As if you needed any more evidence than your own intuitiveness, the major moving companies, Allied Van Lines and United, published their “To-From” lists. They don’t call the lists by that name, but it amounts to where the largest number of people are moving and from where they are leaving. Of course Illinois, Michigan, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania are at the top of the “I have to get the hell out of here!” states.
Thanks to TheBlaze.com for reporting the story, but it doesn’t go far enough, at least as to reasons why New Yorkers, especially Upstaters leave in such droves. It isn’t because it’s cold during the winter. It isn’t because it’s so gloomy or so terrible a place to live. On the contrary, I challenge anyone top show me a finer place than Upstate New York for its mountains, rivers, lakes and everything else. Upstaters leave for one reason, there is no economic hope.
Two weeks ago, Andrew Cuomo announced that he and his Department of Environmental Conservation would not allow fracking on the Southern Tier or anywhere in the Upstate region for that matter. For those of you who have not read the several posts here on the subject, fracking is a means of extracting oil from shale formations deep underground. It has been used for over 65 years without one negative event. It is not only safe, it was and reamins a godsend at a time when the United States was bleeding huge sums of money for oil to nations who hate us.
Wherever there is fracking in the United States, there are jobs, and not just low-wage jobs, but big paying jobs. The known deposits in those areas, such as the Bakken formation which lies beneath Montana and North Dakota is producing over 700,000 barrels of oil per day. The workers both in the fields and in ancillary positions in support of operations are making huge sums in comparison to the rest of the country. But consider, the Bakken formation which estimates put at 4.3 billion barrels of oil is miniscule in comparison to the Marcellus formation which sits atop an even larger field known as the Utica formation. Those formations, as far as geologists know at this time (they could be larger, but not smaller) cover about a third of eastern Ohio, the majority of Upstate New York, virtually all of Pennsylvania and West Virginia and then extend into Maryland, Virginia and parts of Kentucky and Tennessee. Go here to read all about it. You will be astounded. According to Ohio’s EPA, “the Marcellus Shale alone could contain as much as 363 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.” That’s just the beginning since the Utica formation is by the latest estimates, at least twice the size of the Marcellus.
The jobs estimate should the Marcellus and Utica formations be opened for exploration and development would be commensurate with those created in North Dakota as a result of developing the Bakken formation, only on a far greater scale. North Dakota’s unemployment rate is about 3%. We are absolutely talking about hundreds of thousands of high paying jobs in places where they are so necessary, without them those regions will be scattered with ghost-towns in a decade.
Andrew Cuomo effectively relegated the Southern Tier specifically and the rest of Upstate to permanent poverty. The refusal to allow fracking was driven by Downstate politicians who are in lockstep with radical environmentalists who put their eco-religion before not only the facts, but their neighbors. They spent millions in fear-mongering with distortions and out and out lies to make it appear as if fracking is not only unsafe, but a precursor to Armegeddon.
For years I have been calling for Upstate to separate itself from Downstate. The marriage is toxic, it no longer works. One partner thrives while the other starves, but my admonitions are to little avail. And there is a pretty good reason why. I received two standing ovations for a speech I made on this very subject in December of 2012 before the Upstate Conservative Coalition. Subsequently, though I asked for their help, there was little action. It didn’t take me long to figure out why such an enthusiastic crowd lost their enthusiasm so quickly. Those in attendance at the meeting were by and large older New Yorkers who, while the spirit is willing, the flesh is not only weak, but somewhat satisfied with their present condition. Retirement has a way of sapping the soul of whatever fire might still flicker within. But not me. I refuse to go down without at least making an effort. And I’ve been making it for years although like St. John the Baptist, I feel like one crying out in the wilderness.
It takes money. In order to rally Upstate to the cause of separation from Downstate, it would take a multimillion dollar campaign lasting years. In the background, the machinations necessary to make the split would be put into motion just as they were before, during and after the American Revolution. It can be done, anything can be done if there is the will and the money to move it along. If you live in Upstate New York, join me. Send me an email at editor at pjfusco dot com.