Thursday, March 29, 2012

10th Annual Boom Days - Saturday, March 31

Join Us Saturday At The
10th Annual Boom Days

Every half hour experience the FREE grain elevator tours starting at 4:00pm with the last tour at 6:30pm. You will be able to feel the history as you walk through. When the lights go on the bands will start playing, it will be the first time the lights were on in the Perot Grain Elevator since 1993! Come just to be part of the memories - as far as we know, no other grain elevator in the world is equipped with a stage!  

A fireworks display around 10pm will light up the Lake Erie shoreline and the grain elevators with a show that promises to amaze all!

The Edward M. Cotter Fireboat was designated a historical landmark in 1996, after over 100 years of protecting the Grain Elevators. It is way cool and will be docked at the Perot and available for tours. Some folks will be able to board and witness the Boom Ball cast overboard to race down the mighty Niagara, marking the end of winter and the start of spring in Buffalo.

The live bands rockin' at the elevators are the IF's and the Mark Winsick Band. Just the fact that we have a stage for the bands in the Perot is unbelievable and so exciting. This will be an event to remember, people! 
Did you know the Elevators were built in 1909!

Dress warmly and bring all of your friends. Get ready for a great time! This event will be talked about for a long time. We have a bunch of heaters that will be working overtime to warm the place up, but it will be a bit chilly - that's the nature of the grain elevator any time of year. Layers people layers!

Don't forget there will be plenty of food to warm you up, too. Food trucks from a cadre of Buffalo's gourmet bistros will be available including the brand new Cheesy Chick Food Truck, the Roaming Buffalo, Whole Hog, Rolling Joes + Sweet Temptations.

Be sure to visit us at and look for all Boom Days information.  

UPDATE April 2, 2012:
Dancing inside a Grain Elevator!
Photos from Bernice Radle

Monday, March 26, 2012

HydroFracking News Briefs

For Pennsylvania's Doctors, a Gag Order on Fracking Chemicals
A new provision could forbid the state’s doctors from sharing information with patients exposed to toxic fracking solutions.
Under a new law, doctors in Pennsylvania can access information about chemicals used in natural gas extraction—but they won't be able to share it with their patients. A provision buried in a law passed last month is drawing scrutiny from the public health and environmental community, who argue that it will "gag" doctors who want to raise concerns related to oil and gas extraction with the people they treat and the general public.

Possible health risk tied to ‘fracking’ emissions
"Emissions from the wells include methane and volatile organic compounds that react with heat and sunlight to form ozone," according to a health scientist who is studying air quality near gas wells in Texas.
Non-cancer health impacts from air emissions due to natural- gas development is greater for residents living closer to wells,” according to a statement. “We also calculated higher cancer risks for residents living nearer to the wells.” 

New York environmental groups join to form coalition to work for hydrofracking ban
On Monday, a New York State Assembly proposal for an independent health impact study of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas was dropped during budget negotiations. Numerous physicians and environmental groups criticized Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos for blocking the $100,000 Assembly appropriation for a health study. 
Cuomo has said a decision on whether to permit fracking in New York is likely in several months.
Sandra Steingraber, a biologist and environmental writer who recently won the Heinz Award for her work on how chemical contaminants in air, water and food endanger human health, said she'll donate much of her $100,000 prize money to start the anti-fracking coalition, New Yorkers Against Fracking.

Niagara Falls City Council Safeguards Water Supply By Rita Yelda
Prevents Region from Becoming NY's Science Experiment
On March 5th, Niagara Falls went on record against fracking, and against treating wastewater from fracking.  Elected officials said they don't want the city that endured the Love Canal toxic waste crisis to be exposed to the fallout from gas drilling operations. The City Council approved an ordinance prohibiting natural gas extraction in Niagara Falls, as well as the "storage, transfer, treatment or disposal of natural gas exploration and production wastes."
It would have been irresponsible and dangerous for the Niagara Falls Water Board to move forward with this proposal, given all of the unanswered questions relating to our health, safety and environmental concerns.

Water Board won’t sue city on ‘fracking’ issue
The city’s Water Board on Thursday decided not to file a legal challenge against a city law banning treatment of water from hydraulic fracturing at its wastewater treatment plant. But it does not prevent a legal challenge to the law should the state this year set specific guidelines for treatment of the water.

Mark Ruffalo, the Incredible Hunk - Actor and Anti-Fracking Activist
When Bruce Banner gets angry, he turns into the rampaging green superhero known as the Incredible Hulk. The charming 44-year-old actor Mark Ruffalo, who portrays Banner in the upcoming film The Avengers, isn't quite so quick to act out. But his inner Hulk emerges when he talks about hydraulic fracturing, a technology whose advances have triggered a boom of gas drilling and environmental backlash in shale regions—including the part of upstate New York where Ruffalo relocated his family from Los Angeles about three years ago.

Look for Mark Ruffalo on The Colbert Report on Wednesday night at 11:30pm, or on TV re-runs Thursday, or online anytime after that. Ruffalo's group, Water Defense, is part of the NY coalition working for a fracking ban, described above.

Vigil held to protest hydrofracking 
Protesters gathered for a candlelight vigil outside the Buffalo office of Senator Mark Grisanti, chair of the NY State Environmental Conservation Committee. They're hoping to pressure him to support a bill that would ban fracking in NY. Senator Grisanti's office tells WIVB News the senator still has not made up his mind about hydrofracking in NY. 

Gas Industry Spin Can't Cover Up Air Problems Associated with Fracking
At a Wall Street Journal conference last week, Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon told attendees: “I don’t know of any problem with air pollution from fracking in Fort Worth” Texas.  McClendon peevishly referred to air pollution concerns raised by Hudson Riverkeeper President Paul Gallay [whom McClendon refused to share the stage with] as “environmental nonsense.”  Since then, industry-sponsored posts argue against links between fracking and air pollution. Well, read on. Then decide who’s spouting “nonsense”.


NEW: ReEnergize Buffalo on Facebook

A spin-off of the ReEnergize Buffalo Blog, with additional information content, is now on Facebook. Content is updated daily.

The current main photo on the Facebook page is shown below. The photo is linked to a report about its origin, as are other photos on the page.
Subscribe to the Facebook page by clicking the "Like" Button.
To access the Facebook page, visit

Feel free to share the link with your friends.

Debate on Oil Prices Overlooks the Elephant in the Room

By Joel A. Huberman

I was inspired to write this essay when I read the Viewpoints section in the Sunday edition of The Buffalo News on February 12, 2012. The News had recruited two “experts” to answer the question, “Should [the] U.S. remove restrictions on oil drilling?” One expert, Andrew P. Morriss, replied “Yes”, while the other expert, Michael E. Kraft, responded “No”. Although both men discussed important concerns (the factors affecting oil prices, the need for conservation, the importance of producing energy locally rather than in politically and militarily unstable foreign regions, etc.), both of them completely missed what seems to me to be the major issue—the elephant in the room.

            That elephant is the carbon dioxide (CO2) that we release when we burn fossil fuels (oil, gas, and coal) and the global warming, ocean acidification, and other disastrous consequences of that CO2.

            I think most readers of this essay are already familiar with many of the predicted effects of continued fossil fuel burning. I’ll mention just a few—melting of glaciers, melting of polar ice caps, frequent heat waves and frequent and prolonged droughts, frequent storms and floods, submersion of coastal cities and farms as sea levels rise, and combined warming and acidification of our lakes and oceans.

            All readers of this essay living in the eastern two-thirds of the United States are currently experiencing or have recently experienced abnormally high temperatures. I’m writing this essay on March 21, 2012, in the middle of a period of unusually high temperatures (70s to low 80s, in mid-March, in Buffalo, NY), which has been going on for nearly two weeks straight. This has never happened before in my lifetime, and I’m 71 years old. According to Jeff Masters, the founder of Weather Underground, in his blog for March 17, 2012, Minneapolis, MN, was 39°F above its average, and Bismarck, ND was 41° above its average for the preceding day, March 16. What will happen if summer temperatures in the American midwest approach 40°F above average? Answer: many Americans will die.

            Speaking of the American midwest, if global warming continues at its present pace, our midwest and most of our west are likely to become deserts within the next 50 years. According to a recent study by Aiguo Dai of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (available here), the map below shows the measured pattern of dryness and wetness across the USA in the decade 2000-2009 (which does not include last year’s severe Texas drought). To interpret this map, one needs the color scale below it and the corresponding quantitative indicators of drought potential (“Palmer Drought Severity Index” measurements). Values less than -4 are considered indicators of severe drought potential.

Thus, even in the first decade of the 21st century (2000-2009), the American midwest and west were rather dry. But what might the future bring if we keep burning fossil fuels and warming the planet?

Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper seeks Executive Director

Buffalo Niagara RIVERKEEPER, a non-profit in WNY that promotes, preserves and protects the environments of the Buffalo Niagara Rivers, seeks an Executive Director. Oversees all aspects of the organization to support the mission and approved goals and policies of BOD.  Works closely with Development Director to cultivate new and existing relationships with stakeholders and networks as well as large donor, corporate and foundation fundraising, and the representation of the organization to the public. Position reports to BOD and controls operating and financial objectives, team development, oversees marketing, public relations, and fundraising development.  Effectively manages and develops the human resources of the organization, as well as programs for outreach and supporters. Ensures strict recordkeeping for financial records, grants, and all company assets.  Bachelor’s degree, seven to ten years experience with executive management. Advanced degree preferred. Candidates should have proven leadership, strong organizational and interpersonal skills, exceptional verbal and written communication, self-motivation, strong problem-solving ability, experience with business finances and HR, experience implementing strategic plans.
Email cover letter and resume to; Please no phone calls.
All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, gender, sex, ethnicity, religion, age, color, sexual orientation, military/veteran status, or disability status.
Deadline:  April 30, 2012
For the full job description and more information about Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, please visit our website at

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Win-Win Strategy for Jobs and Clean Energy

Sierra Club in Niagara Proposes 
A Win-Win Strategy for Jobs and Clean Energy

WHEN: Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 9:30 AM
WHERE: Outside Dug’s Dive Restaurant (in view of the Wind Turbines), 1111 Fuhrmann Blvd, Buffalo NY

The Sierra Club/Niagara Group is releasing CLEAN/FIT, a report that outlines how NYS can create jobs while shifting to renewable energy. This report describes how a FIT, or Feed-in-Tariff has worked across the world to generate alternative CLEAN energy and at the same time, provide viable jobs. The FIT, already being considered in Long Island, could work here in WNY.
The paper was prepared for the Atlantic Chapter of the Sierra Club. Members of the Sierra Club/Niagara Group, Lynda Schneekloth, Chair, Bill Nowak, report author, and John Shinn, United Steel Workers, Regional Director for District 4 will be present to talk about the paper and answer questions.
The report uses the acronym “CLEAN-FIT” which stands for “Clean Local Energy Accessible Now” and “Feed-In-Tariff” for short.  According to Bill Nowak of Buffalo Clean Energy, “FIT programs, already being implemented across the globe, are an efficient ‘pricing structure’ that maximizes both job creation and rapid renewable energy deployment.”  FITs provide a guaranteed long term price for a wide variety of renewable energy products so they are able to “feed in” to the energy grid on equitable terms. The fixed price reflects the cost of producing the energy plus a reasonable rate of return.
FIT programs have been used in more than 80 jurisdictions around the world and have been very effective in creating industry and supply chain economic development. Frank Hotchkiss, USW District 4 Staff Representative and Political Coordinator cites two examples. “Germany has created 367,400 clean energy jobs for a population that is less than 28% of the USA’s, and Ontario, Canada, our neighbor, has created 20,000 jobs under a recently established CLEAN-FIT program in only three years.”
            Western New York needs jobs, good jobs, like those created by FIT. According to Shinn “The introduction of the CLEAN-FIT paper presents New York State a clear opportunity to move forward on a proven successful path to produce local clean energy.  With the abundant resources available in Western New York, now is the time to step up and commit to rebuilding our manufacturing base around the technologies of the 21st century.  We have a window to progress to the green, clean and efficient industries of the future.”
            Bob Ciesielski, Energy Chair for the state Sierra Club, reports that other countries have “leveled the playing field with respect to pricing and made the move to clean energy much faster.”  The blueprint is available on a global scale. 
            The Sierra Club is the largest grassroots environmental organization in the US with a membership of 1.4 million people. The Atlantic Chapter represents New York State and the Niagara Group is the local entity representing seven counties in WNY.

The complete CLEAN-FIT Report can be found at the following url:
Contact Information
Bill Nowak 

Monday, March 19, 2012

NEW: ReEnergize Buffalo on Facebook

A spin-off of the ReEnergize Buffalo Blog, with additional information content, is now on Facebook. Content is updated daily.

In researching the Web, there are far too many relevant articles to include in stories on this blog. I am now using the Facebook page to post links to the most interesting articles.

I also use the Facebook page to provide reminders about events posted on this blog that I normally send out in e-mails every week.

The current main photo on the Facebook page is shown below, and it is linked to a report on its origin. The same is true for the many other photos on the page.

You can subscribe to the Facebook page by clicking the "Like" Button below the main photo.

To access the Facebook page, visit

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Greenwashing: Corporations Pretending to be Green

~ Upcoming 'Earth Day' is open-season for greenwashing ~

It's not easy being green. Behaving in environmentally-friendly ways that protect and preserve fresh water, clean air, fertile land, forests, oceans and all living species takes considerable effort.

However, corporations have found an easy way to be green -- by greenwashing to create a pro-environmental image. Greenwashing is used as a marketing tool to sell products, employing pictures of green forests, clear blue skies and clean waterways. Greenwashing is also used as a public relations tool to distract people from corporate activities that degrade or harm the environment.

Remember 'clean coal'? Have you seen any evidence of this? Me neither. But the absence of its existence didn't stop the industry from promoting clean coal in expensive ads on TV and billboards and in newspapers. The industry got so caught up in their own hype that they actually tried to brand dirty coal as green -- an example of unabashed greenwashing by the industry.

Natural gas burns cleaner than coal, but is it green? Think about how the industry is now extracting gas: horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) of shale rock deep underground. This process is new, risky and pollutes water. Fracking uses millions of gallons of fresh water per well, adds some toxic chemicals, and extracts hazardous and radioactive chemicals as well as brine from the shale. Poisoned wastewater returns with the gas to the surface of the Earth. There is no proven method to cleanup this hazardous wastewater. It has polluted rivers that supply drinking water, and contaminated land, roads, forests and streams through spills and illegal dumping. Frack wastewater is currently being injected deep underground in western states and in nearby Ohio where it has caused earthquakes. Methane gas leakage, evaporation of volatile organic chemicals, and gas compressor stations cause air pollution. Does any of this sound environmentally-friendly and green?

The shale-gas fracking industry is now trying to cleanup their public image through greenwashing by sponsoring environmentally-friendly groups.

The Buffalo Sabres "Green Team" is an environmentally-friendly group. As stated on their website, "The Buffalo Sabres are dedicated to the sustainability of the environment in Western New York and Southern Ontario through the “Blue & Gold Make Green Initiative”. The organization is committed to creating programming to help our fans reduce their environmental footprint and at the same time, educate Sabres fans on conservation issues, teaching fans how to be greener, and directing them to additional resources where they can learn more about environmental issues."

The Sabres "Green Team" is to be applauded for their noble, environmental efforts.

But look at the corporate logos of sponsors for the "Green Team". The first three are involved in shale-gas fracking! The association of these sponsors with the "Green Team" is another example of corporate greenwashing: associating environmentally-harmful industries with an environmentally-friendly group, the "Green Team". This is shameful on the part of these corporate sponsors!

This year the Sabres "Green Team" has a new logo, which is shown below.
The same three shale-gas fracking industries are again sponsors. The fourth sponsor, MODERN Recycling company, is the only one that could be considered to be green.

Traditionally, it becomes open-season for greenwashing as 'Earth Day' (April 22) approaches. Environmental groups and organizations who aim to be good stewards of the Earth need to beware of partnering with sponsors seeking only to green their corporate image. Even partnering with an authentic "Green Team" can indirectly make you partners with an environmentally-harmful corporate sponsor, like the shale-gas fracking industry. Know your partners, not by their green sheen but by how their work impacts the environment and humanity.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

"Lookin’ at it": A Nature Show, with a Twist

Episode 3 – Winter Survival, Part II
By Jason Mazurowski

When we last left our protagonists, they had split up to explore the different aspects of winter survival by experiencing them first-hand. Matt was braving the elements and searching for unfortunate hibernators, Jason set out to discuss the matter from a geologic perspective, and Steve was learning about survival strategies with Scott from Earth Spirit Educational Services.

Matt’s search for food is proving to be more exhausting and less fruitful than he’d hoped, and he’s beginning to pay the price. Jason is attempting to find some use for his geologic expertise, but decides that perhaps this isn’t the best time to give an introduction to geology. Meanwhile Scott and Steve discuss the practicality of finding hibernating animals in their dens and the morality of plucking them from their torpors to munch on.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

PUBLIC MEETING: Input on Broderick Park Master Plan

Public Input Sought for Broderick Park Master Plan
[Click image to enlarge]
Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, in partnership with the City of Buffalo and the citizen’s based “Friends of Broderick Park”, invite and encourage interested residents to attend an open public meeting, regarding the current master planning efforts for Broderick Park, on Wednesday, March 21, 2012, from 6:00PM to 8:00 PM, at the Belle Center, 104 Maryland Street, Buffalo, NY.

Broderick Park, located at the foot of West Ferry Street along the Niagara River, is a unique and publicly accessible waterfront asset that is ideal for anchoring and enhancing Frederick Law Olmsted’s vision of “a necklace of parks and open spaces along the length of the River, from Front Park in the City of Buffalo and stretching north of the Falls.” (Niagara River Greenway Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement 2007)

“This is the first of two planned public input sessions and will provide citizens an opportunity to review a conceptual master plan and offer suggestions and comments about the design. Riverkeeper believes that the best projects are those that encourage and integrate public participation”, said Jill Jedlicka, Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper.

PRESENTATION: Zero Waste Construction - March 20

Please join the WNY Sustainable Energy Association for the March installment of the Reitan Speaker Series
Tuesday March 20th at 7pm- Free
Hallwalls -
This Month's Topic will be:

UB Associate Professor of Architecture, Christopher Romano and his students give a dynamic presentation about new and sustainable methods in the field of innovative construction. Please don't miss this exciting talk! Free and Open to the Public!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Wind Power: Clean, Renewable Energy for New York

By Dave Bradley, Wind Action Group ~

You might be surprised to learn that there are 5 wind turbines working on the frozen continent of Antarctica. In fact, these are among the more productive ones presently operating in the world. The total installed capacity is only 1.6 megawatts. But that is still more than the installed capacity of all but 8 of NY State's 62 counties. That leaves a lot of room for improvement in NY State.

For NY State, it will probably take a whole new way to price renewable energy, and an understanding that replacing the pollution-sourced electricity (natural gas, coal, nuclear) can provide a working career for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers. That would put a nice dent in the estimated 1 million New Yorkers who need a job, and these jobs would provide decent pay.

The most successful pricing system for renewable energy is known as FIT, for Feed-In Tariff (Examples are in Ontario, Spain, Germany, and Denmark). Another name for FIT is CLEAN contract (
Clean Local Energy Accessible Now). New manufacturing jobs, supply chain, real-wealth creation are the goals, and the byproduct is clean electricity that displaces pollution-based electricity and often fuel imports that also require exporting real wealth.

If you want details of how FIT/CLEAN contracts work and what they can do, see this link to an excellent Green Paper written by Bill Nowak for the NY Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter.

If you want to see a highly-condensed summary in the form of a Powerpoint presentation (.pdf format), download this one by Dave Bradley

If you are interested in a presentation and discussion of this material for a group, email Dave Bradley at After all, there is a lot of "misunderstanding" and "lack of awareness" as to what renewable energy can do.

This report is a condensed version of the full article edited by David Kowalski. The full article by Dave Bradley is available at the Wind Action Group Engineering website.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Buffalo to Cuomo: Ban Fracking Now!

Press Release:
 New York’s Second Largest City Stands Up Against Drilling

Amidst reports that New York State might green light hydraulic fracturing this year, the Buffalo Common Council today passed a resolution to support S4220 and A7218, bills that would prohibit fracking and wastewater treatment in New York. The resolution states that fracking’s negative impacts could affect Buffalo and other Great Lakes communities. The Common Council also urged Governor Cuomo not to move forward with plans to open New York to fracking, explaining that regulation cannot protect against mistakes, some of which have recently come to light through EPA investigations in Pennsylvania and Wyoming.

“It is important that Buffalo sends a clear message to the State that we are unified in our request to pass a ban on hydrofracking in New York,” said Councilmember David Rivera. “We took action to ban hydrofracking in Buffalo and we now want the State to follow suit.”

“The Buffalo Common Council voted to ban fracking in the City of Buffalo due to its negative effects on groundwater and neighboring properties,” added Council President Richard Fontana. “This must be any government’s top priority to protect the water supply and the health of the residents in the area.”

To see the letter to Gov. Cuomo from the Buffalo Common Council, click here.

In February 2011 Buffalo became the first city in New York state to protect residents from drilling and waste disposal by passing municipal legislation opposing fracking and fracking waste. Buffalo has led the statewide fight against fracking with their municipal legislation, with over 60 municipalities having passed some sort of local ordinance restricting fracking since. Now, the second largest city in New York is standing up again, this time to protect its neighbors.

Rita Yelda
"The council recognizes that New York's urban centers would be sacrificing its rural towns in order to tap into shale gas,” said Rita Yelda of Food & Water Watch. “This is a monumental and historic day not only for Buffalo, but for all of New York State, and for communities everywhere affected by gas

The city is the home district of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, where the ban bill, SB4220, is currently stalled. "There has been overwhelming support for this resolution and letter in the community. We were there cheering on the local ban and now we're here packing council chambers to again show our support. However, it's also disappointing to see that at the state level, legislators have not taken our side," said Yelda.

Fracking has been cited as a threat to surface and ground water throughout the region, and has been blamed for fatal explosions and the contamination of drinking water, local streams, the air and soil. Collateral damage includes lost property value and drying up of mortgage loans for prospective homebuyers.

Climate Change: Dr. James Hansen Speaks Out

Renowned climate scientist, Dr. James Hansen, tells the story of his early involvement in the science of global climate change and subsequent participation in testimony and protest against government inaction.  He outlines the overwhelming evidence that human-made global warming is happening and that it's caused primarily by burning fossil fuels.  He expresses why these facts make him deeply worried about our future and that of his young grandchildren, whose photos are included.  Finally, Hansen describes a new policy to help restore climate stability.

Biography: James Hansen, Ph.D., is Adjunct Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. He was trained in physics and astronomy in the space science program of James Van Allen at the University of Iowa. Since the late 1970s, he has focused his research on Earth's climate, especially human-made climate change. Hansen is known for his testimony on climate change to congressional committees in the 1980s that helped raise broad awareness of the global warming issue. Hansen is recognized for speaking truth to power, for identifying ineffectual policies as greenwash, and for outlining the actions that the public must take to protect the future of young people and the other species on the planet.

Niagara Falls Bans Hydrofracking Wastewater Treatment

Treated waste flows into Niagara River - AP
Niagara Falls City Council voted on Monday to ban hydrofracking (a.k.a. fracking) and the treatment of the wastewater in the city. Fracking wastewater treatment has been the major topic of discussion at public meetings of the city's water board over the last several months.

The water board has been interested in accepting hydrofracking wastewater as a way to raise revenues. However, NY State is still in the process of developing gas drilling regulations, and has not put forth a proven plan for successfully cleaning up the wastewater. Such a plan is essential because fracking wastewater contains not only added chemicals, some toxic, but also toxic and radioactive chemicals extracted from the undergound shale. Municipal wastewater treatment has proven to be ineffective in cleaning fracking wastewater in Pennsylvania and is now prohibited. These facts left citizens with strong concerns about chemical pollution and public health, evoking comparisons to the Love Canal tragedy in Niagara Falls. Canadians were also concerned about fracking wastewater treatment, since the Niagara River borders their country and drains into Lake Ontario, which is a source of drinking water for millions of people in Canada.

The Niagara Gazette reported on Monday that the ordinance adopted — patterned after a similar ban imposed by the City of Buffalo and other communities in recent months — describes hydrofracking and the handling of waste from the process as posing a "significant threat" to the "health, safety and welfare" of residents in Niagara Falls. It also suggests that any involvement in the process within city limits could cause "irreparable harm" to the city’s water supply and may cause significant health problems for city residents. 

“The subject of hydrofracking is something that is going to effect everyone in our community,” said Councilman Glenn Choolokian, an employee of the city’s water board who pushed for the anti-fracking measures. “This dangerous process must be addressed now. It can’t be talked about in secret meetings anymore. If hydrofracking is such a great thing, let some other city be the test case.”

The Council also passed a resolution telling NY Gov. Cuomo that fracking should be banned in NY, like the statewide ban in Buffalo.

“I hope the governor gets the big picture here and bans it statewide,” said Council Chairman Sam Fruscione, who is expecting the council’s letter to be delivered to Cuomo within the next few days.

The language of the ordinance is similar to that used by two other NY towns whose local bans were challenged by the gas industry but were upheld by two different NY Supreme Court Justices.

“I’m sure we will be sued, but our job is to serve the city,” Fruscione said. “We’ll see what happens,” added Choolokian. “I feel very confident with the help we had on this.”

“Tonight, together, we draw the line in the sand against an industry and the state that desires to ruin this community,” said Roger Spurback, president of the Niagara Falls Block Club Council. “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. A tip of our hats for your response.”

Also see the WGRZ TV News coverage and watch a video report here.

EVENT: World Water Day - March 23

  • WHAT: Candlelight Vigil - Indigenous Water Ceremony - Speakers
  • WHEN: Friday, Mar 23, 2012  7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
  • WHERE: Starts outside of 65 Court St. Buffalo, NY
On this United Nation's 'World Water Day', join community and indigenous leaders in honoring the resource that allows us life. Together, we will send the strong message that we value our water and will not allow it to be contaminated.

Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) repeatedly threatens our water. Fracking purposefully contaminates billions of gallons of fresh water with chemicals to drill for natural gas. There is a risk of underground contamination of water sources, and the toxic waste created by the process often goes mistreated and ends up in our waterways. It’s a full out assault on clean water!

Senator Grisanti, Chair of the Environmental Conservation Committee, has the ability to move forward a bill that would ban fracking in New York state. We need to continue urging him to do so. This event will start outside of Sen. Grisanti's office on 65 Court St. in Buffalo, NY and then move to Niagara Square.

Speakers Include:
  • Lynda Schneekloth, Sierra Club Niagara Group Chair
  • Charley Bowman, WNY Peace Center Director
  • Al White & Kit White, Cayuga First Nations Elders
  • Maria Maybee, Seneca Nation, Cattaraugus Creek Watershed Taskforce
  • Rita Yelda, Food & Water Watch and WNY Drilling Defense
Please download, print and share this Flier.
Sponsored by: Food & Water Watch

"Lookin' at It": New Video Series on Nature, with a Twist

By Matt, Jason and Steve
The Crew of "Lookin' at it: A Nature Show"

We are a trio of University at Buffalo grads who spend so much time outside we figured we should try to share with the world why the region we live in is so special. We've started a Nature documentary, with a comedic twist. It promotes native species, local foods, urban farming, restoration and other topics. We really want people to become more of a hometown fan when it comes to local ecology. Maybe the more they enjoy watching stuff about it, the more they'll care.

Here is Episode 1: lookin' at us
This episode gives you a little taste of what you can expect out of this series. If you like it, tell your friends. If you don't like it, tell us!

Please subscribe on YouTube, like us on facebook, and tell your friends!

The really good music you hear on this episode is Moneycat. Please check them out on facebook!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Local City Councils to Vote on Hydrofracking Bans

~ Public Attendance Welcomed ~

Monday, March 5, 7pm at Niagara Falls City Hall [Map]
  • Niagara Falls resolution to ban fracking wastewater in the City
Tuesday, March 6, 2pm at Buffalo City Hall [Map]
  • Buffalo resolution to ban hydrofracking in New York State
Niagara Falls: Councilmen Fruscione and Choolokian worked with the Buffalo City Council to draft the Niagara Falls ordinance which will be on the Monday agenda. The Falls Council is to pass ordinance opposing hydraulic fracturing and treatment of 'fracking water' in the city facility. The Monday March 5, 4pm council meeting is the "work session" and is open to the public. The 7pm "official" public council meeting will include an opportunity for the public to speak on any agenda item prior to the council members voting. There is no public comment session at 4pm. Everyone is more than welcome to attend either or both meetings. If you would like to speak on the issue make sure to attend the 7pm meeting.

Buffalo: Vote at 2pm in Council Chambers on the 13th floor of Buffalo City Hall. Press conference in room 1417 at 4pm. With reports circling that hydraulic fracturing (a.k.a. hydrofracking or fracking) may begin this year, the Buffalo Common Council will vote on a resolution to support a statewide ban, as well as addressing Governor Cuomo in a letter asking him not to go forward. This is a monumental and historic day not only for Buffalo, but for all of New York state, and for communities everywhere affected by gas drilling. In February 2011 Buffalo was the first city in New York state to pass municipal legislation opposing fracking and fracking waste in order to protect residents from drilling and waste disposal. Now, the second largest city in New York is standing up again, this time to protect it's neighbors. Join us for the vote and press conference! We need a great turn out to show community support in urging Gov. Cuomo to withdraw his proposal to open New York to fracking!
Contact Rita Yelda ( for additional information.

Buffalo Residents Call day to the Buffalo Common Council on MONDAY March 5, 8am-4pm. Click Here to find contact information and more details.

Anti-Fracking Rally at the NY State DEC - WNY Drilling Defense - Click photo to enlarge
Recently, the right of a town to ban gas drilling and fracking has been upheld in the NY Supreme Court. The court decision sets a precedent that citizens and their local governments can cite to legally ban gas drilling and fracking in other New York towns.