New York Needs Natural Gas, the People Need Natural Gas

As a resident in the area activists call the “frack zone” or “sacrifice area” nothing makes me more angry than what Governor Cuomo is doing to New York with his indecisive leadership which I hope the whole country will remember should he make a run for the oval office in 2016.  I’m from Chenango County and I am an avid supporter of natural gas development and urging Governor Cuomo to pass natural gas now!

Here in Upstate New York, mostly in the Southern Tier, we have been losing jobs by the thousands since the early 1980. We have seen many businesses close and jump ship.  There are dozens but to name a few, IBM in Endicott (11,000 jobs),  Buckbe Myers (2,000 jobs), Singer Link (5,000 jobs with more than half being high paid engineers), Singer Sewing (700 jobs moved to Mexico), Krohler Furniture and EJ-Shoes. In fact, the trend has been happening for so long its hard to think any business would even want to move into the area.

The only business currently thriving in Broome County, New York  is SUNY Binghamton; everything else is strip malls and fast food joints leaving our children with only one option when they finish school, leave New York to find a job in whatever field they studied.  We push kids to continue their education by attending college only to build their skills and let them leave to other states across the country.

Every time Governor Cuomo delays the release of natural gas regulations he empowers the activist, making them think they have more control over the decision, and he leaves landowners feeling defeated by the broken promises that line up like the Southern Tier poor at food banks.


I ask myself and I ask Governor Cuomo this question, “Why in the 5 1/2 years that the brown water jug that has made so many trips to Albany has outspoken activist and legislator Barbara Lifton, not confiscated the jug of brown water, to test and confirm there are hydraulic fracturing materials in it? Why hasn’t anybody taken that brown water jug stage prop from actor Mark Ruffalo in the name of knowledge and tested it? Why?” It was right there in Albany held high for all to see and it should have been taken to test.


Well, the Environmental Protection Agency did test the source of brown water in that jug, right from Craig and Julie Saunter’s home. The Sautner’s, for those who don’t know, are a couple living in Dimock, PA. who sued Cabot Oil and Gas for $5 million. The Environmental Protection Agency reported that Dimock, Pennsylvania water was safe to drink, including the infamous Sautner well. Why is that you ask? Because there were no traces of contamination from natural gas development.

Which leads to another question.  How much are these delays costing New York and New Yorkers?  Besides the hundreds of millions in lost tax revenue and tens of thousands of lost jobs, there is a sad, personal loss that many do not consider.  Every time Governor Cuomo fails to release the regulations the decision affects thousands in the Southern Tier. Two of my friends have died from heart attacks caused, in part, by the stress of Governor Cuomo’s indecisiveness. One friend was returning from a pro-gas rally in Albany, the other just hours after a heated meeting in Sidney, New York.  Another good friend is losing their home and farm because they can’t pay New York taxes any longer after her husband became ill.

I too am in financial trouble not yet coming up with the tax money for my home as I only make $21,000 a year after losing my job when IBM closed in Endicott, New York. Before losing that job I made $58,000 a year.  However, without job times are tough as high property taxes and other necessities often drain my resources leaving little to spare. For example, my property taxes are $6,000, my 2008 truck costs me $3,000 a year and my mortgage is $4,800.  After doing the math you can see I have roughly $7,200 a year to live on.

Of course, you’d never know that from listening to the opposition. They often refers to us as “greedy landowners” who don’t care about anything but an easy buck. As you can see from my story, often times nothing is further from the truth. Many of us are fifth generation land owners who just happen to live in the highest taxed state in the country. We see natural gas development as an opportunity to keep our farms for the next 5 generations. Our land could give back to us what New York State taxes are taking away.

Governor Cuomo: Read this and know that your decision will be responsible for the improved or reduced livelihoods of thousands of Upstate New Yorkers who see how natural gas development has improved the lives of their neighbors in Pennsylvania. Interestingly, its done exactly that, transformed livelihoods for the better without the gloom and doom the  anti-development community in New York has forecasted.


  1. Dave Perotto says:

    Great commentary, hang tough. You are a great American and deserve the bounty that lies under your property. If our governor impedes us on Wednesday, we will stand together and hold him accountable with an enormous lawsuit. I thank you for all that you have done for us landowners, we owe you our gratitude.
    Dave Perotto

    • Vic Furman says:

      Thank you for your support. Thank you for the many compliments, the e-mails, the phone calls. I do this for me and when I feel like quitting you people are the ones who keep me going, the 72 year old farmer who thinks and looks like he is 50, dark to dark he works right down the road from me on old dangerous equipment yet he finds time to get on the bus, The widow from Deposit who’s farm was taken so NYC can have a reservoir, My friend Fred who can see a gas well from his home on Hance road in the Town of Binghamton in a battle for his life with esophageal cancer, that greedy farmer Fred facing death wants it… not for him but for his wife and children. I don’t believe we will see the regulations released this week and it is time for action, I just got back from showing the legislators in Albany “Frack Nation” in the Egg. I’ve seen the movie several times and it is always a pleasure to see people coming out of the theater asking “How could Josh Fox lie to the public like that and get away with it. he was there tonight, in Albany with a widow and daughter of a Rig Worker who died in a site accident. Josh was using the loss of her husband to say drilling cost lives, Josh I have a question for you… How many farmers died in the last 5 years because they had to work on old antiquated farm equipment because of your lies effectiveness in denying them a lease that would have afforded that farmer updated equipment? The proof is in Frack Nation Josh You are a liar.

  2. Richard Latker says:

    Thanks for posting this.

    Keep in mind that the moratorium is temporary, and that your interests are among the many that the governor and the legislature must balance. Unfortunately, while the voices of the gas industry and its opponents are heard loud & clear in Albany, those of landowners like you tend to get drowned out.

    It may seem like paradise across the border in PA. But NY would do well to examine the PA experience for guidance while avoiding some of the same mistakes – especially those that left landowners like yourself in a permanently weakened position with respect to the lessees.

    There will be hydraulic fracking in New York, and you have every right to lease your lands. I know the delay is frustrating, but I suggest you use the time to re-examine your lease to make sure that you – and the community you live in – have obtained the best possible deal before the floodgates open. Think about royalties, liabilities, and ahead to when the frackers are finished with your property.

    Remember, the gas is yours, not the frackers’ or the government’s. Make the most of it.

  3. Tom Frost says:

    You’re no greedy landowner. Rather, by telling us your income (which, even after you got layed off, is still several times more than what mine ever was for my WHOLE life until the gasmen came along), you’ve incriminated yourself of being just another one of the greedy SUBURBANITES that you like to try, without success, to bash as good as I can bash.

    • Vic Furman says:

      Yes…I understand

  4. ken beers says:

    Mr Furman, your a fantastic person! I don’t believe any of us can possibly thank you enough. Thanks for giving us a glimpse into a part of your life, I don’t think everyone understands the amount of passion and your own personal money that you put into bringing out the truth (and the fact that you don’t brag about it) We are going to get this done and you deserve everything you get from this. Again from all us landowners /leaseholders THANK YOU VIC!!!!!!! PS where did you get the recipe for the brown water in the jug?

    • Vic Furman says:

      same as the antis…lipton tea

  5. Bill says:

    Hey Vic, we’re hanging in there with you. I work for one of the other local aerospace companies, and we’ve lost 25% of our workforce over the last few years. I can’t retire and afford the taxes (school tax up 10% despite the tax cap), I can’t sell my house because the taxes are so high, and with sequestration looming I could lose my job and have to virtually give away my house. Even some of the doctors on our road have bailed out of the area. For those who say drilling will destroy property values, I say “BULL!” – property values are destroyed when there are no jobs, no hope and a massive exodus of citizens fed up with ever-increasing taxes to cover the revenue shortfalls caused by the erosion of the tax base caused by all of the above.. I agree with Dave’s comment above about how much we owe you and your tireless efforts to shine a light on the lies and half-truths being spread about drilling. Time for me to go write and call the governor yet again. Time is short, and the stakes are high.

  6. getthefacts says:

    Someone doesn’t look real happy when the jug is removed from his hand.

    I’d like to know how he got so many days off of work? Does Frontier give all their wire splicers so much time off? Are they all able to take the bucket truck home too? Has he taken it home to NY yet?

  7. Harry says:

    Does Frontier have some sort of a list of people who will not let him work on their property? If not they should. I don’t want him on property. Maybe we should all call and get put on a list to keep him off.

  8. A truck? You told me the other night you just bought a Prius?

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