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Visioning the Upper Delaware River Corridor   

Mired in gas

By Mike Uretsky

My wife and I moved up here about fifteen years ago. We were attracted to this area because we had friends up here, it was a beautiful environment and the community was an interesting mix of people—some lifelong residents and some, like ourselves, part-time transplants. Since that time, and since retiring, I have become essentially a fulltime resident. I have gotten to know my neighbors quite well. I have more in common with some than with others, but we all respect each other’s individual rights. I believe that everyone owes something to the community they live in. Given my longstanding interest in the arts and the environment, I have been taking an active role in both the Delaware Valley Opera and the Delaware Highlands Conservancy.

The current natural gas situation has an impact on all of us. It will certainly (and rightly) benefit some people. We do not have a legal or moral right to impose our values on our neighbors. At the same time, it is coming and we will all be affected.

There are legitimate questions to be asked. What impact will gas exploration and development have on water, air and implicitly health? What impact is it likely to have on the local and national economy? How is it likely to affect real estate values? What impact is it likely to have on intangibles, e.g., beauty? These are all important questions—some more important to some people than others.

Given my concern, I embarked on my own investigations. They included sitting in on most of the meetings that have been held, consulting with environmental experts, doing web searches, speaking with petroleum engineers, speaking with gas and environmental lawyers, locating and speaking with people living in the “gas patch” out west, getting involved with other property owners and visiting gas fields here in Pennsylvania. I satisfied myself that I understand the issues, the benefits, the risks and the ways that these risks can be kept at a manageable level. Of equal significance, I satisfied myself that most of my neighbors who are looking into leasing some or all of their property are not money grubbers, but responsible members of our community who are cognizant of their neighbors, the environment and the community as a whole.

The current situation has the potential for tearing this community apart. The number of misstatements being made is shocking—especially in contrast with the academic environment from which I retired, in which accuracy and support of statements was an absolute requirement. Of equal significance, the misstatements are overshadowed by the personal rumors that are circulating. They are totally unfounded and unacceptable. If I were the focus of such rumors, my lawyer would respond.

We have a very special obligation to ourselves and each other. Just as there is freedom of speech, there are responsibilities associated with its exercise. You can’t yell fire in a crowded theater. Similarly, in this case, there is a real need to deal with substantiated facts and to keep the discussions from getting personal. Because of its reach, the press has a particularly important role to play. It must make sure that facts are checked and substantiated. It must provide a forum for keeping discussions on a high plain.

We have an obligation to exercise our first amendment rights in the interest of the community. People should sit down at the table and debate the facts. We can then look back at this shared experience and be proud of the fact that we have acted as mature, responsible adults who are interested in our community.

(Mike Uretsky is a retired faculty member at NYU, a resident of Damascus, a member of the board of the Delaware Valley Opera and Delaware Highlands Conservancy and a member of the Northern Wayne Property Owners Alliance.)

October 29, 2009
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September 3, 2009
JEFFREY MOORE: Destroying it won't 'save'it
August 6, 2009
BARBARA LEWIS: Trees: a legacy and a future
July 9, 2009
SARAH CUTLER: Share the road
June 11, 2009
SUSAN SCOTT: The democratization of information
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MICHAEL CHOJNICKI: A turning point
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JOHN CONWAY: Dual-mode transportation
March 19,2009
KEITH LEPAN: NY H2O
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JEFFREY SEEDS: One-sidedness
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TOM HOLMES: Taking back the power
December 25, 2008
TINA PALACEK: When a community is really a family


November 27, 2008
STEPHANIE TURNER: Gas drilling from a realtor's perspective
October 30, 2008
SUSAN SULLIVAN: From visiong to reality: the role of local government
October 2, 2008
MARY BETH WOOD: Investing in career and technical education
September 4, 2008
JOE LEVINE: When compromise is a recipe for disaster
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VIDAL MARTINEZ: The Upper Delaware experience
July 10, 2008
WES GILLINGHAM: Sticking together
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LINDA COBB: The Harmony Project
May 15, 2008
Barbara Arrindell: Looking back
April 17, 2008
JO CLEARWATER: Welcome to the new world
March 20, 2008
JONATHAN F. ROUIS: Out of many, one
February 21, 2008
MIKE URETSKY: Mired in gas
January 24, 2008
Some visionaries look at 2008
October 4, 2007
Greg Swarz: Coming Home
September 6, 2007
Jim Serio: Educating the Delaware River Basin
August 9, 2007
Stephanie Streeter: Still endangered?
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Molly Rodgers: Be informed, be connected
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John Bunting: Milk price and power
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Brian Smith: It's time to work and worry
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Carol Roig: Celebrating history close to home
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Debbie Smorto: Be a part of the solution
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Robert Dadras: Creating a new direction for Sullivan County
April 5, 2007
Dave Williams: Save your local dairy farm
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R.A. Dubensky: Losing our future
March 8, 2007
Dave Williams: Save your local dairy farm
February 22, 2007
Troy Bystrom: Conserve to preserve
February 8, 2007
Alegra Jennings: Do you see what I see?
January 18, 2007
Amy Gruzesk: A new alliance for business in Pike
January 11, 2007
Grace Wildermuth: Our rural environment must be preserved


December 28, 2006
John Jose: Meeting the challenges of stormwater management
December 14, 2006
Daniel Kennedy: Making memories in Pike County
November 30, 2006
Stephen Stuart: Sustainable Solutions
November 16, 2006
Linda Cobb: The Harmony Project
November 2, 2006
Judy Harlan: What municipalities can do about flooding
October 19, 2006
Samuel Jackson: Walking the talk
October 5, 2006
Jay Epstein: The foundations of a viable plan
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Tom Kane: The clean water act
September 7, 2006
Skip Mendler: A community of communities
August 24, 2006
FREDERICA LEIGHTON: Flood reality: vision or the lack of it
August 10, 2006
DICK RISELING: A vision of actions
July 27, 2006
PAT CARULLO AND MARCIA NEHEMIAH: Red plus blue equals green
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Neal Halloran: Greenway: a program whose time has come
June 29, 2006
Steven Sharoff: Strong visions can change the world
June 15, 2006
Heinrich Strauch: Cooking up a vision
June 1, 2006
Jennifer C.S. Brylinski: The IDA keeps to its vision
May 18, 2006
Norma and Bob Santee: Maintaining our environment
May 4, 2006
Don Parry: The “vision thing”
April 20, 2006
Joe Walsh: Keeping farms a mainstay of Sullivan County
April 6, 2006
Heather Brown: Why I came here, and what keeps me here
March 23, 2006
Pat Carullo: We are with the program
March 09, 2006
Helen Budrock: The power of proactive thinking
February 23, 2006
Carol Collier: A basin-wide collaboration
February 9, 2006
Barbara Leo: A birding trail for the Upper Delaware
January 26, 2006
Virginia Kennedy: Our vision—economic and environmental sustainability
January 12, 2006
Tom Zeterburg: At the crossroads of two rivers
December 29, 2005
Sally Corrigan: Hallmarks of a successful community
December 15, 2005
“Better Models for Development” scores a hit - a compilation by Tom Kane and the Visioning Committee
December 1, 2005
Brian Stuart: Protecting an amazing backyard resource
November 17, 2005
John LiGreci: The need for a master plan
November 3, 2005
Tom Kane: The need for intelligent land use practices
October 20, 2005
Michael Chojnicki: The need for intelligent land use practices
October 6, 2005
Alan Schadt: The Town of Highland through a crystal ball
September 22, 2005
Ernie Mattern: Comprehensive Planning in Damascus
September 8, 2005
Jerry DaBrescia: Visioning in Hancock
August 25, 2005
Neal Halloran: Ways to secure open space
August 11, 2005
Clem Fullerton: Flow woes
August 11, 2005
Tom Kane: Options for preserving open space
July 28, 2005
Charlie Buterbaugh: Fishing Days Gone
July 28, 2005
George Fluhr: What's special about this place
June 30, 2005
Tom Kane: There are many visions in the river valley
June 30, 2005
Mary Curtis: My vision for the Upper Delaware River
June 16, 2005
Sarah Sutto-Plunz: It depends on us
June 16, 2005
Green buildings: a healthy revolution in the construction industry
June 2, 2005
Pat Carullo: If horses can fly, rivers can speak!
May 19, 2005
Laurie Stuart: A view from the ridge
April 21, 2005
Rosie Starr: Preserving the Beauty of the Delaware River Valley
April 7, 2005
Robert Burrow: Developing a plan takes study
March 24, 2005
Tom Kane: Comprehensive Plan: The Key to the Future
March 10, 2005
Katharine Dodge: We have a choice: aggressiveness or fairness
February 24, 2005
Editorial: A tide in the affairs of men
February 24, 2005
Jim Greier: Let’s not put our eggs in one basket
February 10, 2005
Elliot Zucker: A voice for private property rights
January 27, 2005
Steve Daley : Visions of business growth and home ownership
January 13, 2005
Laura Quigley : Living and working in the land of plenty
December 30, 2004
Dr. Martin Handler : My list of visions
December 16, 2004
Dr. Bruce Getzan : Bringing harmony to contrasting visions
December 2, 2004
Sally Talaga : Visioning’s first step
November 18, 2004
Michele Ulmer : Be involved before it’s too late
November 4, 2004
Marcia Nehemiah: It's all about the river
October 21, 2004
John Drobysh: Balancing preservation with property rights
October 7, 2004
Jeffrey Moore: Raising the standards in the river valley
September 23, 2004
Dimitri Zaimes: The right and wrong of the Upper Delaware September 9, 2004
Frederica Leighton: Combining hindsight, foresight, present awareness and action
August 26, 2004
Krista Gromalski: Turning the Conversation Up
August 12, 2004
Jo Clearwater: Visioning
July 29, 2004
Noel Van Swol: What about Property Rights?
July 15, 2004
Cindy Wildermuth: A call for stewardship
July 1, 2004
Tom Kane: Taking stock of the visioning process
June 17, 2004
Dick Riseling: Sustainability and justice is at the heart of vision
June 3, 2004
Peter Pinchot: Exurban sprawl or livable communities?