The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

The Empire State’s Divide

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted January 26, 2012

The clash between rural New York state mineral rights owners and opponents of natural gas development comes through in a new short film, “The Empire State Divided,” by the Foundation for Land and Liberty. The 22-minute film is divided into three parts. Check out part 1 below and see all three here.

The film was produced by Karen Moreau, the foundation’s former president who earlier this month was named executive director of the New York State Petroleum Council, a division of API. The film depicts economic and political conditions in the state’s southern tier, where struggling farmers and job-starved communities see the potential benefits of natural gas production being kept out of reach by the state’s moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, which is strongly backed by natural gas opponents.

Meanwhile, in neighboring Pennsylvania, natural gas development is creating jobs and fueling local economies as that state’s farmers reinvigorate their operations with lease and royalty payments paid by energy companies.

New York waits, and the film shows the hydraulic fracturing moratorium hurting people who can least afford it. “There are no jobs,” says Mark Galasso, businessman and mayor of Cobleskill, N.Y. “When people leave high school, they leave New York state. There’s no core industry here anymore.”

Unfortunately, as the film notes, what was a discussion of reasonable ways to regulate natural gas production in New York has turned into an effort to ban production altogether – a not-in-my-backyard movement is now a not-in-your-backyard-either movement. Moreau: “There’s something worse than not having money in your pocket. There’s something worse than not having a nice view. And that is having no hope.” Worth a look.


Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.