Letters (11/7-14)

‘Gasland II’ an eye-opener

Last week, Josh Fox, the Director of Academy Award nominated “Gasland” and its sequel, spoke to over 500 campus and community members at SUNY New Paltz. His first documentary explored the perilous impact of horizontal hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking) on the environment and communities. This film gave rise to a passionate and well organized grass roots movement of citizens united to stop this controversial technique to extract shale gas from deep below the earth’s surface. Yet there seemed to be a roadblock.

Josh found at every level of government the oil and gas industry had so much power they were literally taking the representation away from us, the people, and inserting their will into the highest level of government… over and over. “Gasland II” became about another level of contamination, the contamination of our democracy. Josh cleverly noted that democracy is just like water – we need it to survive.

The oil and gas industry has run out of conventional fuels and shifted to a new business model of extreme energy extraction. These unconventional fuels include fracked gas in 34 states, fracked sand mining in six to eight states, tar sands development (think Keystone XL Pipeline), deep water horizon drilling and mountain top removal. And along with this extreme energy extraction comes extreme climate change. Such was the case with Hurricane Sandy (which hit us exactly one year ago).


There is a viable alternative to this unconventional fossil fuel, shale gas, that the oil and gas industry is touting as a transition fuel to be used as we transition to renewable energy. Stanford University Professor Mark Jacobson has a real plan for a sustainable, inexpensive and reliable energy supply available now and including wind, water and solar power in a renewable energy mix.

The decision to move forward with this extreme energy extraction or renewable energy in New York State is in the hands of Governor Andrew Cuomo. Call the Governor at 518-474-8390. Tell him to ban fracking in New York State because moving ahead with this form of extreme energy as a transition fuel 1) sets us up for extreme climate change and 2) delays moving ahead more whole-heartedly with renewable energy.

Go to The Solutions Project at thesolutionsproject.org to learn more about Josh’s new project and actually join the movement. The project itself will on a state by state basis “identify the custom mix of renewables needed for the state and key locations for deployment of those renewable resources”. Josh suggested he would like to come back and do one in New Paltz to which there was a big cheer from the audience!

Throughout his presentation Josh showed many times over how our individual and group actions do make a difference and how we can take the country into new directions. It is our responsibility to contribute in our own creative and passionate way to counter what may seem like powerful or immovable structures. I am inspired to act and I hope you are too! Are you?

Rosalyn Cherry
New Paltz


Lyme disease epidemic

I am writing to your readers regarding Lyme disease. Discovered in 1975 this disease has become prevalent in the Northeast. In New York, Columbia and Greene counties have the highest rate per capita in the country. I am a transplant from Long Island where a lot of people I know have contracted Lyme disease and have been completely misdiagnosed by their doctors with a host of illnesses from psychiatric disorders to rheumatoid arthritis with dozens of illnesses in between (there are over 300 illnesses that mimic Lyme disease).

Even after being treated with antibiotics upwards of 25 percent of patients still experience Lyme disease symptoms months even years after they contracted the disease. It’s quite simple to me, we just don’t know enough about this most debilitating disease. I can assure you that there are many people walking around out there that are suffering from what’s called ‘’Lyme flare ups.’’ People have the impression that you need to see a bull’s eye or rash on their body which is simply not true. All I can say is talk to your doctor if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms. If you are as fortunate as I am to have a doctor who actually listens to you and is willing to think outside the box you may just have Lyme disease. It’s a simple blood test– have it done.

We are lucky to have at least two people representing us regarding this issue, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Chris Gibson. Their offices have been working closely with the center for disease control in Atlanta (CDC) to figure out how to control this disease. Last year over 300,000 cases were reported in the US; that’s 10 times what’s been reported in previous years. That sounds like an epidemic to me. Get yourself checked out along with your children. Why go on suffering? And above all– check your body for ticks.

I have had Lyme disease and I can assure you it’s no walk in the park.

Harold Kelly
Preston Hollow