The Musings of A Simple Country Man

By Hobie Morris

(Brookfield, NY) Recently we heard over WCNY in Syracuse an Onondaga Indian elder speaking on a wide variety of topics. I was especially deeply moved, and frightened, when he talked about water.

The elder said that water is life’s most sacred necessity. Water must be carefully and safely used and protected so future generations can be sustained with this sacred necessity for all living things. Indians believe that we have a solemn obligation to never exhaust the incredible bounties of Mother Nature.

The Indian’s wonderful far sightedness about water, as well as many other natural things, is seemingly at great odds with the short sighted natural gas fracking industry that utilizes amazing amounts of chemicalized water in its drilling process; secret concoction of potentially over 300 chemicals.

Chemical water not retained in the ground must be safely disposed of; a scenario of infinite dangers to the unsuspecting public. Deep natural gas drilling is a potentially fatal threat to the aquifer whose water all living things depend on for existence. The fracturing of the substrata also allows deadly explosive methane gas and radon to permeate into the air. Radon is the second major cause of lung cancer.

People seem overly concerned about damage to roads from colossal amounts of heavy truck traffic associated with natural gas drilling. We should be far more concerned with the preservation of pure water and clean air. We simply can’t live without water (or air)!

Lois and I want to congratulate the Brookfield Town Board for recently voting in a one year drilling moratorium. This important decision will allow the town to thoroughly investigate the incredible number of far reaching ramifications.

The Board’s “home work” will be staggering. Its members have an awesome responsibility because what they recommend can impact this community not only today but far into the future.

The Town Board was able to approve this moratorium thanks to a provision in New York State’s “Home Rule” law regarding land use regulations. The majority of participating Brookfielders through the voting of their elected officials can establish for a time a barb wire fence around our township. This is “people power” where it should be on issues that directly impact each one of us.

I have had a lifelong unshakable faith in the collective wisdom, “down to earth” good sense and judgment of the so-called “common man and woman.” People like Lois and myself. I’m continually amazed and encouraged by just how many highly intelligent, articulate and deeply concerned and motivated people live in these beautiful hills.

This is real democracy in action. As legendary social commentator Bill Movers has said “democracy is people, not government.”

“Home Rule” is a strong, formidable castle manned by common people against potentially destructive forces marshalling outside the walls. Many see natural gas drilling as one such serious danger.

Looking into the near future I don’t accept the inevitability of drilling in this township. Under Home Rule, if it’s the collective judgment of the majority that the “cost” is far too prohibitive for this community to bear, a permanent ban on drilling can be voted in by the people.

In the meantime we must continue to be vigilant, informed and united. Only in unity can we stand strong against the forces of division and short sightedness. This community has survived over two centuries of evolutionary change. Our simple way of life must be protected from self-serving interests only interested in profits at the expense of those who love their clean air and water.

Thank you, our Indian Brothers, for reminding us how delicate is the thread of life of which water is the most important of all.

Jobs are for today, water and air are forever!

Hobie Morris is a Brookfield resident and simple country man.


By martha

3 thoughts on “Home Rule: The People’s Last Stand Against Natural Gas Drilling”
  1. This is a wonderful assesment of our concerns about the natural gas drilling. We MUST protect our water and air.

    Miriam Barrows

    The NYS Constitution grants local governments
    fairly broad home rule powers to adopt local laws

    Municipalities have a say in “prohibiting”
    fracking. We can do this by electing officials that are against fracking and who will adopt local laws against it to protect us. If your town Supervisor does not impose a moratorium or ban fracking, then the DEC will have the ultimate power to “regulate” it.

    No one I know would object to a landowner’s right
    to profit from natural gas drilling if it did not
    encroach upon their neighbors’ rights. Right to
    groundwater is a typical common that belongs to
    all of us; usage by hydrofracking will contaminate
    and diminish our fresh water supplies. Eventually
    depletion and contamination by hydrofracking
    operations means depletion for us all.

    “There is no way to undo the harm hydrofracking will cause” – Oren Lyons, Faith keeper

  3. This is great assessment of how, and why we should keep our resources clean, and protected. Thank you for bringing this to the forefront.

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