January 16, 2012

Senator Jim Seward on a conservative approach

I was delighted to see State Senator Jim Seward's recent guest column, Home rule laws aren't a radical idea. I agree with him: they're deeply conservative:

Home rule is a conservative position that democratically elected local governments, closest to the people, decide what's appropriate for their communities -- as they do with other commercial and residential uses.

Not only that, home rule makes as much sense for gas drilling as it does for any other activity:

For some to claim that my home rule legislation will make it more difficult for gas drillers to deal with a crazy quilt of local rules and regulations, I say this: first, drilling companies are used to it; and second, reluctance to do business in New York may have more to do with the price of natural gas or our geology.

At the end of the state's now three-year-plus process, New York will have greater uniformity than other 'home rule' states. My legislation offers nothing out of the ordinary where gas drilling is concerned.

One argument against my legislation is that local governments are not equipped to review applications or respond to the submissions of multi-national gas drilling companies.

To be clear, home rule does not authorize local governments to regulate how natural gas drilling is conducted, but where it is permitted, much like town zoning rules establishing where someone can operate a slaughterhouse, a gas station or any other commercial use. The state would continue to review drilling applications and be responsible for the issuance of permits.

Thank you Senator Seward, for expressing this so clearly, and for continuing to push these ideas in a State Senate whose leadership is not always so supportive.

Posted by simon at January 16, 2012 10:45 AM in ,
Note on photos