Upstate Secession: Penn State Binghamton

By David Keptsi

Depending on who you ask, the allowance of fracking is either seen as a highly lucrative business venture or a dangerous environmental hazard for townships. While fracking won’t actually make gasoline pour from your sinks as many more naive individuals may believe, there have been numerous studies supporting the fact that it may not be the healthiest natural gas extraction process for local public well-being. 15 towns in upstate New York however, are more interested in the financial aspects of the practice and are highly distraught about New York governor Andrew Cuomo’s fracking ban. These 15 towns in the Broome, Delaware, Sullivan and Tioga counties have decided that they’ve had enough and want to secede to the nearby state of Pennsylvania (which allows fracking). Other than the jobs and increased local revenue generated by fracking, these townships also hope to acquire the lower property tax rates and lower costs for business from Pennsylvania.

This isn’t the first time parts of New York have wanted to secede either, as many Binghamton students may be shocked to find out plans for the secession of Long Island have existed since 1896. Long Island secession isn’t a thing of the past either, as in 2008 representatives from Suffolk and Nassau counties have supported a proposed plan to separate Long Island from the rest of New York and create the 51st state of the United States. If anything the plans for a Long Island secession have gone even farther than those of upstate New York and Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano apparently commissioned a study on the logistics in 2010. Unfortunately for supporters of secession, the upstate towns require the permission of the Pennsylvania, New York and U.S. legislatures to secede while the Long Island movement only needs permission from New York and the U.S.

Historically, state and federal legislatures have rejected secession bills on every occasion so any chance at success is quite a long shot. Despite the implausibility of secession, the existence of the upstate secession movement reveals a somewhat troubling fact. While Andrew Cuomo may not believe in fracking, a sizeable amount of towns do. New York is generally accepted as a blue-democratic state but much of the upstate region leans conservatively. This dichotomy between geographic political preferences shows that the upstate region does have an uncomfortable spot in New York Politics, as their votes and beliefs have a much lower chance at being accounted for in the highly liberal New York.

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