Saturday, March 26, 2011

WALTER HANG: PLEASE stop trying to thwart Legislative Action to protect NY State's Drinking Water!!!

PLEASE stop trying to thwart Legislative Action
to protect NY State's Drinking Water!!!

With all due respect to Walter's amazing work,
We need a reality check, to scrutinize his plan,
and how is he trying to lead this movement.

Thanks where it is due:

Walter Hang does an amazing job of organizing people
around a brilliant Executive Branch strategy,
targeting the NY Governor, and the NY DEC.

This, along with his database and mapping work
is nothing less than brilliant.
The research for the NY Times series: Brilliant!
The rallies, the 10,000 signatures, etc. etc. etc...
Thank you Walter Hang for all of this!!!

The critical eye / Reality Check:

You have to really read between the lines in Walter's latest email
to spot the weaknesses of his strategy. But it's there.

In his latest newsletter sent to his signatories, he says,

"The de facto moratorium continues until a Final SGEIS is adopted. 
Under any scenario, that should not occur for quite a while." (emph. added).
-- Walter Hang, "Albany Rally photos/de facto moratorium/ban questions", 26 Mar 2011

"Should not"? According to whom?

The fact is, despite all of his great-sounding rhetoric,
This is wishful thinking.

Walter has no idea how likely a delay based on
expanding the scope, or review of additional comments may take.

Walter's position now is rather weak,
& his Executive-branch-only strategy has a serious flaw,
and we need to BE HONEST and face the REALITY of this moment:

Permits could begin to be issued as early as July

...Read that again please....

Permits could begin to be issued in NY
as early as July

Did you get that?

Executive Order No. 41 states: "On or about June 1, 2011,
the [DEC] shall publish a Revised Draft SGEIS, accept public comment
on the revisions for a period of not less than thirty days,
and may schedule public hearings on such revisions to be conducted
in the Marcellus shale region and New York City;"  (emph. added)

"May schedule"... as in optional.

Walter writes:

``If we succeed in expanding the scope of the SGEIS proceeding,
a Final SGEIS might take many years to complete.  That would afford us time
to make sure environmental and public health safeguards required by the
SGEIS are comprehensive.  That is what I am working on. 
As far as I am concerned, the longer the delay, the better.  ``   (emph. added)

Yes Walter, delays are great. But your words:
"IF we succeed.... MIGHT take many years... "
do not instill me with a warm-fuzzy sense of confidence.

Walter continues:

``First, a statewide fracking "ban" would likely be unconstitutional
and could trip the wire on "illegal takings" that could incur huge taxpayer expense.``

As someone recently pointed out to me:
Isn't Compulsory Integration an "Illegal Taking"?

What could possibly be Unconstitutional about the PEOPLE of the State of New York
passing legislation to protect our most precious resource, which is necessary for life?

We should not avoid passing laws to protect NY State's water supply
because we fear lawsuits. Let the lawsuits come.
BUT LET THE PEOPLE, via the People's Representatives, SPEAK IN ALBANY!

Executive Branch vs. Legislative Branch strategy

Here are Five Disturbing Facts:
  1. Walter has NO legislative action plan, either on the state level,
    or on the level of local/municipal level
    (road use, zoning regulations of drill sites, gathering lines, etc)

    He just doesn't think that it is important, or that a ban / moratorium can succeed.

    Walter continues:

    ``[T]here is virtually no chance statewide fracking
    ban legislation would be enacted in New York``

    Oh no? Let us remember that at the end of last year a moratorium bill passed
    in both the Assembly and the Senate!!! 

    Miracles happen all the time!

    The Legislature WILL RESPOND to a massive popular movement,
    and we have that now! I've never seen a movement this large
    in 15 years of activism!

  2. Walter is inconsistent on a DELAY strategy.

    Walter continues:

    Those ordinances will surely be litigated if they threaten to hold up
    significant shale gas extraction efforts.  The gas industry has said so. 
    [T]his is an unsettled area of law.... environmental litigation can take years...

    Wait, didn't Walter say before "the longer the delay, the better"?

    So a delay due to review of "expanding the scope" is a "WIN",

    but a delay due to a constitutional challenge of a LEGISLATIVE BAN,
    or a moratorium, or local laws is a LOSE?

    What kind of sense does this make?

    Unless it's a LOSE because
    it's not Walter's area of focus,
    not "Walter's Win"?

    Let us all keep our egos in check,
    because doing activist work to enhance our "story of self"
    is sure to poison our work as bad as gas drilling will poison our water, air, and land.

  3. Walter has NO BACKUP PLAN should his Executive Branch strategy fail.

    I asked Walter this a couple of months ago at a meeting, and after refusing
    to answer about 5 times, he finally said something like:

    "Once permitting begins, we're screwed".

  4. Walter is insulting towards people working on a legislative ban or moratorium,
    or on local laws.  (calling us "fools" or "foolish" etc.)

    Hey Walter, please state the facts,
    and leave the ad hominum on the soccer field.


    At the 5 County meeting in Norwich in Jan. where Jim Austin of the PSC spoke,
    we heard
    that gathering lines below 125 psi are INVISIBLE
    to both the PSC and the DEC.

    If these are to be regulated,
    ONLY the local municipalities can do so!

    Please do not let Walter convince you that
    fighting fracking via local laws is not effective,
    because working on the most local level
    is the front were we are most likely

    c.f, CELDF Democracy School:

  5. Cuomo has the power to move the SGEIS though on a fast track.
    There is NO obligation for additional public hearings at all!!!

    Read Exec. Order 41 again.
    Here's the timeline:

    • Final SGEIS June 1.
    • 30 days of public comment. NO REQUIREMENT for hearings.
    • Permits issued July 1.
    • Then: We're SCREWED! The flood gates are opened.

    At this point, only a Lawsuit seeking Injunctive relief,
    prior restraint based on lack of due process or a clear and present danger
    has any hope of stopping NY from being FRACKED like every other state,
    and this is a LONGSHOT to any oddsman.

    This is the weakness of Walter's strategy,
    and when pressed, he will admit this,
    as he did to me:

    "Once permitting begins, we're screwed."

The Legislature are The People's representatives in Albany.
We need to engage the Legislature now!!!

We now have TWO bills moving through the legislature.
The Senate bill is a BAN!
Let's get on the phone and get behind this!!!

Please sign Walter's Petition.
Please attend Walter's rallys.
This is fine and good!

But DO NOT LET WALTER HANG dissuade you
from working on a Legislative Ban or Moratorium!

Truth is:
We need Walter's Executive-Branch Strategy.
We also need a Legislative Strategy.
We also need a Judicial strategy.

We need to continue our efforts to educate people.
We need Democracy School and the Listening Project.
We also need to be prepared for direct action and CD.
We need to use EVERY approach!!

Cuomo now has NO REASON to listen to the people of NY.
Once in office, the Executive has NO public oversight,
other than impeachment.

The LEGISLATURE are the Representatives
of We the People in Albany!!!

Thank you, every one of you,
for everything you are doing!

Stay strong. Stay hopeful.
Expect a miracle.
Take action.

You know what to do :)


William Huston  
Binghamton NY             Phone: 607-321-7846

Binghamton-area discussion; spirituality topics:
Binghamton Public Access TV is Open-To-Everyone!

1 comment:

Vera said...

I agree Bill with your points; we need to hit this issue from all fronts-- Walter can excell in his front and your legislative focus locally and state-wide can be
energized by others who are inspired in this way; thanks, Bill.