Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My Land, Your Water and Two Little Voices

“NYC DEP Wants Ban on Marcellus Drilling in Certain Areas"
If New York City's Department of Environmental Protection gets its way, 500,000 acres in the city's watershed would be off limits to Marcellus development. The request includes banning drilling in a one mile perimeter around the city's Catskill reservoirs and all infrastructure”

Ok, so let me get the ruler out because I think my property upstate is just about a few inches over a mile from the Pepacton Reservoir and the water you drink every day from your tap. And so what if a little benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene, xylene, naphthalene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; methanol; formaldehyde; ethylene glycol; glycol ethers; hydrochloric acid; and sodium hydroxide get on you while you take a shower on East Fourth Street. Hell, I bet you a little “Lava” soap can get that off you in a few minutes and it may make your skin softer too.

So bring that truck in and lower that big iron head, because today we’re drilling for Natural Gas and I’ll never have to cut my grass again, because the run off from the drilling chemicals may just kill it forever. And tell my boss I won’t be in on Monday or forever for that matter, because today I'm quitting my job.

Oh, but back to reality and the two little voices in my head.
You see my family and I own over 200 acres just up from the Pepacton Reservoir in Delaware County, New York. We are smack in the middle of the NYC DEP Watershed area, and if the city has it’s way we’ll never see that check for 38,000 dollars a month from Suburban Energy or National Grid. Yes, right on top of Bryden Hill and some 1800 feet above sea level sit our two little Catskill houses. And given the fact that sometimes they have to drill down five miles to get to the gas it’s highly unlikely that they’ll ever ring my doorbell because of how high we are on the mountain.

And that’s ok, that’s ok, because I would never want to be tempted by greed and green. No keep it to yourself and ring that farmer’s doorbell over in Delhi. Because his barn’s falling apart and his cows look pretty darn skinny, and I’m sure the National Grid logo would look great painted on the side of his barn along with a new Escalade parked in his dirt driveway.

“So Ronnie what do you think about those gas companies trying to drill right in the NYC Watershed”

“Could you imagine what kind of shit is going to end up in our water?”
“Are they crazy or what?”

Good Voice: “Oh, it’s terrible and I know no matter what the gas companies say the water’s going to get polluted somehow. Yeah the old “the air is safe to breathe down by the WTC on 9/11 kind of shit”

Bad Voice: “Are you freaking crazy? I’ll drink bottled water and make my kids bathe in Poland Spring every night, am I going to say “no” to National Grid when they screwed me for so many years and I spent hundreds of thousands to heat my house? Over 35,000 dollars a month and finally have enough money to buy a new Prius?

Sell me, sell me, I have no soul.

And then I thought about my grandfather Paco, and how he would be ashamed of me. How he scraped up every dime he had to buy 204 acres at 18 bucks a pop back in 1953 so his family would have a place to go every summer and get away from the hot steaming streets of Kensington, Brooklyn.

“You know Ronnie, there is nothing as beautiful as the mountains and the green of the trees. Someday this will be for you and your family, and I hope you keep it just the same”

“Yes Grandpa I will, and I will always think of you when I’m here”

The long drill suddenly stopped and was pulled out of the bedrock.
I could see a little benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene, xylene,
naphthalene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons dripping from
its ugly head.

What the Hell are you doing?”

“Do you know what kind of money this baby’s
going to pay you every month?”

“Forget what your grandfather said and just
“Drill Baby Drill”.

“Drill Baby Drill?”
Now where did I hear that before?

The image of matching “his” and “hers” Priuses in my driveway at 399 suddenly flashed in my head along with that new 14 Mpg Dodge Challenger with a Hemi no less.

“Just stick that drill head back in and watch
my wife’s perennial garden.”

“Oh, now you’re talking, now you’re talking”

Good Voice: Do you realize that your house
sits right above the Pepacton?”

“Do you see the little skull and crossbones on
those five gallon drums that they’re pouring down that hole?”

“You were born in Park Slope man not Dubai”

Bad Voice: “Oh right don’t tell me for one second some Subaru owning, politically correct Park Slopian is going to turn down 38 grand a month?” “They can be sold just as easily as me” And I bet they’ll still keep their Greenpeace bumper sticker on their car along with the National Grid one. Yeah protesting the Atlantic Yards and then taking their kid to a Brooklyn Nets game. Don’t tell me about being a hypocrite”.

Good Voice: Morals, Goodness and Kindness.

Bad Voice:: Greed, Green a Prius and a dead lawn.

“Ok, OK, stop the drilling, I just can’t do this! And besides that benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene, xylene, naphthalene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons is starting to melt my shoes.

With a look of utter disgust the hard heads pulled the drill out from the hole in front of my wife’s perennial garden.

Oh well there goes buying my way into Berkley Carroll or PS 321.

“Well Pal, I hope you’re happy because we’re never coming back”

The hardhats all got into the big GMC and started her up, black smoke spewed from the stack as they put her in drive. Slowly they drove away as the National Grid logo faded in the distance on the big chrome rear bumper.

Good Voice: “You know you made the right choice
and your children will be proud of you”

Bad Voice: “This is National Grid and your bill is overdue”

For more information on the effects of Natural Gas Drilling:

Ron Lopez


Elliot James said...

Ron, BP has destroyed the Gulf, its marine life and countless livelihoods. Florida's governor Crist wants to ban drilling so it doesn't happen to this state. No matter what they say, there will be mistakes, accidents, toxic runoff, environmental diseases, pollution and native wildlife wiped out. So don't fall for it.

Josh said...

Thank you Ron for writing about this important issue that affects all of us-even if you don't live near a natural gas drilling site. Everyone needs to see the HBO documentary, Gasland and learn about the dangers of "fracking". It will shock you and hopefully motivate you to take action. If you don't have HBO, find someone who does or have them record it for you. I think the DVD comes out at the end of the year. Please go to the Gasland website for more info: http://www.gaslandthemovie.com/