With Election Day right around the corner, the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York has issued its endorsements of candidates seeking office on Tuesday.

Not a whole lot of surprises in their list. The JLC endorsed the seven state senators who voted against a moratorium bill that overwhelmingly passed that house earlier this year, as well as a handful of others running for Assembly, Congress and statewide office that have pledged support for natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

Just a note: I'm only passing this along. I'm not sure if New York Residents Against Drilling or environmental groups are making any endorsements ahead of Tuesday's vote, but if they are I'd be happy to post them here.

The JLC endorsements are as follows:

Sen. Tom Libous, 52nd NYS Senate District
Sen. George Maziarz, 62nd NYS Senate District
Sen. Betty Little, 45th NYS Senate District
Sen. Joseph Griffo, 47th NYS Senate District
Sen. Andrew Lanza, 24th NYS Senate District
Sen. Catherine Young, 57th NYS Senate District
Sen. Darrel Aubertine, 48th NYS Senate District
Clifford Crouch, 107th NYS Assembly District
Gary Finch, 123rd NYS Assembly District
Phil Palmesano--136th NYS Assembly District
Dan Donovan—Attorney General
George Phillips--22nd Congressional Race
Richard Hanna - 24th Congressional Race
Tom Reed-- 29th Congressional Race

Wind farm developer First Wind Holdings has put its IPO on hold after cutting it’s price range by 24%, Reuters reported. Boston-based First Wind, which is funded by private equity firm Madison Dearborn and hedge fund operator D.E. Shaw, originally aimed to raise $300 million from the offering. The company faced skepticism from investors due to a heavy debt load, Reuters reported.

(Reuters) - Wind farm owner and operator First Wind Holdings Inc canceled its IPO after cutting its expected price range by 24 percent and facing investor skepticism about its balance sheet and wind industry financing.

The company, which had planned to raise $300 million in its IPO but cut that figure back to $228 million on Wednesday, has been posting losses and had outstanding debt of more than half a billion dollars as of Sept 30. It had hoped to list on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “WIND”.

Some U.S. government financing — of which First Wind has received hundreds of millions of dollars — could be suspended at the end of the year. Analysts have also warned that weak electricity prices could be too low to secure private financing.

(Click to read the entire article)

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Five Republican state senators have written to their caucus leader, asking him to revive the stalled negotiations over imposing a new tax on natural gas extraction that Gov. Ed Rendell has said were killed by their party.

The five southeastern Pennsylvania lawmakers wrote to Senate President Joe Scarnati late last week, urging him to work toward enacting a tax on the state's booming Marcellus Shale gas exploration before this year's legislative session ends.

They disagreed with the Democratic governor's claim that Republicans have not bargained in good faith, but said the state cannot miss the chance to establish a reliable source of tax revenue.

"We also believe that any agreed-to legislation should include a regulatory scheme that will provide enhanced environmental and safety protections to prevent damage to our environment while ensuring that we have a sustainable natural gas industry," they wrote.

(Click to read the entire article)

Anti-gas drilling "terrorists" to show film Sunday

Jeff and Jodi Andrysick had saved up $10,000 to try to get their dream of a multi-vendor farmers' market up and running. But after a natural gas giant chose their town, Pulteney, near Keuka Lake, as the first place in New York to try storing hydraulic fracturing flowback fluid, the Andrysicks put their dream on hold and used the money to fund an anti-gas drilling documentary: "All Fracked Up."

In January, Pulteney residents learned that Chesapeake Energy had submitted paperwork with state and federal agencies seeking to convert a defunct traditional natural gas well in the town into a disposal facility for wastewater from natural gas drilling using horizontal hydro-fracturing in Pennsylvania.

Jeff Andrysick said when they learned about the plans, they spent $1,200 to take out half-page ads in the newspaper and to mail letters to their neighbors -- including the many lakefront cottage owners who only live in Pulteney part-time.

(Click to read the entire article)

ALBANY -- Environmental groups, unions and lawmakers on Friday publicly condemned Gov. David Paterson's decision to abruptly fire state Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner Pete Grannis.

Grannis' termination on Thursday came shortly after an internal DEC memo was leaked to the media this week that bashed Paterson's proposed layoffs at the agency.

The agency is slated for 209 layoffs this year. If the layoffs go through, it will have lost 23 percent of its work force since 2007, the memo said.

"We find it abhorrent that the governor and his staff fired our commissioner without a hint or an elementary consideration of due process, which is a strong principle of the labor movement and the American judicial system," said Wayne Bayer, who sits on the executive board of the Public Employees Federation union.

(Click to read the entire article)

DEC chief fired after memo on jobs

ALBANY -- Pete Grannis, state Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner, was fired effective immediately Thursday in the wake of an agency memo that was critical of layoffs planned at the agency.

Jessica Bassett, a spokeswoman for Gov. David Paterson, confirmed the firing of Grannis, a former state assemblyman from Manhattan who has led the agency since 2007.

She declined further comment.In a telephone interview Thursday night with the Gannett Albany Bureau, Grannis said he was contacted Wednesday by Paterson's top deputy, Lawrence Schwartz, and was asked for his resignation because the memo became public.

But Grannis said he decided Thursday that he would not resign and said he didn't release the memo to the media, which reported on its details this week. He was then fired.

(Click to read the entire article)

The DEC Dithers

State regulators are still pondering whether to require a formal environmental impact statement for a year-old plan to store liquid propane and butane in the salt caverns north of Watkins Glen. In his latest column on natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale, Burdett journalist Peter Mantius looks into the regulatory delay.

A full year after a Kansas City-based company announced plans to store millions of gallons of liquid propane and butane in the salt caverns just north of Watkins Glen, state regulators still haven’t decided whether to order an environmental impact statement for the project.

Their hesitation is puzzling.

After all, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has been conducting formal environmental impact statements this year for a subdivision in Genesee, a waste disposal facility in Varick, a church mega-complex in Brighton, a quarry, a technology park and a couple of wind power projects. This list goes on.

So what’s taking DEC officials so long to order an EIS for the ambitious $191-million project proposed at the old US Salt plant?

(Click to read the entire article)

"We need to do a better job of transmission. We need to get the power from upstate New York, from Western New York, low-cost power from Canada down to the metropolitan area of New York City. That's basically a challenge of transmission lines." - Andrew Cuomo, Hofstra/Newsday Gubernatorial Debate, October 18, 2010.

Andrew Cuomo is dead wrong on the issue of using upstate New York as a thoroughfare to transmit power to New York City. The residents of upstate recently fought and won a three year battle against New York Regional Interconnect's (NYRI) $2.1 billion plan to construct dangerous transmission lines that will destroy the environment, harm the local economy and potentially cause health and safety risks. (http://www.evesun.com/news/stories/2009-04-06/6667/NYRI-pulls-the-plug-on-powerline-project/)

Andrew Cuomo wants to breathe life back into the dead NYRI proposal and will surely support other similar plans to mar the beautiful upstate scenery with massive transmission towers. He also made it clear last night that he'll likely support further theft of upstate power allotments just to feed the lights of Manhattan. Andrew Cuomo's comment proves that he has no knowledge or respect for the values of upstate New Yorkers and will cater to the special interest and New York City power base.

Andrew Cuomo didn't misspeak. Twice. This is why he won't come out of his hole to speak to the voters in an unfiltered, uncontrolled format - because he doesn't understand the issues and he makes serious mistakes.

If Monday's gubernatorial debate is any indication, natural gas development and hydraulic fracturing in New York should be one of the major issues confronting the state's next top executive.

All seven candidates for the office addressed the issue at the debate at Hofstra University on Long Island, prompting a wide variety of positions that ranged from banning hydrofracking entirely to drill, baby, drill.

"It was obvious to anybody watching that natural gas drilling and shale drilling is going to be one of the premiere issues that the next governor takes on," said Katherine Nadaeu, water and natural resources program director for Environmental Advocates of New York.

Republican candidate Carl Paladino repeated his call for immediate natural gas drilling outside of the New York City watershed, while Democratic candidate Andrew Cuomo said he would be supportive of drilling as long as hydrofracking -- a drilling technique -- is proven safe first.

(Click to read the entire article)

In 30 years of appraising, studying and consulting on all types of real estate and development projects, I have never seen the effects, impacts and reactions of the magnitude or severity that turbine neighbors and their property rights are subjected to. Short of a nuclear reactor meltdown (e.g., Chernobyl), nothing has caused so many people to experience the physical and health-driven need to relocate. It is amazing that industry and government both are doing absolutely nothing to address this trend, and correct it before it is too late for even more residents.

If this continues unchecked, I predict a series of rural “ghettos”—of abandoned, unmaintained homes, and an economically disadvantaged class of people finding these devalued homes to be the only place they can afford. Great places to hide illegal operations—few neighbors, cheap structures and the ability to vacate in a hurry if the heat gets turned up—much like the old buildings in poor neighborhoods in the cities. Who else is going to want them?

Wind companies should be required to offer buy-outs at market value (pre-project value) within 2 miles of projects, and certainly within the massive footprints. In this manner they can prove they are not destroying value by reselling for the same price. However, in each instance I know of when a wind developer did indeed buy and resell a neighboring home, they re-sold for 60% to 80% below their purchase price.

Contrary to some popular opinion, Marcellus Shale gas drilling isn't inevitable in New York state.

That's the message of Residents Opposed to Unsafe Shale-gas Extraction (ROUSE), an organization started last spring to connect neighbors and landowners in Tompkins County who don't want to lease their land to gas drilling companies, fearing over-industrialization and pollution of the county.

If the state allows hydraulic fracturing for Marcellus gas to proceed and landowners sign leases, Bill Podulka, an organizer of the group and a landowner in the Town of Caroline, imagines Tompkins County becoming a place where farms are replaced by parking lots filled with tractor-trailers, where gas wells dot the landscape, and where drilling accidents spoil underground aquifers, ruining the wells of rural residents.

Podulka said he and other members of ROUSE are attempting to educate the "silent majority" of residents that drilling is not a foregone conclusion.

(Click to read to entire article)

Based on the report of over 1400 contamination complaints from approximately 1000 horizontal hydrofracking wells for natural gas in Pennsylvania, the Keuka Lake Association (KLA) has requested the New York Governor’s Office and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to ban all horizontal hydrofracking for natural gas in the Keuka and Finger Lakes watersheds.

A statement released by the KLA recently spells out the conditions that need to be met before the process could be considered for the Finger Lakes watersheds:

1. The causes of these complaints are scientifically understood and remedies are both developed and required.

2. The requirement for all flowback waste from hydrofracking is rendered safe for surface discharge by a licensed and certified waste treatment facility.

(Click to read the entire article)

A preliminary study by researchers with the Academy of Natural Sciences asserts that rivers and streams could be at risk of pollution because of a boom in drilling on the Marcellus Shale natural gas formation, even without spills or accidents.

Researchers at the academy, the nation's oldest natural-science research center and a leading expert in stream biology, compared watersheds where there was little or no drilling to those watersheds where there was drilling and found significant changes, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Tuesday.

The study has not been peer-reviewed or published in any scientific journal.

The study found that water conductivity, a barometer of contamination by salts that are found in drilling wastewater, was nearly twice as high in streams nearby high-density drilling.

(Click to read the entire article)

New York State Electric & Gas has announced a program that will provide retroactive rebates for consumers who have purchased a high-efficiency natural gas heating system between April 1st and October 1st of 2010. Consumers who enroll in the program will receive up to $340 depending on the efficiency rating of the unit. Bob Auchinachie, President of Auchinachie Plumbing, Heating and Air-Conditioning, a Binghamton area business says the rebates are a sort of reward for consumers who made the effort to make their homes more energy efficient. “It’s a great program that creates an incentive for people to buy better, more efficient equipment that will ultimately save them energy costs down the road. We’re letting our eligible customers know about the rebates--we’re even processing their information to get their checks to them”.

In addition to the retroactive rebates, NYSEG has announced a similar program for customers who purchase high-efficiency heating equipment in the near future. The program began on October 1st, 2010 and funds available for the program will be limited. The program will end when the funds are expended.

Participating in the debates, sponsored by the League of Women Voters and this newspaper, were Tompkins County Legislator Pam Mackesey and Assemblyman Tom O'Mara, R-137th District, who are running to fill the 53rd State Senate District seat, and other Tompkins County-area candidates.

On the issue of hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale, Mackesey said the security of other state industries, such as food production, tourism and education, must be safeguarded against any negative effects, and she supports a moratorium on drilling.

O'Mara said he shares concerns about the importance of protecting the environment against negative effects.

"This is one of the biggest issues we're facing right now," O'Mara said.

"I'm a supporter of hopefully moving forward with the gas industry in New York state. It's a huge economic concern. I do share the concerns with moving forward cautiously, with concern for the environment, but it must be based on the science. This cannot continue to be a political football thrown back and forth."

Spanish electricity company Iberdrola SA (IBE.MC) will make renewable energy investments in the U.S. until 2012 as planned, provided there are "positive changes" in U.S. renewable energy legislation, Chairman Ignacio Galan said Tuesday.

"If there are positive changes, we'll continue at the same rhythm (of investments), if there aren't positive changes, we won't do that," Galan told Dow Jones Newswires after an energy event.

A comprehensive climate change and energy bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year, but died in the Senate. Subsequently, a bill introduced by several U.S. senators last month aims to establish mandatory percentages of renewable electricity generation as part of utilities' overall power output, but it is still unclear whether the bill will pass.

Iberdrola's hints at possibly cutting its U.S. investments in the absence of policies to foster renewables come after other top renewable energy investors have already announced cuts.

(Click to read the entire article)

BINGHAMTON -- For the second time in as many months, The Forum will play host to a lengthy public hearing related to the ongoing natural gas drilling debate

This time, the topic at hand will be whether Broome County should lead a state-mandated environmental review if the county decides to sign a mineral rights lease deal, as it is currently considering.

The hearing will take place on Oct. 14, and will be comprised of two sessions: 2 to 4 p.m. and 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Signing a lease for county land is subject to the State Environmental Quality Review Act, which determines whether or not an action would have a significant environmental impact. An involved entity must lead and fund the SEQRA process, and the County Legislature will consider a resolution that would declare itself the lead agency.

(Click to read the entire article)

Actor Mark Ruffalo, Upstate neighbor and friend will be on the Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC Monday October 4th at 9PM. Mark has been our voice, getting out the critical message about the dangers of Hydrofracking for Natural Gas and it's threat to our precious farmland, and the threat it can pose to the drinking water of 15 million people, who depend on the Watershed for their supply.

Mark will bring to light the plight of our Family farms and how this correlates to the Gas drilling nightmare that threatens us all.

Please pass this on to all your friends and family. The Gas industry with their $$$$ and their hold on many of our legislators has kept their practice of poisoning water supplies under the radar for a long time.

More than the drinking water has become poisonous in Susquehanna County.

In a sharp rebuke of one of the state's biggest Marcellus Shale gas drillers, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection on Thursday ordered an $11.8 million pipeline built to deliver water to 18 rural residences in Dimock Township whose household wells are contaminated by natural gas.

In response, Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., the Texas driller whose wells the state blames for the pollution, denounced the decision as "unfounded, irrational, and capricious" and accused DEP Secretary John Hanger of "obvious political pandering."

The atmosphere in Susquehanna County, which borders New York state north of Scranton, has become so polarized that Cabot crews now travel with uniformed escorts after an enraged Dimock resident drew a handgun on an employee.

(Click to read the entire article)

The MSC’s “Commitment to the Community” Guiding Principles are as follows:
-- We, the members of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, embrace and operate by the following guiding principles:
-- We provide the safest possible workplace for our employees, with our contractors, and in the communities in which we operate;
-- We implement state-of-the-art environmental protection across our operations;
-- We continuously improve our practices and seek transparency in our operations;
-- We strive to attract and retain a talented and engaged local workforce;
-- We are committed to being responsible members of the communities in which we work;
-- We encourage spirited public dialogue and fact-based education about responsible shale gas development; and
-- We conduct our business in a manner that will provide sustainable and broad-based economic and energy-security benefits for all.
-- We recognize that to succeed in business, we not only embrace these principles, we live by them each and every day. This will be our legacy.

(Click to read the entire article)

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