Upstate New York Interest Groups Are Trying To Form The First New State Since 1959

At least a dozen factions in support of hydraulic fracturing and gun rights are planning a rally on Sunday to organize support for converting upstate New York into an independent state.

At the root of their ire is Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo and his backing of the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013. He also sponsored a resolution last year to order state controllers to ban fracking for natural gas.

“Why secession? Secession is about reclaiming the economic opportunities upstate has lost and restoring the liberties Upstate residents once enjoyed,” Shooters Committee on Public Education, the gun group, said in a statement, adding “Downstate has dominated upstate for decades, and upstate has no future in a state controlled by New York City’s needs and desires.”

The groups selected Bainbridge, N.Y., a community of not more than 1,500 residents approximately 25 miles north of the Pennsylvania boundary, for their two-hour public meeting running from 1 to 3 p.m. ET on Sunday. It is situated in part of the Marcellus shale configuration that contains vast natural gas reserves and extends into New York.

The separation effort is not the first time campaigners have asked to divide the state in two. GOP state Sen. Joseph Robach of Greece, N.Y., tabled bills in 2009 and 2011 to let counties have an opinion vote on the thought of seceding.

The bills have not made past the committee. Long Island policymakers also pitched the thought of a different state for their counties at the beginning of this year.

This time the pro-secession factions are considering two options:

The first is creating a minor New York state administration with a couple of independent regions, upstate to be referred to as New Amsterdam and downstate to maintain the name New York. That would need either governmental approval or a lawful convention.

The second is requiring the legislatures of New York and Pennsylvania to approve the split as well as Congress.

What the factions may not have evaluated is income.

The Center for Governmental Research in Rochester, N.Y., established that upstate New York gains from the tax income sent to Albany from the City of New York and its affluent neighborhoods. Wall Street alone accounts for about 19% of all state income.

Secession has been successfully achieved before, but not for some time.

Maine broke away from Massachusetts in 1820 after inhabitants launched a 35-year crusade for statehood; Vermont broke away from New York in 1777, ultimately becoming a formally recognized state in 1791; and West Virginia became an independent state in 1863 after the rest of Virginia decided to join the Confederacy during the Civil War.

The factions planning Sunday’s occasion include Red Dragon, Deposit Gas Group, Americans for Restoring the Constitution, Shooters Committee on Public Education, Upstate New York Towns Association, New Yorkers United for Kids, NY2A, Oath Keepers, Landowner Advocates of New York, Divide New York State Caucus, Sapbush Road Group, We the People of New York and Tri-County Tea Party.

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