November 10, 2011

Hydrofracking and the elections

Back at the public hearing in July, I asked Dryden Republican Committee Chair why they were pushing so hard against the ban. "Candidates", he said, before we were shushed. I was actually trying to give him some advice - I thought they'd taken on a political suicide mission even then.

This morning's Ithaca Journal reports on the impact of hydrofracking controversies on this year's local races. It wasn't just Dryden - Caroline swept two incumbents opposed to a ban out of office by even larger margins.

I think Town Supervisor Mary Ann Sumner gets the dynamics right:

In Dryden, Sumner said fracking was a divisive issue at the beginning of the campaign, but by the end there seemed to be a clear consensus.

I'm not sure "consensus" is the right word - there's still a clear division. Over the course of the fall, though, I kept hearing from and of people, often Republicans, who had looked at this issue and decided that ban, at least for now, was the right idea.

Anschutz suing the Town likely didn't help the Republicans either.

Henry Kramer, prophet of lawsuit doom is still singing his same old song:

"As far as the fracking issue, I am sure it played a part because the Democrats centered their campaign around the issue of fracking and in my view they did that because they didn't want attention on the budget deficit problem and zoning issue," he said. "It is easier to sell fear than to deal with numbers in the budget."

Kramer, who poured a lot of energy into the Dryden Safe Energy Coalition, is a strange person to complain about "centering a campaign on hydrofracking" or "selling fear". He also gets the dynamics of the race wrong. Almost no one - much to my disappointment - seemed interested in the details of zoning, and the "budget issue" Republicans concocted only caught conversational steam in the last week of the race.

I'll have a lot more detail to come about how different districts voted and eventually about who voted.

Posted by simon at November 10, 2011 8:08 AM in , ,
Note on photos


Nathanael said:

Did you read my comment earlier about how many of the fracking companies are basically running a pump-and-dump or "juicing" scam? (Drill the wells, show huge amounts of gas in year one, sell them at inflated prices to someone else, who then discovers the production drops off sharply?)

I think once people start realizing that they're wrecking the environment *without* getting very much gas out of it, even most "money before environment" types start to turn decisively anti-fracking.