New York officials say a $37 million grant from the federal Department of Energy will help upgrade the state’s electricity grid.
The money will help fund a $75 million “smart grid” initiative to improve the efficiency of New York’s electricity delivery system.
New York is adding units to measure and report system conditions that will help avoid blackouts. The grant also will help fund the installation of capacitor banks around the state to reduce the amount of electricity lost over long distances.
Officials with the New York Independent System Operator, which runs the grid, say the smart grid investments will promote a reliable electric system to support the state’s economic growth.

Fracking Opponents Out With New TV Ad

A coalition of groups opposed to hydrofracking are out with a new television advertisement in the Southern Tier today, attempting to cast doubt on the economic benefits of natural-gas drilling.
The 60-second spot will begin airing today in the Binghamton and Elmira television markets, according to New Yorkers Against Fracking. It’s being funded by Washington D.C.-based Food and Water Watch, one of the members of the coalition.
The ad features interviews with unnamed subjects who are said to be Pennsylvania residents. They criticize the natural-gas industry for everything from water issues to dropping home values before the narrator urges viewers to call Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
High-volume hydrofracking has been on hold in New York, but has been very active in Pennsylvania largely since 2007. Last month, New York officials announced that the Department of Health would review the Department of Environmental Conservation’s recommended regulations and guidelines for hydrofracking before any large-scale permits are issued.
Both Binghamton and Elmira sit above what is believed to be the most gas-rich portion of the Marcellus Shale in New York.

he Department of Health is in negotiations with outside experts to help assess the state’s report on shale-gas drilling and is expected to reach a contract agreement “soon,” according to New York’s top environmental regulator.
Joseph Martens, commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Conservation, told reporters Friday that the specifics of the health review are still being figured out. It is “to be determined” if that review will be completed before Nov. 29, a key deadline that — if missed — would require the DEC to reopen its proposed hydrofracking regulations to public comment.
Martens announced last month that state Health Commissioner Nirav Shah would assemble a panel of experts to review the DEC’s report on hydrofracking. That report, a set of permitting guidelines known as the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement, has to be finalized before permits for large-scale hydrofracking can be issued in New York. Work on the report began more than four years ago.
“We still don’t have contracts with (the outside experts) yet so it’s not 100 percent certain at this point what the exact scope is going to be, but they’re going to review the health portions of the SGEIS and how we’ve addressed health impacts in the mitigation measures,” Martens said Friday after speaking at a Business Council conference.

Pennsylvania state agencies and local governments in places where natural gas drilling is under way are about to get checks from an impact fee fund that’s collected more than $200 million.
Gov. Tom Corbett and other Republican leaders announced the breakdown for counties, townships and boroughs at a Capitol news conference on Monday.
Officials say the checks should be going out from the state treasury over the coming 10 days. They cover drilling through 2011. The payments for 2012 are due July 1.
State law restricts how the money can be spent. Among the allowable uses are fixing roads and building or repairing water and sewer infrastructure.
 Payment information:

Republican Senate candidate Wendy Long says developing upstate New York’s natural gas formations could bring desperately needed jobs and criticized Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand over the issue.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration is considering whether to allow the exploration of shale gas through the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. It is not a federal decision, though Gillibrand says concerns about clean air and water should be addressed before drilling moves forward.
Long said during an Albany news conference Thursday that Gillibrand has cast her lot with the “far-left” environmentalists and celebrities who oppose fracking. Gillibrand campaign spokesman Glen Caplin said he would not comment on what he called conspiracy theories from a struggling campaign.
Long said Cuomo should move faster, but blamed the delay on outside pressure.

NY anti-frackers get win from Cuomo

Environmental groups fighting fracking say Gov. Andrew Cuomo's order for a new public health study is a sign he may be backing off his plans to allow the hotly debated extraction process.
While Cuomo insists he has made no decision, he has repeatedly said he will approve fracking if the science shows it can be done safely. And the study — if it finds no major threats — could give him the cover to move forward with more political benefits than hits.
"There is no step back," Cuomo told reporters in Syracuse last week when asked about the health study. "I think it will be a more thorough review and it will be a stronger review to withstand a legal challenge. ... Our lawyers say it will be more defensible in the event we're challenged."
Cuomo administration officials have worried privately that continued loud opposition to fracking, which injects chemically laced water into shale formations to release gas, could disrupt other policy work and the governor's re-election campaign without creating a single job.

Word comes from State Senate leader
The dean of the Albany press corps reports in the New York Post that there are predictions Gov. Cuomo will approved hydrofracking later this year or early in 2013.  Fred Dicker says Deputy Majority Leader Tom Libous (R) from the Binghamton area believes Cuomo will approve fracking before the legislature returns to the capitol in the hopes of avoiding criticism and opposition.
Binghamton, like most of upstate New York, is suffering economically and hydrofracking creates many jobs.

News of a renewed round of (potentially lengthy) delay in the state’s decision on whether to allow high-volume hydrofracking brought a round of restrained reaction from the natural-gas industry, which generally expressed disappointment but confidence in the process moving forward.
There was no such restraint from a coalition of pro-fracking landowners.
The Joint Landowners Coalition of New York—a collection of landowners groups from across the state—issued a rather scathing statement this afternoon, knocking Gov. Andrew Cuomo for having “turned his back” on landowners.
A selection from the lengthy statement:
“Our message to hypocritical opposition activists is this: If you are part of the Hollywood elite calling for delays in New York, you should be pleased that you have the Governor’s ear. Unfortunately, the Governor has turned his back on the landowners in New York and simply doesn’t care that we are struggling to pay the highest real property tax rates in the country, recovering from two devastating floods and watching as our communities decline, businesses flee and we bleed jobs such as the recent loss of 575 jobs expected from Sikorsky’s departure in Big Flats. We are baffled about how our state can ignore the biggest economic opportunity we will see in our lifetimes while we struggle to survive during the largest recession since the Great Depression. We hope Commissioner Shah is also considering the health effects of unemployment and poverty.”
Meanwhile, Clean Growth Now—a separate coalition that includes the landowners group and various business entities—has continued advertising in newspapers across the Southern Tier. One of its latest ads, pictured below, targets Cuomo by touting the support for hydrofracking shown by President Barack Obama, GOP nominee Mitt Romney and New York City Michael Bloomberg.
The Clean Growth Now ad is below. The full statement from the Joint Landowners Coalition can be read here.

Blogger Template by Blogcrowds

Copyright 2006| Blogger Templates by GeckoandFly modified and converted to Blogger Beta by Blogcrowds.
No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.