Hinchey to NY-22: Frack off!

posted at 2:00 pm on October 30, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

The New York Times reports that a local issue in gas exploration in the state’s 22nd Congressional District might provide more incentive for constituents to remove Maurice Hinchey from his House seat.  The district holds significant natural-gas deposits in the Marcellus Shale find, but Hinchey adamantly opposes drilling and hydraulic fracturing to get to the resource, a process better known in the area as “fracking.”  His attempts to shut down the industry has even some environmentalists angry over blocking what they see as access to a clean-burning energy resource, and George Phillips‘ strong support for the industry may account for his rise in the polling:

Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.) has been an outspoken critic of gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale and an advocate of federal regulation of fracturing. His opponent, Republican George Phillips, thinks state regulation is best and supports “aggressive” development once regulators sign off.

And Phillips attributes his support for drilling as a major reason for his late surge in the polls.

“It’s a huge factor,” said Phillips campaign spokesman Jazz Shaw. “The No. 1 issue is jobs. But this is probably the No. 2 issue.”

Hinchey’s camp disagrees about the prominence of the issue among voters but says that Phillips’ position has won him crucial financial support from oil and gas companies in the waning weeks of the election.

“The natural gas issue is important among certain constituencies,” said Hinchey spokesman Mike Morosi. “But the natural gas industry is funding advertising against Congressman Hinchey based on his position on drilling.”

Actually, not to contradict my good friend and Green Room contributor Jazz Shaw, but this is actually a jobs issue as well as a separate debate on environmental balance.  Development of the Marcellus Shale deposit will enhance domestic production of energy, which not only creates jobs but well-paying, union jobs of the kind desired by voters in NY-22.  It will also help moderate energy prices in the future, a policy which if adopted on a broad scale here in the US would result in higher investment, lower overhead, and more jobs.  It’s precisely the kind of policy that encourages growth rather than imposes stagnation, which is what Hinchey is essentially selling to his constituents.

Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani has seen enough of Hinchey, too.  Yesterday, Giuliani announced his endorsement of Phillips, emphasizing these very issues:

“In today’s troubled economic environment, more than ever we need government policies which promote a climate of entrepreneurship and job creation rather than the current Democratic plans for higher taxes and suppression of growth. Maurice Hinchey has clearly stated his intention to raise taxes on our nation’s farmers and small to medium business owners if he is sent back to Congress for yet another term. George Phillips has pledged to provide relief to our job creators and workers, and I encourage all the residents of New York’s 22nd district to send him to Congress.”

American Crossroads has a new ad running in the district this weekend, called “Hand,” but could just as easily be called “Shaddap!”

For more on this incident, read my post on Hinchey’s later physical altercation with the reporter. The question Hinchey didn’t want to answer was the connection between Hinchey’s pork requests for the Partition Street Project and the connections to the project to himself and one of his business partners.

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He’s got no hand

Undertaker on October 30, 2010 at 2:12 PM

Such a Cockroach he is.

hawkman on October 30, 2010 at 2:17 PM

Guys like this are great, do they watch the news?

Cindy Munford on October 30, 2010 at 2:18 PM

Just can not imagine any other source of real economic growth for this country besides the enrgy sector in every component from the smallest scale to large nuclear plants.

fourdeucer on October 30, 2010 at 2:30 PM

I heart energy, I heart oil and gas, I heart developing our energy!

kringeesmom on October 30, 2010 at 2:33 PM

I was just wondering if Hot Air could give a little linky love to Michael Grimm in NYC’s 13th District, which is Staten Island and the southwest corner of Brooklyn.


Rudy endorsed him. He’s neck and neck with the Democrat guy, and Nate Silver has the district “leaning Democrat” while everything else is blue blue blue. I live in Manhattan but I am helping Grimm because he actually has a chance to win. (Well, maybe DioGuardi does too, but not as much.)

There is a lot of enthusiasm, but as usual for New York, he is not getting help from the establishment GOP here. People mainly need to know “yes you need to go out and vote for him, don’t just assume he’ll win.” Some of us went out there as part of Ace of Spades “Be the Wave” this week.

If you are in the area, the Brooklyn office is a 15 min walk from the D train and there’s lots of on street parking. Weather is supposed to be nice all week.

YehuditTX on October 30, 2010 at 2:47 PM

Natural Gas separates the Luddites from the Warmists.

slickwillie2001 on October 30, 2010 at 3:10 PM

Hinchey is one of my top 10 dream takedowns on Tuesday. I think Cook recently moved him from Safe Dem to Likely Dem, and then to Leaning Dem. Please oh please…

Missy on October 30, 2010 at 3:19 PM

I wonder when frac became frack? Must be the outsiders of the oil & gas industry who don’t know squat about it. I can show you brochures from the 80’s that talk about fraccing but no mention of fracking.

Kermit on October 30, 2010 at 3:23 PM

Actually, not to contradict my good friend and Green Room contributor Jazz Shaw, but this is actually a jobs issue as well as a separate debate on environmental balance.

Not much of an environmental debate. There has never been an environmental issue related to fracturing anywhere.

PS, Ed – there is no K in frac.

Vashta.Nerada on October 30, 2010 at 4:12 PM

Kermit on October 30, 2010 at 3:23 PM

The letter C almost always takes the S sound when followed by an E or an I. This is why the gerund for panic is panicking.

Kafir on October 30, 2010 at 4:19 PM

I realize that, but what I am saying is that for a long time the fraccing companies used that rather than frack. It is after all a industry abbreviation for the fracturing.

Kermit on October 30, 2010 at 6:36 PM

We have a lot of these gas wells where I live, but they’re accessing coal beds that are too deep to mine. In such cases the coal is saturated with water which has to be drained off and then re-injected into another, deeper stratum. Once set up, these wells are non-obtrusive and there is no danger of spills, since the pressures aren’t high like in normal oil and gas drilling. There are some service roads, and new underground pipelines to gather the water to re-injection wells and the gas to treat it by removing impurities such as CO2 or sulphides. In New York, I doubt that anybody would notice them if they didn’t know they were there. In Norther New Mexico this technology has been in use for 40 or 50 years.

flataffect on October 30, 2010 at 11:34 PM

Hinchey is one of my top 10 dream takedowns on Tuesday. I think Cook recently moved him from Safe Dem to Likely Dem, and then to Leaning Dem. Please oh please…

Missy on October 30, 2010 at 3:19 PM

Phillips actually managed to get 43% of the vote in 2008. Quite good for a newbie running against a long term incumbent during a big democratic party year.

Saw a ton of Phillips signs on lawns around the Binghamton area today, when I was in town. I was quite amazed.

A Phillips win would be like a Dolittle Raid into the heart of the American left. So demoralizing, it will drive the many lefties in Ithaca crazy.

It would be a wonderful thing to behold.

Dreadnought on October 31, 2010 at 12:15 AM

“Fraccing” is huge.

Really huge.

Here’s why:

My real job has me quite connected to the energy industry these days. LNG has become a fuel commodity sought after almost as much as oil, but with a few regional quirks (read: high demand in Asia and a market not quite as fungible as oil, but gaining).

Now there is a gentleman, a quiet investor, who is long in Petrobras – a company competing heavily in LNG, among other petrochemicals. This gentleman’s surname is Soros. You might have heard of him…

Anyway, earlier in the decade it looked like natural gas supplies in the continental US had peaked and were beginning to dwindle. Market reports around 2005 or so had the US becoming a significant importer of LNG by the year 2020.

However “fraccing” changes this view, and significantly. Fraccing allows the US to once again become self-sufficient in natural gas, and allows it to become a player in the LNG export market. This change was so significant that it affected capital projects and market forecasts by companies like Gazprom and Petrobras, as potential US demand for LNG imports evaporated away. Average prices for natural gas in the continental US now around $4/GJ, whereas LNG prices are over $12/GJ. Also LNG prices were set to rise further on the basis of potential US demand – but now thanks to fraccing, the demand driver in LNG is mainly imports by China.

So two points to make.

The first is that Soros has motive for wanting to inflence the US natural gas market. This he has done by financing so-called “environmental” groups who attempt to get the Feds to restrain the use of fraccing. You know the saying about motive and opportunity…

And the second point is that the Chinese are seriously interested in fraccing technology.

Note what Obama has done: he has supported the efforts of special interests within the US who want to restrict the use of fraccing, even as he assists China in their quest to master the technique.

And finally, if the 111th Congress has taught us anything, it’s the fact that there really is no such thing as a DINO. The “blue dogs” whined and moaned a few times, true, but in the end, they voted with their party masters.

And it’s their party masters, from Obama on down, who favor growth in China while oppressing growth opportunities at home.

Remember in November, folks…

Wanderlust on October 31, 2010 at 1:23 AM

Phillips actually managed to get 43% of the vote in 2008. Quite good for a newbie running against a long term incumbent during a big democratic party year.

Indeed. I think this has been one of those under the radar districts and I’m hoping it’s a bellwether on Tuesday. If Hinchey loses that means Reps will pick up at least 70 seats.

So if you’re seeing lots of Phillips signs in the belly of the beast in Binghamton….home of SUNY Binghamton to which Hinchey regularly funnels millions of federal dollars…

Let’s just say this is one to watch closely.

Missy on October 31, 2010 at 3:20 AM