Sunday, October 31, 2010

Local Candidates endorsed by NY League of Conservation Voters

The New York League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV) is a non-partisan, policy making and political action organization that works to make environmental protection a top priority with elected officials, decision-makers and the voters by evaluating incumbent performance and endorsing and electing environmental leaders to office in NY State.

NYLCV recommends the candidate most likely to be an environmental leader.

Every election year, NYLCV develops candidate questionnaires that detail their Board's Policy Priorities, and candidates are interviewed by their Regional Boards.

Western NY candidates endorsed by the NYLCV are Brian Higgins and Louise Slaughter for Congress, Antoine Thompson for State Senate, and Sam Hoyt for State Assembly. Click on a candidate's name to read the full endorsement.

NYLCV also endorsed Andrew Cuomo for Governor, based on a record of accomplishment and a strong plan for a clean energy future.

Vote on Tuesday, November 2.
To find your polling place and see a list of candidates, Click Here, and then enter your address and zip code.

Job Opening at Buffalo Niagara RIVERKEEPER

Watershed Restoration Coordinator
Buffalo Niagara RIVERKEEPER is seeking a full-time Watershed Restoration Coordinator to implement and direct the Niagara River Riparian Restoration Program, a waterfront landowner stewardship and habitat restoration program.

To download a complete description with instructions for applying, click here.

To view the job description online, click here.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

TONIGHT: GASLAND with Filmmaker Josh Fox

Join Filmmaker JOSH FOX for the Buffalo Premier of his film,

Saturday, October 30, 7 PM
Bulger Communication Center, Buffalo State College [Map]
Free and Open to the Public

A natural-gas drilling boom has swept across the United States in recent years, as the Halliburton-developed drilling technology of “fracking” has unlocked a “Saudi Arabia of natural gas” just beneath us. But is the method safe?

When filmmaker Josh Fox is asked to lease his land for drilling, he decides to investigate, embarking upon a cross-country odyssey. He uncovers a trail of secrets, lies and contamination–from unexplained illnesses to flammable tap water–in this expose of a new country called GASLAND.

[Click image to enlarge]

For a full screen display of a printable flyer, Click Here.

See Re-ENERGIZE BUFFALO posts on 'Fracking', Click Here.

Support the NY State Fracking Moratorium, Click Here

Official Website:

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fracking Comments and GASLAND Film

  • FRIDAY, October 29 -- TODAY is the last day to Email your comments on gas drilling using the controversial method of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to the NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation.
Send Email to: State Forest Strategic Plan until 4:45pm.
[ ]

  • SATURDAY, October 30 --
Join Filmmaker JOSH FOX for the Buffalo Premier of his film,

Saturday, October 30, 7 PM
Bulger Communication Center, Buffalo State College [Map]

Free and Open to the Public

For a full screen display of a printable flyer, Click Here.

When filmmaker Josh Fox is asked to lease his land for drilling, he decides to investigate, embarking upon a cross-country odyssey. He uncovers a trail of secrets, lies and contamination–from unexplained illnesses to flammable tap water–in this expose of a new country called GASLAND.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Who's looking out for NY State's Environment?

Environmental Commissioner Fired

NY Gov. Paterson's administration fired Pete Grannis, Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation (D.E.C.), after a dispute over cuts to the department’s budget.

Earlier, Mr. Grannis sent a memo to the administration spelling out the negative effects that more layoffs would have on the agency, and the memo was leaked by an unknown source to The Times Union of Albany. The secretary to the governor, Lawrence Schwartz, asked Grannis to resign, but he refused.

In an interview, Mr. Grannis said, “We were asked to provide an analysis of how these layoffs would effect our agency’s operations, which we did, and somehow that got out.”

“We’ve taken a terrible hit over time,” Grannis said. “We’ve lost 600 people in the last 18 months, and this would be 200 more.” The agency’s workforce, now under 3,000, is at its lowest level in two decades, Grannis said.

"These staff cuts couldn't come at a worse time for the fight for clean water," stated Paul Gallay, Executive Director and Hudson Riverkeeper. "This also confirms that the agency will not be equipped to provide the necessary regulatory oversight to prevent the type of industrial pollution that has already ravaged much of the Marcellus Shale region due to gas drilling operations. Now more than ever, it is crucial for the DEC to work synergistically with Riverkeeper and other watchdog groups to make sure our environmental laws are enforced."

“The future of hydrofracking in New York State is really the most important environmental issue that we face, and we need a strong D.E.C. to protect New York State drinking water,” said James Gennaro, a New York City councilman. Mr. Gennaro was among the campaigners who successfully lobbied the D.E.C. to impose strict restrictions on drilling in the upstate watersheds that supply water to New York City.

The leaked memo was ominous in tone, warning of “potential serious risks to human health and safety and environmental quality” from the proposed staff cuts.

Environmentalists and public health experts from 16 organizations called upon Mr. Paterson to reinstate Grannis. Some said Mr. Paterson’s successor should reappoint Mr. Grannis and make fixing the agency a priority.

Laura Haight, senior environmental associate for the New York Public Interest Research Group, said: “When someone like Pete Grannis, who worked at the D.E.C. in the early 1970s and championed environmental laws in the State Legislature for 30 years before serving as commissioner, says that the agency is at its weakest point in history and that critical environmental programs are ‘hanging on a thread,’ people ought to listen. Instead, Governor Paterson fired him.”

So a movement is under way to have Mr. Grannis reinstated. There’s no chance of that in Governor Paterson’s remaining days before the November election, administration officials said.

But advocates like Rob Moore, executive director of Environmental Advocates of New York, is hopeful. “We’ll be urging the next governor to replace Pete Grannis with Pete Grannis,” he said.

For additional information, see the following articles:

Thursday, October 21, 2010

GASLAND Premier and Filmmaker Josh Fox

Join Filmmaker JOSH FOX for the Buffalo Premier of his film,

Saturday, October 30, 7 PM
Bulger Communication Center, Buffalo State College [Map]
Free and Open to the Public

A natural-gas drilling boom has swept across the United States in recent years, as the Halliburton-developed drilling technology of “fracking” has unlocked a “Saudi Arabia of natural gas” just beneath us. But is the method safe?

When filmmaker Josh Fox is asked to lease his land for drilling, he decides to investigate, embarking upon a cross-country odyssey. He uncovers a trail of secrets, lies and contamination–from unexplained illnesses to flammable tap water–in this expose of a new country called GASLAND.

[Click image to enlarge]

For a full screen display of a printable flyer, Click Here.

Support the NY State Fracking Moratorium, Click Here

Official Website:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

TALK: Green Energy in Ontario and NY

Baldy Center Environmental Stewardship
Working Group

and the
Canada-United States Legal Studies Centre

Scott Pasternack

Supervisor for Policy Development, Toronto Environment Office

"Who is Building the Better Green Energy Mousetrap? A Comparison of Canadian and US Approaches to Renewables, Energy Efficiency, and Smart Distribution"

October 29, 2010
12:00-12:30 Lunch, 12:30-2:00 Presentation

509 O'Brian Hall (Map)

A great deal of green energy activity is happening on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border, whether it's federal smart grid research and development, state or provincial renewable procurement, or local level energy efficiency programs. Although the end goal seems to be the same -- reduce our energy footprint to, in turn, reduce our carbon footprint -- the laws, policies, and economics can differ greatly. For example, which investment approach promises to deliver an increasing, reliable supply of renewable generation to replace fossil fuels -- Ontario's feed-in tariff or New York State's renewable portfolio standard? Which energy efficiency standards for existing buildings promises to reduce energy demand more significantly -- the ones New York City is able to adopt locally for its own jurisdiction or the ones that Toronto hopes to help develop for Ontario to adopt across the province? For an overview of the different ways that Canada, Ontario, and Toronto to the north, and the U.S., New York State, and New York City to the south, have been struggling to build their green energy mousetraps -- and to offer your thoughts and suggestions on whether and how to build a cross-border green energy framework instead -- join us for this lunchtime presentation led by Scott Pasternack.

As Supervisor for Policy Development in the Toronto Environment office, Scott Pasternack is responsible for advising Toronto on climate change, green energy, and environmental sustainability initiatives. He previously served as environmental counsel for the New York City Law Department where, among other duties, he advised Mayor Bloomberg's Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability on policy matters.

*Please note: The views expressed at this presentation will be those of the speaker only, and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the City of Toronto.*

Event is free and open to the public. RSVP requested: or 645-2102

Ecology and Environment, Inc., Plays Key Role in First Large-Scale Solar Energy Project on U.S. Public Lands in Nevada

LANCASTER, N.Y., October 20, 2010 – Ecology and Environment, Inc., (E & E) (NASDAQ: EEI) is proud to announce its involvement in the Silver State North Solar Project, the first large-scale solar energy project on U.S. Public Lands in Nevada. The First Solar, Inc. project was approved by Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, yesterday. This is the second landmark, large-scale solar fast-track project to obtain Department of the Interior (DOI) approval in recent days in which E & E has played a key role providing permitting, environmental impact assessment expertise and coordinating the public involvement process.

“Silver State is one of several renewable energy projects in the pipeline that will help Nevada and the nation create jobs as we build a clean energy economy,” Secretary Salazar said in signing the Record of Decision. “This project will provide renewable energy that will help meet our nation’s growing demand as we strive to become energy independent.”

E & E prepared the precedent-setting environmental impact statement (EIS) for the 50-megawatt (MWAC) 60 (MWDC) solar facility and associated infrastructure, which will be built in the Ivanpah Valley, 40 miles south of Las Vegas. E & E worked collaboratively with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Las Vegas Field Office on the EIS, which analyzed environmental impacts of project construction and operation on several key resource areas, including threatened and endangered species, recreation, and hydrology; and identified appropriate mitigation measures to reduce project impacts. E & E engaged all project stakeholders and conducted well-attended public scoping meetings.

The Silver State North Solar Project is expected to generate enough electricity to power approximately 15,000 homes, create 300 construction jobs, and generate $250,000 in annual property tax revenue for Clark County, NV.

BLM Director, Bob Abbey, noted the key role public involvement played in the project’s approval. “The BLM is proud to play a major role in our nation’s quest to capture more renewable energy resources here at home,” Abbey said. “Through wise planning and engagement with local communities and stakeholders, we can support large-scale solar development on public lands while protecting valuable natural and cultural resources. If we are smart from the start, we can capture America’s renewable energy resources in the right way and the right places.”

“DOI approval of these pivotal large-scale solar projects on U.S. Public Lands is a significant step forward in advancing a clean energy economy and we are proud to play a role in making these projects a reality,” said E & E president and CEO Kevin Neumaier. “Silver State North brings Nevada one step closer to its goal of a 25 percent Renewable Portfolio Standard by 2025, and sends a clear message that standards and benchmarks like Nevada’s are achievable when energy companies, agencies, and stakeholders work collaboratively to advance environmentally sound projects.”

E & E has 40 years of global energy project experience and has been at the forefront of solar, wind and other renewable energy development. E & E has completed hundreds of renewable energy projects bringing thousands of megawatts of solar, wind, geothermal and ocean energy power to the grid.

Headquartered in Lancaster, N.Y., Ecology and Environment, Inc., has completed more than 50,000 projects for a wide variety of clients in 96 countries, providing environmental solutions in nearly every ecosystem on the planet. The company is listed on the NASDAQ under the symbol EEI and is located on the web at

Monday, October 18, 2010

Protect Zoar Valley and Drinking Water from Fracking

The Zoar Valley is one of the most spectacular wilderness areas of Western NY. I have hiked and snowshoed the rim trails of the gigantic gorge, looking down from the cliffs at Cattaraugus Creek, 400 feet below. I've navigated a canoe through the current and rapids on one-way trips from west of Springville to Gowanda. So much to do there, and so much to see - spring wildflowers, waterfalls cascading down the cliffs, virgin and secondary-growth forests, herons, hawks and even an occasional bald eagle - this is a sacred place that must be protected.

Recently, I was shocked to learn of a proposal by the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to allow gas drilling in the Zoar Valley State Forest using hydrofracking and horizontal drilling (see article by Larry Beahan, below). The controversial fracking process contaminates millions of gallons of fresh water per gas well with toxic chemicals to help release the shale gas, permanently buries most of the water deep underground (see article by Lynda H. Schneekloth, below) and has been blamed for contamination of drinking water and human illnesses. We can not let this happen in our beautiful Zoar Valley. Keep in mind too that the Cattaraugus Creek drains into Lake Erie, the source of drinking water in the Buffalo area.

The DEC writes that public comment is encouraged and will be accepted through 4:45 p.m., Friday, October 29, 2010. Please read the articles below, review the information on the DEC website, and submit comments to the DEC by email to State Forest Strategic Plan ( Comments may also be mailed in a letter to Strategic Plan for State Forest Management, NYS DEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4255.

Larry Beahan: State’s management plan would destroy Zoar Valley
...the Department of Environmental Conservation has proposed a “Strategic Forest Management Plan” for Zoar Valley and the rest of the 770,000 acres of New York State Forests. These forests are patches of wild land scattered across the state, set aside for their unique natural wonders or for simple reforestation.

This plan was sprung upon us with a bare two months until the Oct. 29 deadline on comments. The plan would industrialize these wild preserves with deep-well gas extraction using hydrofracking and horizontal drilling.

Its 5-acre wellheads, massive truck traffic, maze of roads, insatiable demand for fresh water and inevitable pollution of surface waters with salt, heavy metals and radon has no place in our state, let alone in such vulnerable and revered places as Zoar Valley.

The DEC’s plan proposes not only “fracking” in the forests but using forest resources to support fracking elsewhere. The plan would inject the witch’s brew of waste water from other sites into exhausted state forest gas wells and hope that it would not migrate into our drinking water. It would “steal” fresh water from these forests and turn it into polluted fracking waste.
Write the DEC and call legislators. Tell them to protect our State Forests from fracking and stop the Strategic Forest Management Plan.

Lynda H. Schneekloth: Hydrofracking puts fresh water beyond reach forever
Is it OK to ruin ground water, to “disappear” fresh water from the planet when only 1.5 percent of all the water on earth is fresh to begin with?

Hydrofracking leaves trillions of gallons of our fresh water deep in the bowels of the earth — forever.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Energy & Climate: Where do we go from here?

Join Buffalo native, Jason Kowalski, for a discussion of the Obama administration legislative initiatives on Energy Policy in the Case Library at Westminster Presbyterian Church [Map] on Sunday October 17, 2010 at 9:30am. The event is open to the public.

Jason Kowalski is the Policy Coordinator for 1Sky Solutions in Washington, DC.

The central aspirations of the 1Sky campaign are:

  • Reduce global warming pollution at least 35 percent below current levels by 2020, and at least 80 percent by 2050.
  • Create 5 million green jobs and pathways out of poverty by rebuilding and refueling America with a comprehensive energy-efficiency mobilization including immediate investment in a clean-energy infrastructure
  • Re-power America by imposing a moratorium on new coal plants that emit global-warming pollution and replacing dirty fuels such as coal and oil with 100 percent renewable energy.
Bio - Jason Kowalski: As a Policy Coordinator at, Jason works to leverage the collective power of a diverse network of allies to push for strong federal climate policy. He is committed to building grassroots momentum: as a national co-coordinator of Step It Up 2007, Jason and his group connected thousands of people to the political process via an open source web-based campaign. His career in the climate movement was jump-started by working with executives and financial officers at Middlebury College to dramatically reduce their carbon emissions using the most economical means available. Jason co-authored the recently expanded version of Clean Air-Cool Planet's Campus Carbon Calculator, which is currently in use on over 2,500 campuses for greenhouse gas emissions inventories and economic analysis of carbon reduction projects.

Related Material:
An open letter to all people and organizations working to combat global warming
This letter is from members of the 1Sky board of directors: Jessica Bailey, K.C. Golden, Bracken Hendricks, Bill McKibben, Billy Parish, Vicky Rateau, Gus Speth, and Betsy Taylor.

Tonawanda Coca-Cola is not Tonawanda Coke

While things have NOT been going better with Tonawanda Coke, the company that produces foundry coke for the steel industry, the Tonawanda Coca-Cola bottling company hopes that the image of their Coke, the beverage that people drink, will improve.

Public awareness of toxic air pollution at Tonawanda Coke has been raised by the Clean Air Coalition on behalf of residents living near the plant. This has been widely publicized and received considerable attention, including by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, who found that emissions of benzene far exceed EPA limits and also cited the company for water pollution with cyanide. Recently, local residents have filed lawsuits claiming carcinogenic emissions from the Town of Tonawanda plant were the source of their cancer.

It turns out that many folks living in the Buffalo Area thought that the Tonawanda
Coca-Cola bottling company was the culprit cited for fouling the environment and accused of making people sick.

Tonawanda Coca-Cola bottling company wants things to go better with their Coke. They want to end the confusion and make it absolutely clear that the Coca-Cola bottling plant in Tonawanda is not Tonawanda Coke.

s past ad slogans for Coca-Cola state: "Coke is it!" "It's the real thing."

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Water Fouled by Gas Drilling Triggers Lawsuits

The shale gas drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has already been blamed for the contamination of drinking water in several states, including Pennsylvania. In the northern tier of PA bordering New York, the once clean water wells of residents are now contaminated by methane gas and toxic chemicals after nearby drilling began in the the Marcellus Shale.

Well water contamination is attributed to extensive fracking, in which multiple horizontal channels are drilled in each mile-deep vertical well and the underground shale is fractured under pressure using millions of gallons of water containing sand and toxic chemicals.

Residents are forced to live with polluted well water for drinking, washing dishes and clothes, and bathing. Some are suffering from illnesses attributed to the polluted water. Their wells and land are spoiled, making their homes practically worthless and impossible to sell. Many now feel like prisoners in their own home. Tragic!

Lawsuits have been filed. Fifteen residents of Dimock PA have sued the Houston based Cabot Oil and Gas Company, claiming the company has allowed methane and metals to seep into drinking water wells, failed to uphold terms of its contracts with landowners, and acted fraudulently when it said that the drilling process, including the chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing, could not contaminate groundwater and posed no harm to the people who live there.

"We've been lied to, we've been pushed around, and enough is enough," said Julie Sautner, whose drinking water began showing high levels of methane, iron and aluminum and who is receiving fresh water deliveries from Cabot. "We need to push back."

The lawsuit, filed by the New York City-based law firm Jacob D. Fuchsberg and two other firms based in Philadelphia, Pa., and Buffalo, N.Y., did not specify what monetary damages would be sought from Cabot.

Pennsylvania's top environmental regulator says the state will sue Cabot Oil & Gas unless it agrees to pay nearly $12 million to extend a public water line to at least 18 residents whose water wells have been contaminated with methane gas.

Environmental Secretary John Hanger accused Cabot of reneging on its promises to the residents of Dimock, a small town in Susquehanna County, where tainted wells have raised concerns nationwide about the environmental and health consequences of gas drilling.

"We have had people here in Pennsylvania ... without safe drinking water for close to two years. That is totally, totally unacceptable. It is reprehensible," Hanger told a news conference packed with residents and media. "We're going to take decisive action now because we cannot possibly wait any longer."

Another lawsuit was filed against the Houston-based Southwestern Energy Co. claiming that a faulty gas well they drilled leaked toxic fracking fluid into local groundwater in northeastern Pennsylvania's Susquehanna County, exposing residents to dangerous chemicals and sickening a child.

The lawsuit—one of the first in the nation to link hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to tainted groundwater—said the well's cement casing was defective. It also cites spills of industrial waste, diesel fuel and other hazardous substances.
Water wells became contaminated with high levels of barium, manganese and strontium. The contaminated water wells are less than 2,000 feet from the gas well.

The plaintiffs seek monetary damages, environmental cleanup and medical monitoring. The suit said the child who has been sickened has shown neurological symptoms "consistent with toxic exposure to heavy metals."

Fortunately, the New York state senate passed a suspension of fracking permits in a bill sponsored by Sen. Antoine Thompson. It awaits approval by the Assembly and the Governor. To take action, contact Assembly Speaker Silver and your Assembly member by clicking here.

To a Pennsylvania resident who had explosive levels of natural gas in his house from well contamination, and now lives with a huge water tank out front, New York's delay is a good thing. "I used to think you weren't very smart in New York, waiting like you did," he said. "But I think you're the smart ones now."

Watch an excellent segment of the PBS program, Need to Know, entitled "The Price of Gas", below, to get a feel of the problems arising from fracking elsewhere, to learn about the "Halliburton loophole" which in 2005 exempted fracking from federal regulations imposed by the Safe Drinking Water Act despite earlier concerns raised by an EPA whistleblower, to see how poorly the process is regulated by some states and how harmful this can be to local residents.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Run or Walk for the Planet on 10/10/10

Sunday, October 10, 2010
Delaware Park
Parkside/Jewett Entrance near Buffalo Zoo

10/10/10 - Day to Celebrate Climate Solutions Worldwide
Hosted by

All Buffalo runners and walkers who wish to demonstrate their support for this worthwhile endeavor are invited

We will run through the park before exiting on Meadow, turning left on to Nottingham, crossing over Delaware towards the bike path then on to Hoyt Lake for one loop around, then back to the park.
Distance - 4.2 miles

Walkers can opt for the 1.8 mile Delaware Park loop.
Cost - FREE

Be part of a global initiative taking place in our own backyard. Participants are encouraged to set aside their political ideologies and simply agree that our planet has a finite number of resources that have begun to dwindle. If you are unable to walk or bike to the park, please carpool. No registration, no timers, no starting gun, no water stations . . . just an opportunity for a great run with friends.

Sign up at

Local Contact: Email or Phone 716-359-3082

Feeling Energized and Want to Organize your Own Climate Solutions Event?
To find out how, Click Here