New York’s Southern Tier sits atop the Marcellus Shale—a rock layer that has the gas industry and some large landowners excited about the large profits they hope to gain by extracting its natural gas. Sounds great, right? But everyone will suffer the many nasty impacts: poisoning of our clean water and air, inflation and increased local taxes, economic decline of local businesses and communities, massive increases in tanker truck traffic, destruction of local roads, and the intense industrialization of our beautiful rural countryside.
One Problem: Many landowners feel pressured to lease their land to gas companies even though they have serious concerns about the impacts of drilling. There is a general feeling, promoted by the gas industry, economic development enthusiasts, the Farm Bureau, some government leaders, and Cornell Cooperative Extension, that gas drilling is inevitable. Many landowners, surrounded by leases, fear greatly that being forced into a drilling unit is even worse than signing a lease.
Our Path to a Solution: We hope to break the vicious cycle of this otherwise self-fulfilling prophesy and support the “silent majority” of residents who have not signed leases but will suffer from the impacts of gas drilling surrounding them. Given current shale gas extraction technology, we believe not leasing is the best way to protect our region.
ROUSE will advocate for and provide resources to residents who do not wish to be exposed to the negative health, environmental, economic, and societal impacts of extensive gas drilling.
People have the right to clean air and pure water, and it is our duty to preserve and protect the natural, scenic, historic, and commercial assets
of this beautiful region for ourselves and future generations.
We support those who do not want to lease their land for oil and gas drilling and those who wish to terminate an oil and gas lease they have signed because we believe that shale gas extraction should not be pursued at the present time.
- Provide information on gas drilling impacts
- Fight compulsory integration
- Protect local assets
- Support local farmers
- Help extract landowners from unwanted leases
We believe that awareness of the adverse impacts of gas drilling is best promoted through direct contact with our fellow residents, and that we can have the greatest effect by emphasizing local actions, while also supporting statewide and nationwide efforts and networking with other activists.
Thus, we are developing ways to reach out to other residents through neighbor-to-neighbor contact, tabling, and workshops. We also watch state lands for attempts to lease them, encourage strong municipal ordinances to protect citizens from adverse impacts, are considering ways to fight compul-
sory integration, and hope to find ways to support local farmers who do not want to lease their land.
We are creating a Residents’ Alliance by asking New York residents (whether or not they own land) to sign a statement opposing shale gas drilling at this time; the number of signers and the acreage they hold will be used to show elected and appointed officials, as well as other members of the public who may be afraid to speak out, that many people do not want unsafe shale gas drilling to proceed.
ROUSE holds regular meetings (every 2 to 4 weeks) in Brooktondale, NY. These consist of project reports, workshops, information sessions, and opportunities for networking. Click here for Date, Time, and directions to next meeting.
People sharing the mission and goals of ROUSE may join the listserv, which has moderate traffic. Content is limited to supporting the mission and goals, and members are asked to post only information of interest to many people. Postings must be polite and respectful.
To join, send an email to: email@example.com
Members are active on a number of different project areas to support ROUSE’s goals. Click here to see a list of projects and people to contact if you wish to help.
Leaders of large landowner coalitions in New York have been pushing the governor, other politicians, and DEC to allow high-volume hydraulic fracturing for natural gas soon and without much further regulation or study. They are using their membership numbers and acreage to wield political clout, yet in Tompkins County, leaseholders represent only 6% of the adult population. The percents in neighboring counties may be a bit higher, but are unknown.
To counter this message, we are assembling a long list of residents (with or without acreage) to send a strong message to elected officials and DEC that a large number of people do not want unsafe gas drilling in New York. We want to give a voice to the silent majority of residents who will suffer the adverse effects of gas drilling, but will not (or would rather not be forced to) reap personal financial gain through this new type of gas drilling.
For more information on our statement, including how to sign, click here.