 42 counties. In 2010, Cuomo won 37 Upstate counties to Republican Carl Paladino's 13.

But Upstate NY does not get to elect its own governor.

Cuomo swept New York City, according to Tuesday's unofficial results.

There are no Republicans in statewide office in New York.

The vote in Onondaga County was:

Cuomo: 79,064
Molinaro: 70,626
Howie Hawkins (Green): 4,900
Stephanie Miner (SAM): 5,314
Larry Sharpe (Libertarian): 4,485
Cuomo had no trouble winning Onondaga County in 2014. He had almost 70,000 votes to Republican Astorino's 53,487. (That year, Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins won almost 11,000 votes in Onondaga County, his home.)

There are 11.6 million active voters in New York state. About 32 percent live Upstate.

Enrollment in Upstate New York leans blue with 1.4 million Democrats, 1.2 million Republicans and 855,000 voters not enrolled in a party, according to the latest voter enrollment records at the NYS Board of Elections.

(For this report, Upstate includes the 50 counties north of Dutchess and Orange counties.)

Friends,
 

Thank you for your dedicated support of Congresswoman Tenney's campaign over the past few weeks and months. It has been a long road and we are now nearing the finish line!


Election Day is only a few days away! It is more important than ever that we work hard to ensure we retain the majority and to continue our record of accomplishments.


We hope you can join us this Saturday, November 3 for a pre-election “Get Out the Vote!” rally with Claudia Tenney and special guest Sarah Huckabee Sanders! Join us in Madison County in the morning, and in Broome County later that afternoon.

If you would like to attend our rallies to help “Get Out the Vote!” please 
RSVP at this link. Once your RSVP is confirmed, you will receive more information regarding location and timing. 

Thank you again for all of your support. We look forward to seeing you on Saturday for these exciting events!

-Team Tenney

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