Some of the younger members of the anti-hydrofracking community voiced their concerns at a rally in the Capitol on Monday, Gannett’s Aaron Scholder reports.

Members of a summit of 150 youth leaders in the state, known as Power Shift New York, marched through the building to chant at Gov. Andrew Cuomo to ban the controversial practice.

The group delivered a letter signed by 17 other anti-fracking organizations as well as a petition against the practice that was signed by more than 1,600 people.

“We’re here to let Gov. Cuomo know loud and clear that if he wants to be a leader for the youth vote and for environmental communities in New York, that he needs to take a stand to ban fracking and lead us toward a cleaner, greener future and economy,” said Laura Smith, a student at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie.

The group also held a mock wedding and annulment to signify the need to separate what they said were back-room deals between gas corporations and politicians.

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An Ohio wind farm is temporarily shut down following severe damage to one of the turbines.

The wind farm, Timber Road II, sits in Ohio just beyond the Indiana state line between Edgerton, Indiana, and Payne, Ohio.

The owners, EDP Renewables, say while the investigation into what damaged the blades is ongoing, at this point it doesn't appear that strong winds were a factor.

A spokesperson for EDP tells Indiana's NewsCenter that all 55 of the wind farm's turbines were immediately shut down following the incident. Some were turned back on Wednesday as part of the investigation, but officials say it's unclear how long that investigation will take.

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Though it’s been a few years, the memories of the battle against the NYRI power line still are fresh.

And as representatives from utility companies, the energy industry and the banks that fund them convene to discuss the future of the state’s power grid, local officials and residents who fought NYRI say they are hopeful their plans won’t hurt local communities.

“We will continue to keep an eye on it,” said state Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-Rome. “While NYRI types can exist again, I don’t see a revival of NYRI, and the governor’s people are aware of the concerns of communities.”

Marcy is a hub on the state’s energy network, with lines from the north and west bringing power into its switching station. The need for more capacity to bring that power to New York City’s hungry markets has long been discussed — and that’s what attracted NYRI and its private investors.

Still, it’s anyone’s guess what proposals will come out of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Energy Highway project.

About 300 representatives from energy utilities, private-sector energy companies, financial institutions and environmental organizations attended a forum Thursday to learn how to participate in Cuomo’s plan.

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Wind industry campaign donations are blowing toward Republicans, including presidential front-runner Mitt Romney.

Romney’s campaign got a $2,500 donation from Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, during the first quarter of this year — a period in which more than 60 percent of the trade group’s campaign contributions went to GOP candidates and parties, according to new Federal Election Commission filings.

Bode has given to Republican White House hopefuls before. She gave $4,600 to John McCain’s campaign in 2008, when she was CEO of the American Clean Skies Foundation, a natural gas advocacy group.

This time around, Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) was the biggest winner in AWEA donations, landing $7,500 from the group’s WindPAC.

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A pair of Congressmen—including Rep. Maurice Hinchey—have penned a letter to President Barack Obama, urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to finalize new rules governing air pollution from the oil and natural gas industry.

About 20 members of Congress have signed on to the letter, which originated from Hinchey, an Ulster County Democrat, and Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado. The letter calls for the new emissions standards to be finalized “as soon as possible.”

The new standards would have an impact on gas-drilling operations in Pennsylvania, where companies have used high-volume hydraulic fracturing to tap into the gas-rich Marcellus Shale formation. The technique is not allowed in New York until the state completes its environmental review of the technique, which isn’t expected until later this year.

“New Yorkers from the Southern Tier to the Hudson Valley have listened to the horror stories of families who have seen their air polluted by gas drillers and they don’t like it one bit,” said Hinchey. “We need the President to act immediately to sign off on the proposed air quality standards so that these drillers cannot pollute our air without consequence. We cannot let the rush to drill blind us from the need to ensure the safety of our environment and public health.”

The full text of the letter, courtesy of Hinchey’s office, can be read after the jump.

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A number of the public expressed their views on hydrofracking, wanting the Town Board to adopt a “ban or moratorium” on the method. Hydrofracking remains a heavily debated issue which NY State Legislators will eventually have to decide on. Dansville’s Town Supervisor, Michael D. Willis, said “we want to remain neutral” and that “there isn’t anything to prevent right now”.

“You’re in a no-win situation because there are two sides to the story”, said one resident, “you have to remain neutral because either way, someone is going to be unhappy”. Another citizen cited materials used by hydrofracking: “we don’t know what chemicals they are using, we don’t know what chemicals they are bringing into the community, and what they are going to affect”.

Whichever view one may hold about hydrofracking in New York, hydrofracking will continue to be a hot-button issue for quite some time to come.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation’s review of hydrofracking labors on, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t seen plenty of news this week in regards to the much-debated gas-extraction process:

- Natural gas began trading at a decade-low price yesterday, dropping below $2 per thousand cubic feet for the first time since 2002.

The precipitous drop in price has been largely caused by a major increase in domestic shale-gas drilling in Pennsylvania and other states where high-volume hydraulic fracturing has been allowed. We took a look in February at what effect that may have on New York if it gives the green light to the technique. (So far, it hasn’t, but a decision on whether to proceed is expected to come later this year.)

The short story? The low natural-gas prices are expected to slow development in New York, at least initially.

– On Monday, representatives from Frack Action and the Citizens’ Environmental Coalition held a press conference in Albany, calling on DEC employees to “blow the whistle” on anything untoward about the agency’s review of hydrofracking, or about the dangers of the technique itself. You can watch a video of CEC’s Barbara Warren discussing their effort below. – Yesterday, pro-fracking groups held a pair of events. In Binghamton, the Joint Landowners Coalition held a job fair aimed at gigs within the natural-gas industry. About 2,300 people showed up, according to the Press & Sun-Bulletin’s Steve Reilly. The event was held to highlight jobs that could be available—or already are available—if New York allows hydrofracking. (Photo by the PSB’s Rebecca Catlett.)

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A state judge will hear a request for an immediate injunction against Pennsylvania’s new Marcellus Shale law filed by a group including seven municipalities that says it unconstitutionally takes away local powers to control land use.

The Commonwealth Court hearing was scheduled for Wednesday in Harrisburg. The approximately 120-page lawsuit was filed March 29.

Opponents of the sweeping, six-week-old law say it prevents municipalities from protecting homes or businesses, and possibly even schools or parks, from drilling activity that could damage a community’s quality of life and property values. Land-use provisions are scheduled to take effect in a few days.

Gov. Tom Corbett’s office says the administration is confident that courts will uphold the law, and members of the natural gas industry say overturning it would hurt them.

We haven’t heard much lately about the state’s progress when it comes to its review of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, but a handful of newsy tidbits have been making the rounds in recent days.

Here’s a few:

  • —Howard Glaser, director of state operations for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, was asked in a radio interview today about the Department of Environmental Conservation’s progress when it comes to making a decision on whether to allow high-volume hydrofracking. The agency has been reviewing the technique for much of the past four years, and its final report is expected later this year.

The short story? There’s still some work to do in reviewing the 60,000+ comments the DEC received on its draft review.
(Click to read the entire article)

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