Monday, February 04, 2013

Gold Rush. Bamazon. Ax Men.

Yeah, I can't watch any of those shows.

Don't get me wrong, I love some reality tv, but those shows are, basically, about people destroying the environment as fast as possible so they can make as much money as possible.

I'm not really into that.

Maybe I'm just ultra-sensitive, living here in upstate New York, where a pitched battle is being waged over hydrofracturing, a method of getting natural gas out of the ground.

The pro side says it's a safe, efficient way to reduce our dependency on foreign fuels.  The anti side says it's a rape of the environment that may carry consequences for years to come.

All I know is Montrose.

Montrose was a beautiful little town just south of the border from me, down in PA where fracking is already allowed.  It was a picturesque small village, with a little town center, mom-and-pop stores, and churches, surrounded by rolling hills.

Today?  Montrose is an industrial waypoint.  Heavy equipment trucks roll through the streets constantly, on their way to the fracking sites, and all kinds of big-box crap has sprung up to accommodate the out-of-town gas workers.  Crime has skyrocketed, and so have rents, as there isn't enough housing to accommodate the fracking workers.

Is it a boost to the local economy?  Absolutely.   Will  people's property taxes go down as a result of all the commercial development?  Probably.  Will some previously-struggling farmers hit the jackpot by  leasing their land to the frackers?  Damn straight.

Is it worth it?  Is it worth selling out a beautiful natural environment to make a few bucks?  To change the tone of your town, possibly forever, in order to make some money for a few years?

The people who are benefiting will say hell yes.  The people who have nothing to gain and a lot to lose say hell no.

And me?  I say no.  Once you sell your soul, it's hard to get it back.

Just my two cents.


fmcgmccllc said...

Harsh topic to discuss. Without taking sides who are the people with nothing to gain? Natural Gas is cleaner than coal and a lot of people want to make coal a fuel of the past. Yet we send alot of coal to China as they are an emerging economy and don't have to be green yet. We gotta have heat and lights in our homes that we can afford. Oh wait, that is why the workers in Mexico and China live in poverty, so we can have cheap affordable stuff and have the nasty manufacturing somewhere else. It is complicated.

rockygrace said...

Yep, it's complicated. It seems you can't have both "cheap" and "fair".