New York Regional Interconnect - A Bad Idea

Over the course of the last few years we have witnessed an assault on the Upper Delaware River Region beginning with the New York Regional Interconnect project. NYRI, at its inception, threatened to run 130 foot tall high-voltage towers along the Upper Delaware River over our homes and through our communities. In NYRI's supplemental application filed February 21st, the alternate route that once threatened the river has been replaced by Marcy South. This is a direct result of people in our community standing together, donating funding to the fight against NYRI, writing letters to their representatives and getting involved. But our work is not finished. There are still four points on the primary NYRI route in proximity to the Upper Delaware River as well as many communities, historic properties, sensitive environmental areas and recreational resources impacted by this project. We must continue to stand together with our neighbors to oppose this project. NYRI is not needed, not now, not ever.

Gas Drilling and Oil Exploration

On the surface, this may not look like it would have much of an impact on the Upper Delaware River until you begin to research the processes used to extract the gas and oil. It becomes apparent the laws, meant to protect public health, were altered to allow companies to drill with complete disregard for public well-being. The reports of industry meetings with Vice President Cheney that took place to create the Energy Act of 2005 read like a conspiracy theorist best seller and would be hard to believe if it wasn't based in fact. Here is an excerpt from a recent edition of the River Reporter

"Another provision of the 2005 energy act is helpful to companies that want to drill for gas in New York and Pennsylvania, as well as other parts of the country. Through the energy act, the process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in which water laced with sand and chemicals is forced into rocks deep underground, was exempted from the jurisdiction of the Safe Water Drinking Act of 1974. This makes the process, which was developed by Halliburton, much less expensive to pursue and, critics charge, allows gas companies to pollute ground water with impunity."

That statement alone should cause panic in any region considered for gas exploration and with tens of thousands of acres of State Game Lands up for grabs, gas drilling may be coming to an area near you. Many of the chemicals the 2005 Energy Act now allows to enter our water supply are proven cancer causing agents such as benzene, toluene and many others. Visit for a complete list of the chemicals used in the fracking process.

This is a hard battle for those opposed to gas and oil drilling, neighbors are pitted against each other based on economic need and the money offered by the gas companies to lease properties can be significant. Over the past few years, many people have said, "well if it affects me, I will just move". It is clear this is a nationwide phenomenon and there is no where to run. It is time to take a stand, protect our communities and offer alternatives such as food cooperatives, organic farming/markets and new biodiesel techniques as options for family farms that face growing operating costs.

Environmental Responsibility

Being "green" doesn't mean you have to give up comfort or "hug a tree" every morning or risk being called a "bleeding heart liberal" by people who keep their heads buried in the sand. It means doing what you can to reduce your impact on the environment. Maybe it is something simple like carrying a reusable bag to the supermarket, buying a larger bottle of water or encouraging a local business to operate in a socially responsible manner. Easy tasks such as turning out the lights when you leave a room, using less hot water when you take a shower and combining errands to save gas help contribute to an environmentally friendly bottom line and keep more money in your pockets. Some companies will even pay you to recycle your old electronics; good for the environment and you can make a few bucks. An good example is

How can you help?

There are simple and fun things you can do such as attend a local Green Drinks Event and talk with other environmentally conscious people and get the latest information on new technology to save money and reduce your personal dependency on foreign oil. Green Drinks are the third friday of every month (except December) in one of our local communities. Visit for more information. Support organizations such as the Upper Delaware Preservation Coalition by renewing your membership, joining or making a contribution to help us protect and monitor the region for emerging threats. By supporting the organization we can begin to provide communications tools such as newsletters, a regularly updated website, and a person available by phone to answer any questions you may have regarding activities in our region. Contribute to other organizations such as Communities Against Regional Interconnect specifically to fight NYRI, the Damascus Citizens Organization leading the opposition to gas exploration or volunteer your time to help organizations get the message out.

Battles like NYRI and opposition to gas drilling are often referred to as "David and Goliath" fights. We prefer to think of it in this way, if we have a million David's all able to cast a small stone, each stone may not hurt the giant but all the stones together will bury it.


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