Abandon ship: Southern Tier New York looks to defect to Pennsylvania over fracking ban

Despite the fact that it rests upon a wealth of resources, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is sticking by his pledge to ban the practice of the hydraulic fracturing of shale to extract natural gas (fracking) in the Empire State. He flipped on his opposition to the practice while seeking reelection after facing significant resistance from his environmentalist left flank.

As a political maneuver, Cuomo’s decision makes sense. In any other context, though, the decision to ban fracking in New York is asinine. For the party of science, opposition to fracking technology is strictly the result of adherence to an article of faith.

“I’m a little confused – banning fracking for gas, and banning new pipeline construction to transport it, means more dirty energy from coal and oil during the winter months when gas supplies are insufficient to most of New York and New England,” wrote Forbes contributor James Conca in December. “And a 2011 study by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation didn’t show any great issues not faced by most other industrial processes.”

Of course it doesn’t make sense if you’re viewing environmentalist opposition to fracking through a dispassionate and empirical lens. The left’s antipathy toward this technological innovation that promises to finally free America from reliance on hostile foreign oil producers (alongside horizontal drilling) is an expression of fealty to a faith-based conviction.

But not only is New York’s opposition to fracking not based in an objective assessment of its environmental impacts, it is also economically hazardous and a nightmare for the state’s badly neglected upstate residents. Well, between the fracking ban, high property taxes, and general meddling from Albany, New York’s Southern Tier has had enough. According to a report, those cities along the Pennsylvania border are investigating the prospects for seceding from New York and joining the Keystone State. (Hat tip to The Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe)

“The Southern Tier is desolate,” said Conklin, New York supervisor to a reporter with WBNG. “We have no jobs and no income. The richest resource we have is in the ground.”

There are 15 towns interested in the secession, according to the Towns Association. These towns are in Broome, Delaware, Tioga and Sullivan counties. The association declined to name the towns without their permission and also declined to comment on specifics at this time. As of now, research is ongoing. The group will be updating Action News with all of their findings in the coming weeks.

The association said it’s comparing taxes and the cost of doing business in the two states. It says the facts show there is a huge difference between the two.

Also being considered are things like workers comp, surcharges, unemployment and health insurance. The association’s understanding is that the secession would have to be approved by the New York State Legislature, the Pennsylvania State Legislature and the U. S. government.

So, is this even possible? We’ve come a long way from the Michigan-Ohio war, and it’s doubtful that there will be an armed engagement between New York and Pennsylvania over Binghamton, but that does not necessarily mean that New York will be eager to cede part of its tax base to Pennsylvania.

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