LETTER from BOB EKLUND
To the Editor:
Normally, I would not respond to such pithy paeans of praise to the poison profits of pipelines as recently described by Mr. Zagata (Nov. 28-29) in this space. However, since my name and likeness, along with friend and fellow environmental activist Nicole Dillingham, were used as poster people for the piece, I feel I must.
First I must admit surprise at Zagata’s entry into fossil-fuel fiction arena, an area more usually occupied by the ever-zealous Dick Downey. Don’t worry, Dick, I find your efforts at fiction much more entertaining.
I have never been a paid activist and to claim that I and the thousands of others who gave of their time and energies were is an outrageous lie. Indeed most of the people I worked with used their personal means of transportation and funded their travel expenses out of their own pockets, a situation which may seem quaint to the former short-term head of the DEC.
As for the single “informant” who Zagata would have one believe speaks for all, there are no citations of payment, to anyone, in any amount, or on any continuing basis. Is the anecdotal evidence factual or just something Zagata pulled out of a “frackhole”?
Likewise his claim of a billion-dollar loss to the area. From whence do these figures derive? Or is this just another use of the tiresome tactic used by the fossil-fuel industry of throwing out eye-popping numbers in an attempt to appeal to the greed of those who would ignore any cost to the common weal?
I believe it was Mr. Zagata’s fellow fabulist, the aforementioned Dick Downey, who recently linked the opioid crisis to lack of methane gas. To link the tragic opioid cancer occurring in America regardless of whether there is methane available or not is reprehensible.
The opioid epidemic was caused by Big Pharma as recently shown by the “real” billions of dollars settlements agreed to by some of the more egregious offenders. Ulster County, an area with ample access to methane gas, was recently named as the leading county in New York State for opioid-related fatalities. Of course, Big Pharma, like the Fossil Fuel Industry, throws millions of dollars into disinformation campaigns in an attempt to disguise their profit from poison business, one at the expense of individuals, the other at the expense of the planet.
I recall a conversation I had with Mr. Zagata a number of years ago in which I expressed surprise that (at the time) the DEC might support fracking.
I questioned how it was that the DEC tightly controlled the effluvia emanating from farming practices in order to prevent the contamination of waterways, but was willing to condone the rendering of millions of gallons of previously potable water owned by the public into permanently toxic waste.
His reply was less than illuminating. However, as this latest commentary demonstrates, he is still remarkably well versed in the aspects of barnyard effluvia.
The tiresome trope of people leaving New York State due to lack of methane gas, with acknowledgement to Clemens, is an example of twisting stats to a pre-formed idea. Might I suggest that a large number of people leaving are simply part of the “boomer” effect?
Ever since the advent of air conditioning, northerners have been seduced by the charms of winter weather below the Mason-Dixon Line.
New York being one of our most populous states had/has one of the largest populations of boomers reaching retirement age. It has been a time-honored tradition that they move south long before the advent of fracking. Another factor causing migration is the total lack of modern up-to-date communication abilities throughout most of rural New York.
The linking of diminishing church attendance is at the “are you kidding me?” level. More likely, people have stepped away from the church after having become dismayed by so many wrapping themselves in a holy banner in the service of Mammon.
Yes Mr. Zagata, I include you. At a time of year when many celebrate the story of a child born to parents fleeing oppression and hiding in a primitive manger is upon us, your assertions do little to help and much to harm. To suggest that the adherents of this faith, the same ones who are descendants of people who suffered persecution for their beliefs, are not up to dealing with a lack of methane gas is laughable. Unless of course, you are of the opinion that Mary and Joe would have been more comfortable in that manger if only they had a pipeline.