The plan is broken into 14 proposals that each fall under the umbrella of five strategies developed by the council, focusing on health care, renewable energy, rural economics, infrastructure and transportation.

» The Community Revitalization Project, a $60 million investment in 60 to 75 major community revitalization efforts that would create 4,500 jobs and 35 to 40 businesses.

» A Rural Initiative Venture Fund that would create 2,000 jobs through a $10 million investment in diversifying, improving and expanding the region's agribusiness industry.

» The Next Generation Transportation Development Initiative, a $14 million investment aimed at establishing the Southern Tier as a bedroom community for New York City with a high-speed inter-city transportation project.

» A three-year, $7 million regional broadband project that would connect 26,000 rural homes and businesses to enhanced Internet service.

» A $5 million investment in renewable energy that would retrofit 145,000 buildings and create 4,500 jobs.

(Click to read the entire article)

In 2009 Google announced a project in which it would pursue a so-far elusive goal – to produce “Renewable Energy Cheaper Than Coal” (“REto ingratiate themselves with the Obama administration by following its “Green jobs” agenda.

But last week the company announced it will end RE

“We’re in the process of shutting a number of products which haven’t had the impact we’d hoped for,” wrote Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President of Operations, on the company’s blog.

Under RE, Google dedicated an engineering team to research and try to improve solar technology. Upon its 2009 announcement the company’s Green Energy Czar Bill Weihl told Reuters he expected “within a few years” that his people would be able to demonstrate technology that produces renewable energy cheaper than coal.

(Click to read the entire article)

A Hydrofracking Forum Monday night in Honeoye Falls will add artwork to the debate about the environmental impacts of hydrofracking.

The event, at 7 p.m. at the Rabbit Room, 61 North Main St., Honeoye Falls, in the historic Lower Mill, is free and open to the public. Artwork on display will include landscape-based paintings of hydrofracked sites by South Lima artist Gloria Betlem, wood cuts of endangered and invasive species by Ithaca artist Jenny Pope, and a quilt depicting a hydrofracking well penetrating layers of earth by Mary Louise Gerek, a member of Rochester Area Fiber Artists.

According to Allison DeMarco, the meeting’s organizer, the intent of the informational forum is to bring together people from Ontario, Livingston and Monroe Counties to explore ways the three counties can work together to help shape regulations covering hydrofracking in the region. Honeoye Falls is located in Monroe County, near the borders of both Livingston and Ontario counties.

National Grid, the British power conglomerate that owns the power system in parts of New York, was expected to receive a forceful call today from U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer.

Schumer, D-N.Y., speaking this morning at a dairy farm in Covington, Wyoming County, told a gathering of farmers and local officials that he will demand National Grid live up to its commitment to connect its power grid to a manure-powered generator at the Synergy Dairy by the end of the year.

Schumer got involved because the energy project must start producing electricity by Dec. 31 to qualify for $2.8 million in federal energy tax breaks.

National Grid agreed more than a year ago to connect power lines to the manure- and food-waste-digesting generator, Schumer said, but hasn’t done it and now says it cannot do the work until March.

(Click to read the entire article)

The Obama administration controls the tie-breaking vote on a plan to begin drilling for natural gas in the Northeast, shining a spotlight on its efforts to find a middle ground on the use of hydraulic fracturing to tap deep shale rock formations for energy.

Some local environmental groups are comparing the proposal, and their efforts to block it, to the debate over the Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring crude to the United States from Canada's oil sands region. Green groups claimed a big victory earlier this month when the administration delayed a decision on that project.

The administration is holding its cards close to the vest on the drilling proposal before the Delaware River Basin Commission. The obscure but important agency has authority over development in a watershed that includes parts of four states and supplies drinking water to 5 percent of the country's population, including Philadelphia and New York City.

Late last week, the commission called off a vote that had been planned for today on whether to approve regulations and allow drilling to start.

(Click to read the entire article)

Hydrofracking is a simple technology that has opened a vast natural gas resource for development.

New York's anti-hydrofracking crowd would have us believe that this technology will ruin our water supplies. The pro-fracking side tells us that it's safe, and will boost our economy. Each side is partially correct. So why is hydrofracking so controversial?

New York state already has thousands of natural gas wells, and nearly all of them have been hydrofracked. As far back as the 1960s New York's drillers would "frack" new gas wells by injecting a mixture of water under extreme pressure to fracture the rock, sand grains to prop the new fractures open, lubricants such as diesel fuel to make the water flow more easily, and toxic chemicals to prevent microbial growth.

Without hydrofracking the natural gas would stay embedded in the shale and not flow into the wells.

New York's gas resource will be developed: It's just too big to ignore. With gas prices low we lose nothing by going slow and making sure we have all the regulations and oversight in place.

(Click to read the entire article)

Key gas drilling vote canceled by DRBC

A multistate agency that has spent years developing regulations for natural gas drilling in the Delaware River watershed abruptly canceled a key vote scheduled for Monday after two members announced their opposition.

The Delaware River Basin Commission said Friday it was postponing a vote on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to give the agency’s five commissioners more time to review the draft regulations.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett said the commissioners failed to agree.

The DRBC said no new date had been set.

“Pennsylvania is ready to move forward now,” Corbett said in a statement released Friday. “We have demonstrated a willingness to compromise and to address issues brought forth by other members of the commission. We have worked with our commission partners in good faith, and it is disappointing to not have these efforts reciprocated.”

But New York’s Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, said an environmental risk-assessment is needed to win public confidence and ensure that the commission’s actions are based on science.

(Click to read the entire article)

Finger Lakes, N.Y. — Attorney General Eric Schneiderman Friday issued the following statement regarding a decision by the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) to postpone a scheduled vote on its proposed draft hydrofracking regulations.

“This delay further demonstrates that the proposed regulations for fracking in the Delaware River Basin are not ready to see the light of day. Without a full, fair and open review of the potential risks of fracking in the Basin, the public will continue to question the federal government’s ability to protect public health and environment.

“I also commend Delaware Governor Markell for stating that Delaware would vote 'no' on the current regulations. His position echoes my long-standing position: the federal government must follow both common sense and the law, and conduct a full study of fracking in the Basin before proceeding with regulations.”


On this issue, no one sits on the fence.

With hundreds of people filling Dansville for an afternoon session and hundreds more piling in for the evening public hearing, New York residents came with strong arguments both for an against hydrofracking, but nothing in between.

The public hearing was a chance for the Department of Environmental Conservation to hear public comment on its regulations on high volume hydraulic fracturing within the state’s borders, something that could become a reality without much more of a wait.

During the afternoon session, 64 people were able to get their opinions out to the audience and DEC officials. It is estimated that 800 - 900 people came through the former school to attend, some 160 in hopes of speaking. The evening session brought more people, all limited to three minutes of commenting time each.

(Click to read the entire article)

BINGHAMTON -- It was the perfect setting for the Southern Tier's longest-running drama.

In Binghamton's downtown Forum theater Thursday, two hopelessly divided sides took center stage in a region at the crux of New York's natural gas drilling debate.

And, predictably, voices were raised and fingers were wiggled when the estimated 1,050 people began voicing their opinions on the state Department of Environmental Conservation's proposed regulations for hydraulic fracturing.

This was the second of four hearings DEC will hold this month to take public comments on its proposed regulations. After the close of the public comment period Dec. 12, the agency is expected to consider relevant feedback as it creates the final draft of the regulations before issuing permits to drill wells as soon as sometime next year.

(Click to read the entire article)

The casualties of wind development

After six years of fighting wind development, I‘m looking at the absentee voter numbers and results for the Cape Vincent elections. I wonder if it will ever dawn on the wind proponents and former wind-conflicted town officials who became wind developer pawns and casualties as to what wind actually brought to them. It angered a community so deeply, locals and seasonals, that decades of entrenched town government was overturned.

To wind proponents, here is the gift wind brought you sealed in the belly of the Trojan horse you let through the gates: a longtime supervisor overturned, the Planning Board chairman and three Planning Board members gone, three councilmen removed or resigned, a long-time town justice removed, a local wind-conflicted state senator removed, and worst, a town socially torn apart. All brought to you courtesy of your clean, green wind energy. Make sure you send BP and Acciona a thank-you card.

When Cape wind proponents drank the Kool-Aid, they opened the gates wide for the real monster. They never grasped the frightening reality of who the real enemy was. Wind developers always stay above the fray. And like Teflon, they let all the public dirt and social upheaval that rips apart wind towns slide right off onto their real victims — the leaseholders and conflicted town officials. They engineered the destruction of a long-established town government.

(Click to read the entire article)

About 100 people are listening to impassioned arguments about natural gas drilling at a hearing in Binghamton, the epicenter of expected development in New York of the Marcellus Shale formation.

Local officials and residents are making three-minute statements about hydraulic fracturing. Some are calling on the Department of Environmental Conservation to lift its three-year moratorium. Others are urging more study of health impacts.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves injecting millions of gallons of chemical-laced water into a gas well to free gas from dense shale a mile underground.

Opponents say it poses environmental hazards, while supporters say fracking will bring thousands of jobs to upstate New York.

The first hearing, held Wednesday, drew hundreds of people to Dansville, in Livingston County south of Rochester.

Passions run deep for and against the natural gas drilling method called hydrofracking, or high volume hydraulic fracturing. Those sentiments were evident during Wednesday’s public hearings on fracking in Dansville, Livingston County, before the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

The hearings were held in the recently shuttered Dansville Middle School — a site that Tom Shepstone, campaign director for Energy in Depth, Northeast Marcellus Initiative, said was indicative of New York's need for economic benefits of hydrofracking. In the struggling state, he said, "there's no growth, no construction."

A few of the observations, from participants speaking during the afternoon hearing and citizens rallying outside the school:

“The issue is not just about the potential environmental and health costs to individuals and this state, but the threat to clean, safe drinking water — which is life itself.” — Sandra Frankel, Brighton town supervisor.

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Fracking sparks earthquake concerns

In early 2001, people living in northern Steuben County experienced something that many of them had never felt before — a series of earthquakes, the largest of which was more powerful than any naturally occurring tremor in New York in a decade.

Damage was minimal but nerves were jangled. Because the epicenters were in an area not known to be quake-prone, officials looked for an explanation. They found one that might seem improbable.

The earthquakes were man-made, New York officials suspected — the result of test injections of millions of gallons of water into two-mile-deep disposal wells built as part of a controversial natural-gas storage operation being developed in the town of Avoca.

State officials ordered a halt to the well tests. The elaborate gas storage facility was never finished and the site eventually abandoned. The incident, which largely went unnoticed outside of Avoca and neighboring Cohocton, has been given fresh currency today because of the growing controversy in New York and nationwide over the natural-gas drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing.

(Click to read the entire article)

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation holds a public hearing on the draft regulations for the highvolume hydraulic fracturing of natural gas drilling Wednesday in Dansville.

It is one of four public hearings on the revised draft environmental impact statement, draft regulations and proposed State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) General Permit (GP) for Stormwater Discharges associated with high-volume hydraulic fracturing, which involves injecting water and chemicals into rock to release gas.

The Dansville hearing includes afternoon and evening sessions, from 1 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. at Dansville Middle School auditorium, 31 Clara Barton St., Dansville

Comments will be accepted in written and oral format at the hearings. Once the comment period ends, Dec. 12, the DEC will review the comments and prepare responses to be released with the final environmental impact statement and final regulations. No permits for high-volume hydraulic fracturing will be issued until the impact statement is finalized and the DEC issues the required Findings Statement. Comments can be submitted online. They may be mailed to: Attn:dSGEIS Comments, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-6510.

With New York poised to begin public hearings on proposed gas drilling rules, the industry says the regulations would be so restrictive that drillers would avoid the state, while environmental groups call the rules too lax.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is holding the first of four public hearings on Wednesday in the Finger Lakes village of Dansville. People hoping for a three-minute slot to comment on the agency's proposed guidelines are expected to line up hours before the 1 p.m. hearing at the middle school.

The state has refused to issue permits for drilling in the lucrative Marcellus Shale formation since 2008, when it began its review of the high-volume hydraulic fracturing process used to blast wells into production. Opponents fear it will contaminate water supplies.

he 3½-year debate over drilling for natural gas in New York is about to hit the stage.

Officials in Dansville and Binghamton are preparing for large, emotional crowds this week as the Department of Environmental Conservation travels the state to solicit input on its proposed rules for hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus and Utica Shale.

Anywhere from several dozen to a few hundred people from all parts of the state and all sides of the debate are expected to attend, with those hoping to secure a coveted three-minute speaking slot expected to line up at the doors well before they're open.

"There are groups and individuals from all across this state that are gearing up and getting ready to come out and tell the DEC what they think of its draft plan," said Katherine Nadeau, a program director for Environmental Advocates of New York.

Hearings will be Wednesday at the Dansville Middle School auditorium and Thursday at The Forum Theatre in Binghamton, with ones in Sullivan County and New York City to follow later in the month.

(Click to read the entire article)

(NOTE: Among the 15—Hawaii’s Kahuku Wind Power project owned by a shell company controlled by Mafia-connected First Wind. First Wind’s shell company received a $117M ‘loan’ from the US Treasury.)

The government support — which includes loan guarantees, cash grants and contracts that require electric customers to pay higher rates — largely eliminated the risk to the private investors and almost guaranteed them large profits for years to come. The beneficiaries include financial firms like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, conglomerates like General Electric, utilities like Exelon and NRG — even Google.

Concerns that the government was being too generous reached all the way to President Obama. In an October 2010 memo prepared for the president, Lawrence H. Summers, then his top economic adviser; Carol M. Browner, then his adviser on energy matters; and Ronald A. Klain, then the vice president’s chief of staff, expressed discomfort with the “double dipping” that was starting to take place. They said investors had little “skin in the game.”

(Click to read the entire article)

Landslide elections here and in the neighboring town of Caroline Nov. 8 put to rest any doubts that hydrofracking opponents have the upper hand politically in this Finger Lakes community.

But those lopsided victories will ring hollow unless the Town of Dryden prevails in court against Anschutz Exploration Corp.

In August, the Dryden town board banned oil and gas exploration and development within its borders, where the Colorado company has spent $5.1 million leasing and developing 22,000 acres. Local residents were split on the wisdom and validity of the ban, and it became the central issue in fall political campaigns.

On the Friday before pro-ban Democrats swept the elections, lawyers for Anschutz asserted to Tompkins County Supreme Court Justice Phillip R. Rumsey in Ithaca that Dryden lacked the legal authority to ban local oil and gas exploration and development. Thomas West, an Albany attorney representing Anschutz, argued that the 1981 state law assigning regulatory authority over such activities to the state Department of Environmental Conservation supersedes all local laws, including zoning ordinances.

(Click to read the entire article)

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation issued its draft regulations for high-volume hydraulic fracturing which are based on the proposed requirements contained in the agency’s revised draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement.

A public hearing has been scheduled 1-4 and 6-9 p.m. Nov. 16 in the Dansville Middle School auditorium.

“Public review of the proposed requirements and regulations governing high-volume hydraulic fracturing is an important part of the environmental impact statement process,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said. “The comments from the 2009 public comment period proved insightful and helped inform the revised SGEIS. We look forward to continuing to hear from commentors in person and in writing over the next few months.”

The draft regulations create a legal framework for implementing the proposed mitigation measures in the revised dSGEIS. The public comment period on the draft regulations runs concurrently with the public comment period on the dSGEIS, which ends Dec. 12. DEC also released the proposed State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System General Permit for Stormwater Discharges associated with high-volume hydraulic fracturing.

DEC will host four public hearings on the revised draft SGEIS, draft regulations and proposed SPDES GP. Each public hearing will have a 1-4 p.m. afternoon session and a 6-9 p.m. evening session. Comments will be accepted in written and oral format at the hearings.

The hearings will be:

◦Nov. 16: Dansville Middle School Auditorium, 31 Clara Barton St., Dansville, NY 14437
◦Nov. 17: The Forum Theatre, 236 Washington Street, Binghamton, NY, 13901
◦Nov. 29: Sullivan County Community College, Seelig Theatre, 112 College Rd, Loch Sheldrake, NY 12759
◦Nov. 30: Tribeca Performing Arts Center, 199 Chambers Street, New York, NY, 10007

Read the entire article

A new coalition of New York business groups, landowners and construction companies is weighing in on the controversy over hydraulic fracturing of gas wells in the Marcellus Shale formation.

Clean Growth Now says it's a grass-roots group that hopes to strike a middle ground for safe, responsible drilling in the Southern Tier.

The group says it will be a moderate voice between the gas industry and environmentalists who oppose "hydrofracking."

The group's leaders say Thursday they fear the polarization could lead to the upstate economy missing out on the boom they see in northern Pennsylvania.

The group of 16 organizations includes the Associated Builders and Contractors, the state Business Council and the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce.


Lowell Mountain Occupation #2

Many people in Sidney, N.Y., were outraged when the town board voted unanimously to provide a 50-year franchise to Leatherstocking Gas Co. for a natural gas pipeline at a meeting last month. Dozens shouted “Postpone the vote!” as they protested the town board’s vote in favor of the franchise. Their fear: that it will open the door to the controversial natural gas drilling technique known as fracking.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a hot topic in upstate New York these days, where the gas drilling debate has moved to the local level.

Across the region, town boards are debating its merits and some are deciding to use zoning to ban fracking locally. And as the debate heats up, it is pitting neighbor against neighbor: landowners who want gas leases against environmentalists and others who fear fracking.

This drilling technique, of shooting water, sand and chemicals into rock to extract natural gas, requires millions of gallons of chemically treated water when it is used on deep horizontal wells.

(Click to read the entire article)

No need to rush into hydrofracking

We need fresh water to live. Only 1 percent of the world’s water is potable and safe for use. Two of the world’s biggest sources of potable fresh water are the Great Lakes and the Finger Lakes. So why would we want to risk polluting these vital sources with toxic chemicals used in hydrofracking?

Water is clearly more valuable to our survival than natural gas. There is no adequate way to process the toxic waste for hydrofracking in New York State. The air pollution from the hauling, the damage to roads, the cost of trucking the toxic waste out of state would be enormous.

Recent economic studies have shown that the costs of hydrofracking are egregious for taxpayers. We should not rush into hydrofracking; we should wait until a safe, responsible method for gas extraction is discovered and peer reviewed by scientists, biologists, economists and environmental specialists.

We might feel desperate enough to believe that hydrofracking will bring jobs. However, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an advisor to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s hydrofracking panel, stated an Oct. 11 article, The Fracking Industry’s War On The New York Times — And The Truth, “Gas fracking flacks routinely make extravagant promises about bringing jobs and income to the depressed rural communities. If those jobs and royalties don’t come — the way they have not come for people in Bradford County, Pa. — New Yorkers will be justifiably angry, as they wonder why the government and our panel did not protect them when there were so many warning signs.”

(Click to read the entire article)

The Assembly's minority leader is pushing for a "buffer zone" around each of the Finger Lakes that would prevent natural-gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing within 4,000 feet of the lakes.

Assemblyman Brian Kolb, R-Canandaigua, asked for the setback in formal comments he submitted late last month to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, saying its current proposed hydrofracking regulations offer "no substantive protection to these environmentally sensitive bodies of water.

"This serious omission is correctable through a minimum 4,000-foot buffer zone for each of the 10 unprotected Finger Lakes," Kolb wrote.

Kolb's proposal would impact all but one of the Finger Lakes. Skaneateles Lake is part of the Syracuse watershed, where the DEC has already proposed banning surface drilling within 4,000 feet of its edge.

On Thursday, Kolb said he was supportive of allowing the controversial hydrofracking technique in New York, in part because of the expected economic windfall it would bring to fiscally troubled communities above the gas-rich Marcellus Shale formation.
He said he was concerned, however, about protecting the Finger Lakes and ensuring local governments weren't on the hook for any damage the industry would bring to roads and infrastructure.

(Click to read the entire article)

The only company in Britain using hydraulic fracturing to release natural gas from shale rock said Wednesday that the controversial technique probably did trigger earth tremors in April and May.

But a report commissioned by Cuadrilla Resources, which is drilling for gas in the area outside the northwestern English coastal resort town of Blackpool, cautioned that the tremors, measuring 1.9 and 2.8 on the Richter scale - were due to an unusual combination of geology and operations and were unlikely to happen again.

Cuadrilla is the only company currently extracting shale gas using hydraulic fracturing - a controversial technique by which a mix of water, sand and chemicals are pumped deep inside underground rock formations to free the gas.

Fracturing operations were suspended on May 27 following the detection of a tremor centered just outside Blackpool.

(Click to read the entire article)

Editors Note: If industrial wind want to be involved in writing the Article X rules, the Citizen Power Alliance want the same option.

Doug Ward was asked to participate on a panel discussing the new Article X power plant siting legislation at the Alliance for Clean Energy New York’s (ACENY) 5th Annual Membership meeting and fall conference. Mr. Ward has served as counsel for ACENY and was involved in passage of the Article X legislation.

The new Article X legislation will apply to all electric generating facilities that are proposed to be 25 MW or larger. Mr. Ward’s presentation focused on the applicability of the new Article X to renewable energy facilities and the implications of the new siting process. The State DEC and PSC are required to enact regulations within one year. Mr. Ward said that he sees the rule making process as an opportunity for the wind industry to make the Article X process work for the siting of wind energy projects.


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