The drama that is the New York State decision process on natural gas development is a Shakespearean tragedy in so many ways, but especially for businesses, landowners and residents of the Southern Tier, for whom all the talk about the SGEIS, regulations and health reviews are but excuses for political inaction which are giving groups such as the NRDC exactly what they want – more delay. Last week, I fielded about 20 questions from media and supporters asking for my analysis of what in the world was happening in New York with the latest delay in the health review that’s supposed to go into the SGEIS. It was anticipated that document would, in turn, create the foundation for new regulations allowing natural gas development to go forward. So what happened, exactly? There are more interpretations of the delay than answers, of course, and everyone on all sides is simultaneously claiming victory and scratching their head. Observers suggest the tumultuous but ultimately indecisive nature of the Cuomo administration maneuvering on this issue resemble nothing so much as a macabre scene of out Hamlet, the Governor being a character in a tragedy of his own making. The real tragedy, though, is this; Empire State politics aside, natural gas development is a matter of economic life and death for the Southern Tier. Governor Cuomo, unfortunately, seems unable to summon the political courage required to meet this challenge. How will it all end? No one knows, least of all Governor Cuomo, apparently, but one thing is clear – Southern Tier residents need to get engaged and start raising serious questions.