Monday, September 28, 2009

Talk: Building New York's Solar Economy

The WNY Sustainable Energy Association presents
Building New York's Solar Economy
Where We Are, Where We Need to Go, and How to Get There

A talk by
Ron Kamen

Senior Vice-President, EarthKind Solar

7:00 p.m., Tuesday, October 6th
Room 202 Schenk Hall
Daemen College
4380 Main Street, Amherst

Schenk Hall is across from the Wick Campus Center.  See Campus Map for location and free parking on campus.

Ron Kamen, President of the New York Solar Energy Industries Association, NYSEIA, is senior VP of EarthKind Solar, the leading solar thermal energy company in New York.  Ron began his career as an energy policy expert in the 1980s when he worked to create Demand Side Management programs that gave the utility industry a financial incentive to invest in energy efficiency, spurring New York's current multi-billion dollar efficiency programs. In the 1990s, Ron developed energy efficiency projects with Fortune 1000 companies and government entities, and from 2000 - 2006 he played a key role in creating NY's wind power market, helping propel growth from 50 MWs to over 1,000 MWs of wind energy today.

For more information, e-mail Walter Simpson or phone (716) 839-0062. Event co-sponsored by the WNY Climate Action Coalition.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Business Gets Green: September 24th

Thursday, September 24, 2009
5:30pm to 7:30pm

Frank E. Merriweather Jr. Branch Library
1324 Jefferson Ave, Corner of Jefferson and East Utica [ Map ]
Lots of free parking - 25 spaces in the library lot - and ample, free, on-street parking

Agenda for the 15 minute featured presentations:
  • Dan Conable - New York Biomass Energy Alliance
  • Creighton Randall - Buffalo Car Share
  • Dave Majewski - Premium Services, Inc.
Descriptions of the businesses in the featured presentations are here.

The format for Business Gets Green includes 1/2 hour of 30 second Introductions by businesses, organizations and individuals. See the VIDEO here.

The short Introductions are followed by 4 - 15 minute feature presentations on businesses or issues that are of special interest, usually with powerpoint slides.

As usual, this session will be filmed for LCTV and YouTube. Thanks Jon Allen!
If you would like to give one of the 15 minute presentations, please contact Bill Nowak with a 2-3 paragraph description of your presentation and dates (3rd Thursdays) you can be available to present.

Public Hearing: Buffalo Water Quality

Senator Antoine Thompson, as chair of the NYS Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, will be holding hearings throughout NY State on Water Quality.

The Buffalo hearing will be:
  • Tuesday, September 29, 2009  from 11 am to 3 pm
  • Erie County Historical Society, 25 Nottingham Terrace [ Map ]
  • Buffalo, New York 14216 
Please plan on attending this hearing, which will be crucial in helping the Senator shape water quality legislation for New York State. For more details, read the Flyer here. 

SAVE THE DATE - We also want you to know that Senator Thompson will be holding hearings on Wetlands Regulation on Tuesday, October 20, 2009 11 am-3 pm, at the Buffalo Science Museum, 1020 Humboldt Parkway

Clean Air Coalition of WNY

Message from the Clean Air Coalition (CAC) of Western NY
It's been a busy end-of-the-summer here at CAC and we want to share a few very exciting updates. We're gearing up for an action packed fall and I hope you will be able to join us as we continue this important fight! 

Our member meeting is Monday, September 28th!  Join us at the Sheridan Parkside Community Center at 169 Sheridan Parkside Drive at 7 pm for our monthly member meeting.  We have important updates from the DEC and EPA, will prepare for the upcoming rally and get our committees working!  Newcomers and kids are welcome.

We've hired a new director!
In August our board hired Erin Heaney, a Buffalo native with lots of organizing experience, the Coalition's next Executive Director. She's already been featured in Artvoice and the Tonawanda Bee.  We're excited to have her on board.

We've launched a new website!
Check us out here.  The new site has lots of educational materials, ideas for how to take action and links to all the press we've received.  You can also sign up to become an official member.   We've also joined the world of facebook and twitter (cleanairwny) - follow us!

We're rallying outside Tonawanda Coke!
J.D.Crane, owner of Tonawanda Coke, continues to ignore us and has not come up with a plan for benzene reduction.  On October 7th at 5:30, we're going to him.  Clean Air Coalition members and supporters are coming together outside the plant to rally.  If you would like to be part of the rally, please give us a heads up by emailing with your contact information so we can get you all the details.

Hope to see each and every one of you soon!

[Note from David: Check out this incredible satellite map photo of the dirty Tonawanda Coke Plant! ]

Tour Solar Homes & Green Buildings

Saturday, October 3, 2009
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
WNY Tour of Solar Homes
and Green Buildings
Join us on a self-guided tour of local homes and businesses that are
doing their part to save the environment and improve our quality of life.
Features include: passive solar, wind systems, solar hot water, super-insulation,
LEED-rated buildings, and nontoxic building materials.
See the WNY Sustainable Energy Association website,
after September 15, 2009, for tour information:
solar and green buildings, locations, directions and times.
The WNY Tour of Solar Homes and Green Buildings is sponsored by
the WNY Sustainable Energy Association in collaboration with
the American Solar Energy Society's National Solar Tour and
the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association's Green Building Open House and in cooperation with other local environmental groups including the WNY Climate Action Coalition.
Further questions,
contact Elizabeth Nichols at or WNYSEA  881-1639
Celebrating Energy Conservation, Renewable Energy,
and Our Commitment to the Environment
This event is free and open to the public.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Green Jobs Training Grant

Message from Frank Hotchkiss, Western New York Apollo Alliance

Please look at this message ASAP and respond to Frank Hotchkiss (Office: 716 565-1720, Cell: 716 432-6922, if interested. The Apollo Alliance needs responses soon to meet a grant deadline next week.

The Western New York Apollo Alliance has put together a strategic partnership of academic institutions, business, labor groups; non-profit community groups and the workforce investment system to apply for a U.S. Dept. of Labor grant entitled Pathways Out of Poverty. The purpose of this green jobs training grant is to teach workers the skills required in emerging energy efficiency and renewable energy industries.  As a local entity, we are planning on requesting the full grant amount of $4 million.  The proposed areas which we identified to address are: energy efficient building, construction and retrofit industries, renewable electric power industry, the deconstruction and materials reuse industries, the energy efficiency assessment industry serving residential, commercial and industrial sectors and manufacturers that produce sustainable products using environmentally sustainable processes and materials.
We are in the stages of establishing appropriate training curriculum with the various educational institutions and we would like the input from the business community as to what skill sets they would like to see in prospective employees.  We have contacted the BNE regarding this opportunity and they have taken the step of reaching out to businesses which have shown an interest in relocating to WNY.  We feel this grant presents WNY with a unique opportunity to go beyond the usual training courses and procedures and provides our area the chance to develop specifically identified skill sets our local business community has helped create.
With the recent passage of the Green Jobs Bill in NY, there is an anticipated new funding stream for residential and small business energy retrofits.  Buffalo will be a targeted area for these funds and proposed work and will require a skilled workforce.
One of the major requirements of the grant is to identify job placements.  Due to this we are asking any potential employer to review the attached curriculum and decide if these trainings options fit the type of employee you may be seeking and let us know about specific training employers may be seeking.  If you feel you may be able to hire individuals' trained under this grant we would need a written commitment from you to consider such employment and state a possible number of positions over the next two years.  I emphasize, this is a commitment to consider placement, not a promise to employ.  I have also attached a training partner form and an employer form. [see links to attachments, below]
The grant must be submitted in a very short time frame, the third week of September, therefore I am asking that any business which may be interested in participating in the grant to please respond as quickly as possible. 
If you have any questions, contact Frank Hotchkiss: Office, 716 565-1720; Cell, 716 432-6922; .

Frank J. Hotchkiss
USW District 4, Staff Representative
WNY Apollo Alliance
305 Cayuga Rd., Suite 175
Cheektowaga, NY, 14225
Fax: 716 565-1727

Information on the recently passed Green Jobs/Green NY Bill is here.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

People United for Sustainable Housing

PUSH wins grant for Green Rehab - 9/12/2009
People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH) has been awarded $1.87 million to rehabilitate 11 apartments in three vacant buildings on the West Side using green designs.
The focus on energy conservation and affordability helped secure $1.47 million from the state Department of Housing and Community Renewal, and $400,000 from the City of Buffalo. The two-to four-bedroom apartments, at 397, 398 and 460 Massachusetts Ave., will be among properties on several square blocks to also feature community gardens and sustainable projects created by the Massachusetts Avenue Project.  
“These buildings themselves will set a new standard for green, affordable housing in Buffalo,” said Aaron Bartley, PUSH Buffalo’s executive director. “We will have extensive solar electricity on two of the three buildings, and cutting-edge heating systems to reduce utility bills and carbon emissions.” Bartley said he is hopeful the project will become “a national model of neighborhood-based green development.” Read the full report by Mark Sommer in The Buffalo News.

WNY AmeriCorps and PUSH Buffalo Announce Major Inner-City Job Training Initiative 
PUSH Buffalo and WNY AmeriCorps came out today to announce the availability of 60 paid training positions in housing renovation for out-of-school individuals between the ages of 16 and 24 as well as dates for two open houses for interested applicants. The positions will be funded through the Federal YouthBuild program, which combines on-site construction training with daily GED classes for high-school dropouts in neighborhoods with high poverty rates.  
Watch a video announcing the job training program below:

Article and video from 
ArtVoice. For more information, visit the Web sites for PUSH Buffalo and WNY AmeriCorps.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Buffalo ReUse: ReBEL with a Cause

Buffalo ReUse's Michael Gainer visited a training program on the East Side of Buffalo and asked the young men in the room the following questions:
“How many of you know an individual that has dropped out of school?” Everyone raised their hand. “Where will those people be in three years?” Their three responses? 1. In Jail. 2. Hustling drugs. 3. Dead.

Gainer feels that it is devastating that these are the options for our young men and women, and devastating that so little is being done to address this need. So, he and his co-workers are doing something about it.

Under Michael Gainer's leadership, Buffalo ReUse founded the ReBEL Corps to provide the necessary support, mentoring, and training to assist young adults in transitioning from their current situation to a technical training program, employment opportunity, or college. The ReBEL Corps is a vehicle for engaging young people in their neighborhoods, offering diverse skills training, imparting an ecological ethos, and developing a solid foundation of skills and experiences that will enable their future success as leaders, community members, entrepreneurs, and ecological stewards. The program capitalizes on a growing coalition of grassroots organizations in the City of Buffalo, a strengthening partnership between not-for-profit organizations and government, and an increasing consciousness regarding the value of greening our economy.

Young adults work on a crew of ten folks, supported by two crew leaders, and complete action oriented projects that improve neighborhoods, three days a week. Two days a week, they are engaged in community service activities, educational activities, and work to attain their GED and a work readiness credential. The hope is that after one year of participation, young adults will obtain the tools necessary to advance to a job, advanced training, or university opportunity. The program is currently under development with a launch anticipated this Fall. Buffalo ReUse piloted similar programs on a small scale in 2008 in collaboration with Catholic Charities and the Green Summer program.

This is part of the 5th
report in a series from Buffalo ReUse, as follows:
  1. Overview, History and Programs
  2. Buffalo ReUse -- Mission & Vision
  3. Values, Take Two
  4. Green Demolition, Salvage, & Donations
  5. ReBEL Corps Defined
  6. Finances and Fund Raising
  7. Challenges of Green Demolition
  8. What is The ReSOURCE?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Cleanup Nuclear Waste at West Valley

Coalition urges complete West Valley cleanup - 9/02/2009

A coalition urged the public Tuesday to contact state and federal officials in the next week to demand full cleanup of the state’s largest nuclear waste site at West Valley.

Surrounded by about 20 people holding mops, buckets and brooms, speakers assembled outside the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority offices in the Larkin at Exchange Building in Buffalo. They called on the agency and the federal Department of Energy to support the complete cleanup of the West Valley nuclear waste site to avoid future radioactive contamination of Lake Erie drinking water.

The coalition, which includes representatives of environmental, religious and sportsmen groups, urged the public to make their voices heard by the public comment deadline, Tuesday, September 8. “Tell them you’re concerned about the water quality of the Great Lakes and the drinking supply of fresh water for yourselves and your children,” said Bob Ciesielski of the Sierra Club.

“We are tired of waiting for New York State and the Department of Energy to make a decision to clean up the nuclear waste at West Valley,” said Diane D’Arrigo of the Nuclear Information and Resource Center.

Read the full report by Mark Sommer in The Buffalo News.

NOTE: I phoned U.S. Dept. of Energy Secretary Steven Chu's office, and they said they had received many calls about this issue. However, they also said that they are taking comments only by U.S. mail or by FAX. Their contact information is below:

U.S. Mail:

Attn: Catherine Bohan
EIS Document Manager
West Valley Demonstration Project, U.S. Department of Energy
P.O. Box 2368
Germantown, MD 20874

Toll Free Fax: 866-306-9094

NOTE: I phoned NYSERDA President Frank Murray's office ( 866-697-3732 x 3320) after hours and was able to record a message and send it to him.