The Empire State Divide: What’s at Stake for the American Dream

by Jackie Moreau on January 21, 2012

in Blog, Features

Post image for The Empire State Divide: What’s at Stake for the American Dream

There is general feeling in air that the American Dream is a thing of the past, unattainable due to an economy riddled with stagnation and strangling regulations.  Environmentalists have striven to produce this nightmare in their relentless aim to handicap all industrial progress in this country that might have any element of risk to a “clean” environmental way of life.  They want you to give up the dream.  I am here to share with you that the story of America as the Land of Opportunity is still alive, but is at stake.

The Empire State Divide is a documentary film produced by my mother that uncovers the human tragedy created in Upstate NY by the environmentalist NIMBY movement.   This movement claimed success in the Hudson River Valley, where my mother grew up on our family mushroom farm.  In the 1990s, the green movement dismantled and eradicated the thriving cement plant industry because of the unappealing look of industrial “inconveniences” among the scenic Catskills.  This movement pushed many people whose lifeblood was the cement industry out of the area.  These cement plants were what gave my family its start in America.  My great grandfather found opportunity there when he immigrated to America from Croatia, as did many of the Croatian immigrants who settled near the Catskills. This industry provided a sustainable income for many.  The industry allowed him to work hard and save up enough money to buy his first parcel of land and eventually be one of the 40 established mushroom farms in the area.  He handed the business down to my grandfather, Frank Bulich, who turned the farm into a successful business with the purchase of a new steam-generating technology he found in Pennsylvania.  This new technology is what brought prosperity to my family.  I have personally been able to save money with the opportunity given to me by selling my family’s mushrooms at farmers markets throughout NYS.  My uncles now run Bulich Mushroom Company, the only mushroom farm left standing in NY after the environmental ambush pushed out many farmers who also relied on their cement plant jobs.

Today, a revolution in drilling technology, known as hydraulic fracturing, has made possible the extraction of huge quantities of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale formation beneath New York, but the environmental movement is trying to choke the opportunities that the return of industry would promise to the impoverished.  Unfortunately, the greens have met with success: There is now a ban on hydraulic fracturing in the State.

In the documentary, you will hear the personal stories of hope lost by local property owners and farmers who stand to benefit by leasing their land to gas companies if the moratorium was lifted.  Julie Lewis, a mother of 5 who has 3 jobs, has been attacked on both ends: her taxes doubled due to speculation of shale gas development, but with the ban in place, she cannot tap into the gas reserves.  Her tax payments now exceed her mortgage payments.  Hank Ferris is a farmer who, like most farmers, only hope to pass the opportunity to farm down to the children.  He had to shut down operations due to the poor economy and is now employed by the gas companies, trucking water to Pennsylvania that is used in the process of fracking.

Enter the anti-industry hypocrite: James Northrup, a former profiteer of the Texas oil and gas industry who now tours NY to warn how hydraulic fracturing will not only drive out clean energy, but will also drive out “good people.”  This man who has made his lifestyle secure and comfortable through oil and gas owns a summer home in Cooperstown, NY.  This attitude is the spreading threat to the American Dream that is plaguing small towns all around this country.

The documentary then brings us across the state line to northern Pennsylvania, a state that also shares the Marcellus Shale.  This state has no ban on the new fracking technology and their unemployment rate has been cut in half.  Young men hired to work on the drilling rigs are now able to pay off their college debt at a rapid pace.  Farmers are able to lease their land to gas companies and invest that capital into preserving the “family” in the “family farm.”  This improved technology has provided not only jobs and security, but the resurgence of hope in the American Dream.  The Empire State Divide will officially be released on Monday, January 23, 2012 on The Foundation for Land and Liberty website.

Brown Bess January 22, 2012 at 12:47 am

i encourage you and your mother to visit the Barnett Shale and witness the terrible health effects and environmental destruction fracking has caused over the last decade before endorsing it as a cure-all for your community. BTW – who funded the doc?

Dean Lowry January 22, 2012 at 11:37 am

Brown Bess, I live in Fort Worth and am an avid outdoorsman. Where is all this environmental destruction you speak of? There are over 1,000 Horizontal Wells in the city of Fort Worth alone and they are hardly even noticed. Maybe it’s just that people are so busy working, spending money (much of which is earned from the industry surrounding the Barnett Shale) and enjoying the benefits of one of the countries best economies. Although I don’t believe it is possible to drill in any fashion without at least some minor temporary environmental effect what I find completely sickening is the vast sea of huge windmills spread across portions of West Texas and other parts of our country. Horrible sight and they aren’t even economically feasible. BTW – Who funded “Gasland”?

michael roy January 23, 2012 at 10:27 am

after reading the new york post article on the cornell professor’s paper on hydraulic fracturing that would be the doomsday event (he has been proved wrong many times by many men of education and of the fact that horizontal wells have been fracked for over two decades with no problems! Then the article from the new york times that followed the money for the anti-gas people back to the Park foundation, both articles were submited by investigative reporters to reveal the truth and reveal the source of the bunny kissing tree-huggers that don’t own land and protest for money we should call them gunless mercinaries! I love my farm, but I resent people that impeed my rights! Mike Roy, (veteran 1970-1972)

virtuallyme January 23, 2012 at 5:34 pm

“We do not accept government money and rely solely on private donations”

virtuallyme January 22, 2012 at 11:44 am

there has been no proven correlation between “terrible health effects” and “environmental destruction” anywhere – just NIMBY conjecture designed to intimidate the public. Toured NEPA yesterday where Marcellus development is in full swing. Looked everywhere for this so-called ‘devastation”. All I saw was beautiful countryside and people working. Spoke to many locals throughout the day and they all spoke of gas development in favorable terms. Our rights, our land and our future!

Brendan January 22, 2012 at 1:23 pm

It was produced by “The Foundation for Land and Liberty”-

Vera Scroggins January 22, 2012 at 7:03 pm

sorry, to hear of your economic problems. This is the case all over our country and world. Come to my county of Susquehanna , Pa. and see how beneficial the gas industry is for our residents. It is economically helping a minority percentage , possibly 20% , and the rest are in a recession like you and everyone else.
The negative changes to our environment , landscape, eco-systems, air, water is not worth any benefits.
There are other fuels that we can focus on and the government can subsidize that can bring really clean jobs and energy to our country, and not rip up our planet for fossil fuels that pollute in many ways and endanger us.
People are moving out of this county and State by increasing numbers and our unemployment rate has not been cut in half.
The rents have doubled and more and most can not afford this.
We have many changes and they are not good.
I’ve seen enough brown, black, fizzing water these past three years and smelled the increasing emissions of industrial toxins from the well pads, compressor stations to alarm me. Thankfully, the EPA is now in our county and will be testing the water of residents this week and we will see if the results finally, put to rest the polluting aspects of this industry.

Kate January 23, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Vera, a couple of thoughts…if the gas drilling is financially helping 20% then that is good…much better than the 0% the drilling ban is helping in NY State. Secondly, the government is not only broke, but is debt up to its eyeballs. Subsidizing is not a solution. Maybe you haven’t noticed, but if it needs to be subsidized, it means it is not economically practical, or else private industry would be doing it. I think that is how the government got into so much debt…too many subsidies and too little private industry incentives.

From your comments about the evil of “ripping up the planet for fossil fuels”, can I assume that you have sworn them off? If so…I applaud you and value your opinion. If not, well, please don’t suggest that the fossil fuels are evil, and the government should tax us to pay someone to create a “clean energy” source because it sounds good. Private industry is interested in paying us to do do the same and that is a much better deal…in the end, for 100% of us that depend upon fossil fuels for day to day life.

Jackie January 22, 2012 at 10:09 pm

It it solely funded by my family. The documentary is in memory in my grandfather.

Jackie January 23, 2012 at 1:48 pm

in memory of* my grandfather.

Kate January 23, 2012 at 10:03 am

Miss Bess, since many in the Northeast can’t make it to Texas to witness the “terrible health effects and environmental destruction” could you illuminate us with some honest facts?

Also, has there been any benefit to the drilling of the Barnett Shale? It says it might be the largest onshore gas deposit in the country and they have been drilling it since the nineties. Do you have any facts about how much gas they have retrieved?

Do you yourself use any petroleum products for heating, driving, lawn mowing, electricity, etc.? I ask because I have come to realize that there is always a benefit/risk ratio that we must struggle with in decision making, if we wish to enjoy certain conveniences and luxuries. In studying this ratio in NY, in light of future gas drilling, I have found the benefits to far exceed the costs…but then again, I am a big energy user due to business and life choices. I could understand if you did not use fossil fuels, that the most any cost would be too high and I am wondering if this is true in your case.

I thank you in advance for taking time to respond.

David Kauber January 23, 2012 at 6:57 pm

Try going down to Dimock, Pa, and see for yourself. At last the EPA is going to supply water to people whose homesteads have been made unhealthy, ugly, unsettling.

Fort Worth – Dallas, Texas is another disaster zone to anyone who once had quiet neighborhoods and who enjoyed living in their home. At one time it was safe and enjoyable and healthy to live in the neighborhood; now, not so much.

The corporate take-over of lives has no meaning to people who only value the gilder. You don’t have to be a Christian to know the empty spirit of those who promote and con people into this nasty business.

See the film: GASLAND; also see the video of the business side of this whole scheme by one who is an economist and who lives in Texas: Deborah Rogers. Go to . Mrs. Rogers has the facts, the analysis, humor, anger, tears and she is easy to look at, also. People who are devoid of humanity will not enjoy either GASLAND nor Ms. Rogers…. no surprise there.

Kate January 24, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Sorry that you use Gasland as support for your argument, as it discounts your position. There are errors in Gasland and when Mr. Fox was questioned, he refused to come clean with the truth. In my life experience with sociopaths, I have come to rely upon a priceless rule: If someone lies to you about one thing, you must assume all that they say is a lie.

Kim January 23, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Hi The following information will anwser most of your questions;
A Texan talks about drilling
Vets asses health threats Bamberger_Oswald_NS22_in_pres…
Sceintific American talks about earth quakes, this science magizine has many articles on the topic as does Science and other science magizines…

Kate January 24, 2012 at 2:58 pm

OK, so I watched the Ms. Rogers from Texas talk and checked out the article. Neither source has provided information that would change my mind about gas drilling. Ms. Rogers seems to be concerned that the revenues are not as high as projected, and that there is not the quantity of gas that was predicted, which she should be happy about, if she thinks it is causing pollution where they are drillingand the wells will stop producing. Apparently Texas did their environmental impact survey after the fact. In NY the Department of Conservation has written a 1,400 page report covering just about everything…so that piece of Ms. Roger’s argument is irrelevant. Sounds like Ms. Rogers has some financial and political concerns with regard to shareholders’ profits and lack of export tariffs, which could eventually cause prices of natural gas to rise, despite the abundance that is mined. She could probably give this analysis of most multinational companies of our time, but again, it is a political issue.

The earthquake article states that the earthquakes are not caused by the hydrofracturing, so that’s good.

Thanks for the information. I like to keep an open mind. So far I have found no compelling evidence to change my mind about gas drilling.

Aktony January 25, 2012 at 11:22 pm

Dear Vera Scroggins,
You must be living in a different Susquehanna County than I am. Where I live, not far from Dimock, none of the well pads are emitting smells. The water is as clean and fresh or dirty and turbid as it has always been since before drilling began. Stores are doing the best business they ever have in their history. Young people are getting high-paying jobs with the gas industry and/or getting training for the gas industry at local colleges such as Lackawanna, Keystone, and Penn State. Far from people moving out, people are moving in. Demand for housing is causing rents to rise.

There are drill rigs in all directions within a mile of my house. And, aside from the temporary noise of drilling and the temporary flaring of the wells, the environment has not suffered or sustained any permanent damage or inconvenience that I have been able to detect in the last year. When the drill rigs are removed, quite honestly, you wouldn’t know there are gas wells in place unless you looked for them. And gas company employees whom I’ve met have been courteous and respectful.

I don’t know whether to suggest you see an audiologist, a neurologist or what. But you definitely are not seeing, smelling, or hearing what I and my neighbors are. Wonder whether the toxins of suggestion or the possibility of lucrative litigation against the gas companies have altered your perceptions.

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