Being a candidate means going from zero to sixty in one’s knowledge base of wide-ranging issues such as IDA’s, minimum wage increase, tax reform, term limits, job creation and an amalgamation of enviromental issues, to name just a few.   So when I am not out going door to door, I am talking with experts, meeting with officials and attending forums to prepare for my election as the 147th’s assemblywoman.

A prime example of my ongoing education was a forum on shale gas development that I attended last night at Letchworth Central School.  The presentation was sponsored by the Wyoming County Board of Supervisors and featured the county’s planner, Arthur Buckley.

The topic of shale gas drilling and hyrdraulic fracking is one of the most contentious, concerning and confusing issues facing our district.  To date, I have met with representatives from both the gas/oil industry as well as community activists concerned about the process, and at the end of each meeting it is clear that there is no simple or easy solution to this issue.  And that is exactly the message that Mr. Buckley delivered in his 90 minute presentation.

Using a power point slide show of photos, graphs and bulleted information, Buckly clearly and fairly explained the drilling and hydrofracking processes, with both benefits and drawbacks.  Yet what was most helpful was the information he presented at the end of his program that he titled “It’s not just about the drilling.”

In a series of slides Buckley addressed concerns such as increased heavy truck traffic, agricultural and forestry impact, land restoration, increased demand for community services and housing, water withdrawal and surface rights, property tax and home resale values, insurance concerns, gas storage issues and wide spread economic boon and drop offs cycles.  It was compelling and thought provoking ….and helped further validate my educated assessment that there is no simple or easy answer.  It’s going to take dedicated and trustworthy research, a willingness on both sides of this issue to work together and the leadership to ensure proper legislation is put in place so that our district will be safe and prosper. 

I appreciate the Wyoming County Board of Supervisors and Arthur Buckley for helping to further my education.