I sent one of those standardized anti-fracking emails to NY Assemblyman Joel Miller and got back a response that was.... well, see for yourself. Here I am using my modern powers of social media to spread the news
Standard Email:As a constituent, I urge you to support a ban on fracking in New York. No amount of regulations can adequately protect our air, food and water from this dangerous method of gas drilling. I urge you to stand up for our health, communities and economy by co-sponsoring Assembly Bill 7218.
Thank you for your consideration.
Assemblyman Joel Miller:Dear Constituent,
This is in response to your email regarding fracking. Thank you for taking the time to write and advise me of your views and concerns.
I support low volume, vertical fracking; the kind of fracking that has taken place for over 40 years in New York State. I don’t think that the anti-fracking group has been able to demonstrate any real healthcare problems or environmental violations. When they can’t prove it they simply say the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is lying.
We have the President of the United States and his advisors telling us that fracking is okay and to go ahead with it as fast as possible. We have a Governor who says the same thing and we have a DEC with a 900 page report saying the same thing.
We still have people believing that the world is flat, but the over whelming scientific community knows otherwise. Fracking is safe and only extremists with an ax to grind and an agenda are the ones out there yelling it’s not safe.
If either my staff or I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us at 845-463-1635 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you again for writing.
My response:Assemblyman Miller,
I appreciate you taking the time to tender a response to the probable volumes of emails and calls you received urging you to support a fracking ban. I found your reply not only unsettling but short-sighted and somewhat offensive.
I would first like to address the "extremist" reference you made. It's probably not good policy to send an email out to numbers of your constituents who want to protect the environment calling them extremists, wouldn't you agree? Way to polarize the crowd. I'm not an extremist in any respect--I'm a well-informed college student. If I have an "ax to grind," then so do you, in the sense that you have a particular view on the matter which you'd like to enforce (and which happens to differ from mine). Please don't cast aspersions using uninformed terminology that only ultimately serve to lower confidence in the NY state government and your office.
Similarly--I don't understand what you're implying with "world is flat" reference. Does being against fracking put me on a level with those who refuse to believe common, verified, universally accepted, undeniable knowledge about the earth's shape? Really? This is laughable. The fact of the matter is, officially the jury is still out on fracking. The fact that the President and his advisers recommend it doesn't mean it's correct. You may have a 900 page report saying it's OK--well I have other sources telling me it's not OK. Can you not make the connection in the Midwest--hundreds of new fracking wells in the region, and an unprecedented increase in earthquakes in an area that has no history of seismic activity at all? Connect the dots; or are you waiting for another 900 pages to explain it to you?
I'll be honest--I don't have advanced, or even a lot, of information on fracking. But there's such a thing as information paralysis. I don't need DEC reports or White House advisers opinions to know how I feel on the matter. If citing the documentary "Gaslands" makes me an extremist, then so be it, but the movie makes an extremely compelling point about the very real and horrifying dangers of pumping hundreds of chemicals into the earth and fracturing its crust. It's common sense that if you inject these chemicals in a watershed, of course they would seep into its rivers and lakes and streams.
There are things which are more important than our economy and our GDP and your world of politics. If we continue to mess with the earth, we'll continue to reap what we sow--extreme weather, flooded coastlines, and ecosystems disrupted and destroyed. We'll be the ultimate casualty. It's vital that those in power enlarge their perspective even slightly to see past the short-term demands of unsustainable energies and temporary, small-scale job creation. The system that has nourished us for millions of years is now being decimated by us. Changes must be made soon, and I'm not encouraged by the response I received from your office.