Saturday, December 14, 2013

Erie County Bans Fracking and Its Waste

The Buffalo News - 12.14.2013 -
We did it! After a year of tireless organizing, we've passed a fracking ban on Erie County-owned lands — and we've banned toxic fracking wastewater from entering our county.  

This was a landslide victory, with 9 out of the 11 legislators voting in support of the ban.

Without all of your hard work, this never could have happened. Here's what you and other Erie County residents have done in the past year to protect your water:
  • Collected 3,845 petition signatures
  • Spoke at a County Energy & Environment Committee meeting
  • Visited with several of our elected officials
  • Educated your friends and neighbors about fracking
  • Flooded the legislature with phone calls for an entire week this summer
  • Testified for a ban on fracking at last week's public hearing
  • Packed the room with anti-fracking signs at Thursday's vote
I'd also like to thank our bill sponsor, County Legislature Chair Betty Jean Grant, who stood on the side of the people and protected our air, land and water by introducing this bill. Will you join us in sending a thank you card to Legislator Grant and the other eight legislators who voted to pass this historic bill?

Our fight to protect New Yorkers from fracking is not yet over, but our victory in Erie County moves us one step closer.

Thank you for making this happen!   

Rita Yelda
Western NY Organizer,
Food & Water Watch,

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Hydrofracking News Briefs

Rejected drilling waste taken to Idaho

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has confirmed that containers holding radioactive drill cuttings that were rejected in April by the Max Environmental Technologies disposal site in South Huntingdon Township have been transported to Idaho for disposal.

“Rice Energy has informed us that they have removed the roll-off boxes containing the TENORM material,” said John Poister, spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. “They have provided us documentation that the material was sent to a U.S. Ecology site in Idaho for proper disposal.” TENORM is an acronym for technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material. It occurs when the levels of radioactivity that are present naturally are increased by human activities.

The Rice Energy truck carrying the drill cuttings from a Center Township well site set off the radiation warning system on April 19 while entering Max Environmental. The truck was immediately quarantined and tested to determine what type of radiation it contained, according to Poister. It was determined that the drill cuttings contained Radium 226 at a level of 96 microrem (mrem). Microrem is the measure of the biological effect of absorbed radiation.

Read more at SW Pennsylvania Observer-Reporter

Environmental group warns of fracking waste on NY roads

ALBANY—Despite a moratorium on fracking in New York State, more than a dozen municipalities have received state approval to spread a fracking byproduct on their roads.

The fluid, called production brine, can now be spread on roads in Wyoming, Erie, Cattaraugus, and Seneca counties, according to state documents obtained by Riverkeeper, a group that advocates for cleanup of the Hudson River.

An additional ten municipalities in Allegany and Steuben counties have received state permission to spread waste brine from natural gas storage.

Nine counties have banned the use of fracking brine on their roads because it contains pollutants, according to Riverkeeper scientist Bill Wegner. They include five along the Hudson River in the last year: Albany, Orange, Putnam, Westchester and Rockland.

Article and photo from Capital NY.

Texas drinking water makes pipes and plumbing radioactive

HOUSTON—Radiation has contaminated the underground pipes, water tanks, and plumbing that provide drinking water for much of Central Texas and the famed Texas Hill Country, according to concerned city officials in the region who have tested the pipes with Geiger counters. 

According to local officials, the contamination comes from years of exposure to drinking water that already tests over federal legal limits for radioactive radium. Of even more concern, they say, is that any water quality testing is done before the water runs through the contaminated pipes that could be adding even more radiation.

“It’s a serious concern,” City of Brady Manager James Minor said. “These pipes have so much radioactivity in them, metal recycling places refer to them as they’re ‘hot.’”

Read more at  KHOU TV

Protect Water & Health - Call Erie County Legislators

Risky procedures associated with shale gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and the disposal of its waste threaten drinking water purity and our health.

On December 12, 2013, the Erie County Legislature will vote on a proposed law to prohibit dangerous fracking, the disposal of its toxic and radioactive waste at county facilities and the spreading of fracking wastewater on roads.

Some legislators are still undecided about how they will vote. The proposed law might not be passed without additional pressure from concerned county residents.

Please call your legislator: Encourage them to co-sponsor the County ban on fracking and its waste (To find out the name of the legislator in your district and their office phone number, Click Here.)

Sample call script: “Hello my name is (full name) and I live in (town/city). I am calling to urge Legislator (last name) to co-sponsor the legislation to ban dangerous fracking and the toxic, radioactive waste it creates from entering Erie County.” 

If no one answers, you can leave a recorded message for your legislator.

Attend the vote if possible: Show your legislator that you care about clean drinking water and public health. The vote will occur on Thursday, December 12 at 2:00 pm in the County Legislature Chambers on the Fourth Floor of Old County Hall at 92 Franklin St., Buffalo (arrive early to allow time to pass through security). [MAP]

For additional information, visit WNY Drilling Defense.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Public Supports County Ban of Fracking and Drilling Waste

By David Kowalski  .

The Erie County Legislature is examining a proposed law to ban fracking on county-owned land, and to prohibit treating, disposal and road spreading of fracking and drilling wastes, which contain toxic and radioactive materials

About 75 people packed the Erie County Legislature Chambers for the final public hearing on the
                                             Photos / WNY Drilling Defense
proposed legislation.

Many of those in attendance signed up to speak and all who spoke were opposed to fracking and its waste. 

Erie County legislators said that throughout all of the meetings they've had about banning fracking on county land, no one has ever showed up to speak in favor of the fracking industry.

A box of petitions with 3,845 signatures of Erie County residents who support the proposed legislation was presented by Rita Yelda, organizer for New Yorkers Against Fracking and WNY Drilling Defense.

The Erie County Legislature will vote on the proposal on December 12th. Legislators Betty Jean Grant and Timothy Hogues cosponsored the legislation and said that they have five of the six votes needed for
County Legislators Betty Jean Grant and Timothy Hogues
it to pass.

"Nearly 15 counties across New York have stepped up to protect their residents against the dangers posed by fracking and fracking waste," Grant said. "Now it's Erie County's turn to take a stand and say that we will not allow fracking on our county land and we will now allow drilling waste to be stored or disposed of on county land."

Grant, however, noted that a ban would alleviate concerns over health issues related to fracking.
"This protects us from being exposed to the hundreds of dangerous chemicals used in the fracking process and from being exposed to the radioactive fracking waste," she said.

Below is a brief video (provided by WGRZ) that gives an overview of the proceedings:

If you are unable to view the video on your device, Click Here to view it at the WGRZ website.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Public Hearing: County Ban on Fracking & Its Waste

FINAL Public Hearing: Tuesday, December 3rd, 4:00 pm in County Legislature Chambers on the Fourth Floor of Old County Hall at 92 Franklin St., Buffalo.
Please attend to protect Erie County air, land, and water from fracking and its toxic waste.

LINK to Event Information is Here.

Monday, November 25, 2013


A Time to be Thankful for Family, Friends, Food and More.

The image is Norman Rockwell's painting "Freedom from Want" (1943), which is often referred to as 'The Thanksgiving Picture'. Rockwell inserted a partial self-portrait in the lower right corner.

The painting was inspired by the speech delivered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to Congress in his State of the Union address (1941). Roosevelt spoke about Four Freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom from fear, freedom of worship, and freedom from want.

Sustainable Design: Green Roofs, Walls & Homes

The WNY Sustainable Energy Association’s
Reitan Sustainability Speaker Series Presents:

"50 Shades of Green: Green Roofs, Walls and Homes"

When:  Tuesday December 3rd at 7pm

Where: Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, 341 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo

Free and Open to the Public!

Kevin Connors, Principal of eco-logic Studio, Architecture & Engineering PLLC and  
David Lanfear owner of Bale on Bale Construction and Green Top will present their latest green design projects that include the implementation of renewables, green roofs and walls! Don't miss this amazing night of sustainable design projects!
For more information please go to:

WNY Sustainable Energy Association
Promoting, Educating and Celebrating Sustainability In Western New York
Friend Us on Facebook at:

Monday, November 18, 2013

Public Meeting: Poloncarz to present Erie County Economic Development Plan

Mark C. Poloncarz, Erie County Executive, will present his Erie County Economic Development Plan at a Public meeting sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Buffalo/Niagara on Thursday, November 21, 2013 at the Harlem Road Community Center, 4255 Harlem Road, Amherst, NY 14226, from 5:30 – 7:00pm. [Map]

Poloncarz will detail his initiatives and provide a realistic blueprint of specific actions to enhance the quality of life in the county by leveraging assets and forming meaningful partnerships.

Key features:
• Action in support of regional land use planning: enhancing urban neighborhoods; containing urban sprawl; Protection of agricultural land and water quality.
• Support of strategic planning and management on a regional basis for the region-serving infrastructure, such as sewers, water, highways, etc.
• Action consistent with criteria for support of intergovernmental relationships
• Support of regional management: promotion, marketing and economic development of the region.
• Support of plans for Erie County waterfronts: protection and enhancement of the natural environment at the water's edge.
• Developing programs designed to address problems created by global warming and climate change.

Please join us for this informative and timely discussion.
The program is free and open to the public.
RSVP is not required. For more information, call the League office – 884-3550.

~ ~ ~

To obtain a copy of INITIATIVES FOR A SMART ECONOMY prepared under the direction of Mark C. Poloncarz, Erie County Executive, Click Here.

Towards a Sustainable and Just Economy

By Annie Leonard .

The Story of Solutions explores how we can move our economy in a more sustainable and just direction, starting with orienting ourselves toward a new goal.

In the current 'Game of More', we're told to cheer a growing economy -- more roads, more malls, more Stuff ! -- even though our health indicators are worsening, income inequality is growing and polar icecaps are melting.

But what if we changed the point of the game? What if the goal of our economy wasn't more, but better -- better health, better jobs and a better chance to survive on the planet?

Shouldn't that be what winning means?

Earlier videos from Annie Leonard posted at Re-ENERGIZE Buffalo:

Energy Debate: Shale vs. Renewable

On Tuesday, November 19, from 12 noon to 1 PM on Buffalo's WUFO-AM 1080
radio, host Jim Anderson will interview Chris Faulkner, CEO of Breitling Oil and Gas.

The privately-held Dallas Texas based company extracts oil and gas from North Dakota's Bakken Shale, Texas' Eagle Ford Shale, the Marcellus Shale, and several other shale plays.

Accompanying Jim Anderson will be:
  • Lynda Schneekoth, Chair, Sierra Club-Niagara Group
  • Robert Ciesielski, Chair, Sierra Club-Niagara Group's Energy Committee
  • Rita Yelda, Organizer, Food and Water Watch
  • Charley Bowman, Chair, Renewable Energy Task Force of the WNY Peace Center.

Listeners with questions/comments can call: 716-837-1112
Folks outside WUFO's range can listen to the debate Online at:

Friday, November 15, 2013

Cuomo Visit: Rally - No Fracking, Yes Renewable Energy

Governor Andrew Cuomo is coming to Buffalo to host a fundraiser at the Hyatt Regency Hotel for his re-election in 2014. The governor's local donors and supporters will be there. 

WNY Drilling Defense is calling on local citizens to show up and Rally For Renewable Energy and Against Fracking. See their Facebook page for more information.
  • WHAT:  Rally - No Fracking, Yes Renewable Energy
  • WHEN: Tuesday, November 19, 5:00 p.m.
  • WHERE:  Outside the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Corner of W. Huron St. & Pearl St., Buffalo

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Talks on Adventures of Ken Ilgunas - Author and UB Grad

  "Trespassing across America: One UB Grad's Epic, 1,700-mile (and sort of Illegal) Hike along the Keystone XL Pipeline." 

A TALK by 
3:00-5:00 p.m.
120 Clemens Hall -- UB North Campus [Map]
Read Ken Ilgunas' article published at Salon.

Ilgunas will present a different talk on TUESDAY, November 19:
"I lived in a van down by Duke University: One UB Grad's Adventurous Account of Living Debt-Free." 
1:30-3:20 p.m.
Undergraduate Academies, 17 Norton Hall -- UB North Campus [Map]
Ilgunas published a book about his adventures entitled "Walden on Wheels: On The Open Road from Debt to Freedom." 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Frackers and GOP Pols Meet Today in Buffalo [11/07 UPDATE - DEMs Rally Video]

Erie County DEMs to host a rally outside the meeting place.

Buffalo, the first town in the State to ban fracking, is the site of a meeting of the Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York (IOGA-NY), which lobbies for fracking (The logo they submitted for the "I LOVE NY" campaign has a drilling rig in place of a heart).

Ed Cox, NY State GOP Chairman, will be a keynote speaker at the IOGA-NY meeting today. Cox, a pro-fracker and board member of a gas drilling company, is reported to be out to attack Gov. Cuomo for refusing to approve fracking for shale gas in the NY Southern Tier.

Scheduled to participate in a "Legislative Session" at the IOGA-NY meeting with Cox is a group of Republican legislators, including Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, Assemblyman David DiPietro, Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, Senator Michael Ranzenhofer, Assemblyman Robin Schimminger, Assemblyman Raymond Walter, and Congressman Tom Reed (Invited).

A "Meet & Greet the Legislators" Cocktail Reception will precede the speech by Cox.

No Democrats are listed in the IOGA-NY meeting program.

Democrats will host a Rally
The Erie County Democratic committee is hosting a rally today, Wednesday, Nov. 6, outside the Hyatt Regency Hotel, the IOGA-NY meeting place. On the rally event page the E.C. DEMs wrote:
Join our progressive allies as we rally to counter NY GOP Ed Cox speech at the Independent Oil and Gas Association in Buffalo.
The rally will be held at 5:30pm-7pm today at Roosevelt Plaza, corner of Main and E. Huron Streets, across the street from the Hyatt [MAP].

The Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter sent an email message yesterday urging members and supporters to attend the rally and to bring anti-fracking and pro-clean energy signs and banners.

UPDATE - Video: Watch a video of Wednesday's Rally courtesy of WNYmedia.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

FORUM - Clean Energy And Good Jobs

Wednesday, November 13th at 6:00 PM - Clean Energy and Good Jobs   
Please attend this important Working Families Party forum at the UAW Hall at 35 George Karl Blvd (off Wherle near Transit - MAP).  Labor and climate activists need to come together and press for clean energy and good jobs if we are to survive the climate crisis.  Come hear economist Janette Barth and local union officials. 

Slide Show: Shale Gas Potential in New York

The slide show was produced and narrated by Jerry Acton, a Systems Engineer & Systems Architect (retired) at IBM and Lockheed. Acton describes an analytical procedure he developed that uses shale gas production data from Pennsylvania (PA) together with the depth and thickness of the Marcellus Shale along the PA-NY border to forecast shale gas production in New York and its economic impact.

A written report based on Acton's findings is HERE.

Friday, November 1, 2013

New York Lacks Economically Recoverable Shale Gas

Black diamonds represent uneconomic drilling (see text) -- Jerry Acton.
New York Shale Play Gets Major Downgrade

By Peter Mantius

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — The real reason New York State has not allowed high-volume hydrofracking for natural gas in its Marcellus shale is that there is almost no gas that can be economically extracted, according to four retired professionals turned fracking analysts.

Their argument contradicts the gas industry’s narrative – widely accepted as fact by many landowners, investors, politicians and state regulators – that shale gas is a potential economic “game-changer” for poor, rural upstate New York.

For the past four years, two governors have repeatedly extended the state’s de facto moratorium on fracking while they tinkered with the rules. Since last fall, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he is waiting for the results of a vaguely defined health study, frustrating pro-gas groups with his apparent lack of urgency.

But the four analysts now argue that it’s geology – not health – that best explains Cuomo’s foot-dragging. In the governor’s cost-benefit analysis, they say, meager potential economic gains from drilling are not worth the environmental and political risk.

“The vast majority of the New York Marcellus shale is too thin (less than 150 feet thick) and too shallow (less than 4,500 feet) to yield economically recoverable natural gas,” said Jerry Acton, a retired systems engineer for IBM and Lockheed Martin who based his conclusions on drilling production results from neighboring Pennsylvania, where fracking is allowed.

Acton crunched four years of publicly available data supplied to regulators by Pennsylvania drillers. His analysis covered all 1,539 active natural gas wells drilled into the Marcellus shale in six counties that border New York. Acton found that median production results [Figure: Median IP chart, colored bars] for specific towns and counties [colored circles on map] correlate closely with the depth [white lines] and thickness [black lines & numbers] of the shale layer drilled. The deeper and thicker, the better.

That finding points to trouble for drilling prospects in New York, Acton said, because its Marcellus layer is relatively shallow and thin. While a cluster of Pennsylvania gas wells only 40 miles southwest of Binghamton have been highly successful, they tap a Marcellus layer that is much thicker and deeper than any in New York. As Pennsylvania drillers moved west of that sweet spot into thinner, shallower sections with geology similar to New York’s, gas production levels plummeted.

Read more at DC Bureau.

See also this economics report: Hyped Benefits of Fracked Gas Already Fading
By Deborah Rogers at EcoWatch

Community Workshops - One Region Forward

Join Us for Scenario Planning Workshops Across the Region this November

Scenario planning will allow citizens to put those Regional Values into concrete terms and decide where to make investments and what strategies to pursue to get us closer to our shared Regional Vision and Values.

In a series of highly interactive, hands-on workshops, One Region Forward will ask participants to work together mapping their future approach to land use, development, housing and transportation for our region.

Register to attend a workshop
A Week of Workshops are scheduled for November 12-16th across the region.  Join us and tell us what your future Buffalo Niagara looks like!
  • NOV 12th 6pm – 8pm: Amherst Central High School, Amherst
  • NOV 13th 6pm – 8pm: City Honors School, Buffalo
  • NOV 14th 6pm – 8pm: Parkdale Elementary School, East Aurora
  • NOV 15th 6pm – 8pm: Starpoint Central High School, Pendleton
  • NOV 16th 12pm – 2pm: Niagara Power Project Visitors Center, Lewiston

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Remembering Superstorm Sandy - It's Time to Act on Climate

Fossil fuels divestment campaign is gathering momentum
From university students to church groups, a united global effort will politically bankrupt the fossil fuel industry.

By Bill McKibben   
| Environment |

The world has a choice when dealing with climate change. One is to decide it's a problem like any other, which can be dealt with slowly and over time. The other is to recognise it as a crisis, perhaps the unique crisis in human history, which will take rapid, urgent action to overcome.

Science is in the second, scared camp – that's the meaning of the IPCC report issued last month, which showed that our planet is already undergoing climatic shifts far greater than any experienced in human civilisation, with far worse to come.

And those of us urging divestment from fossil fuel stocks are in the second camp too – we recognise that business as usual is quite simply impossible.

In the US, a number of colleges, churches, and universities have begun to divest those stocks, arguing that they can't both simultaneously decry the wreckage of the climate and try to profit from it for a few more years.

The trustees of San Francisco State University recognised that it made no sense to have, on the one hand, a physics department understanding climate change and on the other hand, an endowment full of oil and gas stocks.

The United Church of Christ, which traces its roots back to the Pilgrims, decided it couldn't pay the pastor by investing in companies that are running Genesis backwards.

In addition, UK university students are increasingly engaged in divestment campaigns as evidenced by the work undertaken by People & Planet. To date there are 19 active divestment campaigns across the UK including universities with the largest endowments: Cambridge, Oxford and Edinburgh.

Everyone involved in this campaign understands that divestment won't in fact bankrupt Exxon or BP or Shell, but they also understand how important it is to politically bankrupt them. These are now rogue industries, committed to burning more carbon than any government on earth thinks would be safe to burn. Their irresponsibility belongs to their executives and boards of directors – but it also belongs to anyone who holds their shares. If you think that climate change is a true crisis, then the time has come to sever your ties.

Read the full article here.
~ ~ ~

  ~ Superstorm Sandy Hit New York One Year Ago Today ~

TONIGHT: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 7:00 PM
Sierra Club Niagara Group will remember Sandy and screen “Comfort Zone” -- a one hour film on what Climate Change will do to Western New York.

Place: Schenck Hall at Daemen College, Main Street in Snyder [Campus Map]
The program is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Shale Gas -- Revolution or Bubble?

Pennsylvania fracking boom goes bust
By Will Bunch, Daily News Staff Writer
It was just a couple of years ago that fracking was booming in upstate Pennsylvania's Bradford County, and Janet Geiger, a retired hospital worker living on a 10-acre spread near the New York border, could count on getting a $300 to $400 check every month from the gas giant Chesapeake Energy Corp., which was drilling under her land.

But both the gas and the checks - with the financially ailing Chesapeake now claiming big deductions - dwindled until finally, in March, a check never showed up. "I thought the mail had gotten lost," said Geiger, 74, but after a week she finally reached someone with the Oklahoma gas driller who explained "they didn't have a buyer [for the gas] that month."

But Geiger said that she'd already seen the signs of a slowdown, that rural streets once clogged with the massive trucks of the drilling firms were mostly empty now, while new motels that had been hastily thrown up or expanded to accommodate a flood of out-of-state workers had only a couple of cars in the parking lots.
Read more at the Philadelphia Inquirer.

US shale gas project 'biggest regret' for outgoing Shell boss
Outgoing Shell chief executive Peter Voser says in an interview with the Financial Times his biggest regret during his time at the company is the failure of the company’s huge bet on US shale gas.
The Financial Times says Shell has invested at least $24bn in so-called unconventional oil and gas in North America. But the investment has yet to pay off and in August Shell said it would carry out a ‘strategic review’ of its US shale activities.

‘Unconventionals did not exactly play out as planned,’ Voser is quoted as saying.

He also admitted exploration results in US shale beds had been disappointing. ‘We expected higher flow rates and therefore more scalability for a company like Shell,’ he said.
Read more at Dutch News.

Shale Bubble

We’re being told that – thanks to technological advances like hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling – the US is undergoing an energy revolution, leading us in a few short years to become once again the world’s biggest oil producer and an exporter of natural gas. According to the Oil & Gas Industry and their proponents, “fracking” will provide the US with energy security, low energy prices for the foreseeable future, more than a million jobs, and economic growth.

Pointing to record low natural gas prices and increased production, policymakers and the media on both sides of the political aisle, as well as investors and utilities, have bought the hype and are shifting their plans and proposals with the expectation that the shale revolution is here to stay.

The Reality is that the so-called shale revolution is nothing more than a bubble, driven by record levels of drilling, speculative lease & flip practices on the part of shale energy companies, fee-driven promotion by the same investment banks that fomented the housing bubble, and by unsustainably low natural gas prices. Geological and economic constraints – not to mention the very serious environmental and health impacts of drilling – mean that shale gas and shale oil (tight oil) are far from the solution to our energy woes.
See the full report at 

US shale gas project 'biggest regret' for outgoing Shell boss

Monday 07 October 2013
Outgoing Shell chief executive Peter Voser says in an interview with the Financial Times his biggest regret during his time at the company is the failure of the company’s huge bet on US shale gas.
The FT says Shell has invested at least $24bn in so-called unconventional oil and gas in North America. But the investment has yet to pay off and in August Shell said it would carry out a ‘strategic review’ of its US shale activities.

‘Unconventionals did not exactly play out as planned,’ Voser is quoted as saying.
He also admitted exploration results in US shale beds had been disappointing. ‘We expected higher flow rates and therefore more scalability for a company like Shell,’ he said.
- See more at:

US shale gas project 'biggest regret' for outgoing Shell boss

Monday 07 October 2013
Outgoing Shell chief executive Peter Voser says in an interview with the Financial Times his biggest regret during his time at the company is the failure of the company’s huge bet on US shale gas.
The FT says Shell has invested at least $24bn in so-called unconventional oil and gas in North America. But the investment has yet to pay off and in August Shell said it would carry out a ‘strategic review’ of its US shale activities.

‘Unconventionals did not exactly play out as planned,’ Voser is quoted as saying.
He also admitted exploration results in US shale beds had been disappointing. ‘We expected higher flow rates and therefore more scalability for a company like Shell,’ he said.
- See more at:

Wendell Berry - Visionary, Author, Farmer, Activist

Introduction and Video from Moyers & Company.

 Wendell Berry, a quiet and humble man, has become an outspoken advocate for revolution. He urges immediate action as he mourns how America has turned its back on the land and rejected Jeffersonian principles of respect for the environment and sustainable agriculture. In a rare television interview (video, below), this visionary, author, and farmer discusses a sensible, but no-compromise plan to save the Earth.

Bill Moyers profiles Berry, a man of the land and one of America’s most influential writers. Berry's prolific career includes more than forty books of poetry, novels, short stories and essays. The interview was taped in Kentucky during a conference celebrating Wendell Berry’s life and ideas and marking the 35th anniversary of the publication of his landmark book, The Unsettling of America.

Berry lives and works on the Kentucky farm where his family has tilled the soil for 200 years. He’s a man of action as well as words. In 2011, he joined a four-day sit-in at the Kentucky governor’s office to protest mountaintop mining, a brutally destructive method of extracting coal.

Moyers explores Berry’s views on civil disobedience as well as his strong opposition to agribusiness and massive industrial farms. They also discuss Berry’s support for sustainable farming and the local food movement.

“My belief is that the world and our life in it are conditional gifts,” Berry tells Moyers. “We have the world to live in on the condition that we will take good care of it. And to take good care of it we have to know it. And to know it and to be willing to take care of it, we have to love it.”

New Programs at Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve

Programs Explore Writings of Aldo Leopold; Power of Animals    
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will be hosting two special programs at Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve in Cheektowaga.

On Saturday, November 9 at 1:00 p.m., Reinstein Woods Naturalist Intern Ben Carpenter will host "Axe in Hand: An introductory discussion of Land Ethic." The program will start with an introduction to the written work of Aldo Leopold, considered by many to be the father of wildlife management and of the United States’ wilderness system. The round table discussion will explore excerpts from his historic text on conservation, A Sand County Almanac
Group members will be discussing Leopold's essay, Land Ethic, and what its implications are for the contemporary sustainability movement. In 1949, Leopold called for a land ethic that “enlarges the boundaries of the [moral] community to include soils, water, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land.” 
The dialogue will be followed by an interpretive walk through Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve, with discussion and reflection on themes from the book set in the local and regional contexts. Light refreshments will be served.

On Sunday, November 17 at 1:00 p.m., families are invited to attend “The Power Animals of Reinstein Woods: What Does the Fox Really Say?” This family-friendly tour of Reinstein Woods will explore local Native American traditions that relate to wildlife. Many native beliefs include the idea that animals can teach us important lessons to guide us through our lives. Using animal Medicine Cards, participants will receive insight and life lessons from the local animals that live at Reinstein Woods.

Both programs are free, however registration is required. To register, call (716) 683-5959.
Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve is located at 93 Honorine Drive, off of Como Park Boulevard in Cheektowaga [MAP]. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

VIDEO: True Climate Stories


This is just a movie, but climate change is very real. We’re already seeing the impacts all around us with more intense wildfires, droughts, floods, and extreme weather events. And scientists tell us if we don’t take action, things are only going to get worse.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We already have many of the solutions we need to solve the climate crisis and we’re developing new technologies every year. By taking action together, and pressuring our politicians to stand up to the fossil fuel industry and push for real climate action, we can help prevent the worst impacts of climate change.

Climate change is a true story, but the ending is up to us.

~ ~ ~
Remember the impacts of Superstorm Sandy in New York City, New Jersey and elsewhere?

Learn about impacts of climate change in Western New York. Attend a film screening of "Comfort Zone" on Tuesday, October 29 at 7:00pm
For more information, Click Here.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Screening: "Comfort Zone" -- Climate Change Impacts in WNY

~ In commemoration of Superstorm Sandy ~

Sierra Club Niagara Group will show “Comfort Zone” -- a one hour film on what climate change will do to Western New York.

Comfort Zone brings the global issue of climate change to a local and personal level. It's the story of what happens when we try to translate this global problem to our individual lives. What is at stake? What can I do about it? What if dealing with this problem asks things of me that I'm not yet ready to give? The climate is already changing. Now what about us?
Date: Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Time: 7:00pm
Place: Schenck Hall at Daemen College, Main Street in Snyder across from Amherst Central High School [Campus Map]

The program is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.
For more information on Comfort Zone, visit

FORUM: Shale Gas Potential in NY State [Update: 10.26]

[Click image to enlarge]
Printable Posters are Here

Map to the Presentation at Cornell University is Here

UPDATE - 10.26.2013: How much Shale Gas could be Produced in NY State?
Video - Chip Northrup interviewed on Capital Tonight 

Tell Governor Cuomo to Lead on Clean Energy

A clean energy economy is the future New Yorkers want and deserve. But investment is not moving fast enough under Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The governor committed to solar energy with the NY SUN initiative, but his administration no longer plans to deliver the promised 30% renewable energy portfolio by 2015.

Wind energy in NY lags far behind states like Iowa. New York will be unable to meet our renewable energy goals without wind power.

These delays are denying New Yorkers job opportunities in manufacturing, installation, and maintenance of clean, renewable energy.

Tell Andrew Cuomo that New York State should be a national leader and not take a backseat to Iowa, South Dakota and Texas. Demand a major, enforceable wind energy commitment from him today.

TAKE ACTION: Please endorse the Petition. Thank You!

Friday, October 4, 2013

NY Public Health Expert Urges Fracking Ban

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Health experts ask Governor Andrew Cuomo to ban hydrofracking in the state of New York on Thursday. The main concern of the speakers in Albany was air contamination.

According to representatives from the Environment New York and Policy Center, fracking has the potential to release harmful gases and carcinogens capable of causing respiratory problems. Speakers say we can afford to wait until a safer process is developed to harvest New York's natural gases.

"I am convinced that industry in New York could develop ways where we wouldn't contaminate the air, we wouldn't contaminate the water and we would not cause major threats to human health. But until those methodologies and those technologies are in place, I strongly urge Governor Cuomo to not allow fracking in New York State," said David Carpenter, UAlbany School of Public Health Former Dean.

Another speaker said hydrofracking created 280 billion gallons of waste water last year alone. The group says in order to completely understand public health impacts, we need to measure the amount of pollution hydrofracking creates.

For more information on the new report from Environment New York, visit

Full report at YNN: Fracking pollution report released  

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Shale Gas Science is Topic of Visiting Professor

Dr. Anthony Ingraffea, from the Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Cornell University, will speak on: 
The Science of Shale Gas: The Latest Evidence on Leaky Wells, Emissions, and Implications for Policy .
  • Thursday, October 3, 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Dr. Ingraffea will present scientific facts to consider in the debate over the use of hydraulic fracturing in natural gas extraction in New York State.

The event is free and open to the public.  

Parking: Science Hall Parking Ramp at the corner of Jefferson and E. Delvan Ave.
~ Sponsored by the Western New York Division of the American Chemical Society ~

Exerting Local Authority over Shale Gas Development

UB Geography Colloquium Series presents:

Susan Christopherson .
Professor, Dept. of City and Regional Planning,
Cornell University

A Vote of ‘No Confidence’? 
Why Local Governments Take Action in Response to Shale Gas Development

Friday, October 4, 2013, 3:15p.m.
WILKESON 145H (inside GIAL Computing Lab), UB North Campus, Amherst [Map]

Why has a local response to high volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) shale gas development emerged?  To understand why many New York communities have moved to exercise local authority or “home rule” over natural gas development, we examine how they came to understand (1) the risks attendant to HVHF, and (2) their strategic and regulatory options.  An answer to these questions looks at the concerns that have framed the public discussion, and at how key local actors evaluated industry and state government willingness or capacity to address those concerns. 

BIO:  Susan Christopherson is an economic geographer whose research and teaching focus on economic development, urban labor markets, and location patterns in service industries, particularly media industries. Her research includes both international and U.S.-policy-oriented projects. Her international research includes studies in Canada, Mexico, China, Germany, and Jordan as well as multi-country studies. In the past three years she has completed studies on advanced manufacturing in New York’s Southern Tier, the photonics industry in Rochester, the role of universities and colleges in revitalizing the upstate New York economy, and production trends affecting media industries in New York City. She has written more than 50 articles and 25 policy reports on topics in economic geography and economic development. Her current projects include studies of phoenix industries in old industrial regions and a comprehensive economic impact analysis of natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale in New York and Pennsylvania. Christopherson received her Ph.D. from the University of California-Berkeley.

Light refreshments will be served.

For more info on the Colloquium Series, contact Marion Werner <>.


CONFERENCE: World on Your Plate

For more information, visit or call 716-839-8524.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Local Keystone XL activists 'Draw the Line' on pipeline proposal

By Jennifer Lysiak, Lancaster Editor | News
Wednesday September 25, 2013

LANCASTER- To bring awareness to local communities and send a message to U.S. President Barrack Obama, more than 200 groups in 49 states rallied together last Saturday against the Keystone XL pipeline, the expansion of the Canadian tar sands, and other dirty energy projects that are worsening the climate crisis.

“The National Day of Action” called “Draw the Line” rallies were led by, a grass roots movement that is helping lead the fight against the Keystone XL pipeline, pushing for fossil fuel divestment, and organizing global power shift.

Right here in Lancaster, a handful of concerned citizens, part of the organization, held signs protesting and demanding that President Obama deny the permit for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

“ is a global organization dedicated to combating the climate crisis,” said Lancaster resident, Alison Schweichler, LCSW. “So, it takes different forms in different areas. One center issue we have been working on is the Keystone XL pipeline and the decision for this pipeline is in President Obama’s hands. They took the initiative to plan this day of action against the pipeline.”

The number 350 stands for the quantity of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. What many believe is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Activist Dave Kowalski explained back in pre-industrial times the level was 280 parts per million and today it is 400.

“So, it keeps climbing and it just hasn’t stopped, because more and more fossil fuels are burning around the world,” said Kowalski. “The scientist that choose 350, James Hansen, picked that number from looking back in time and determining that it was the safest upper level of carbon dioxide during which civilization has evolved. Anything above that number we need to worry about it and start cutting back on fossil fuels burning.”

Unless there is a decrease, the risk of reaching tipping points and irreversible impacts such as the melting of the Greenland ice sheet and major methane releases from increased permafrost melt could happen.

Schweichler commented they made not live where the pipeline is happening, but there are dangers it brings to other areas.

“It might not be in our backyard, but this pipeline would bring very dirty tar sands oil from Canada which contributes to global warming and harms people all around the world,” remarked Schweichler.

More than 1,500 people have been arrested to stop Keystone XL and on Feb. 17 more than 40,000 people went to Washington to express to the president that Keystone XL is not in the national interest. Credo Mobile, Other 98 and Rainforest Action Network have collected pledges from more than 75,000 people who are willing to risk arrest to stop the pipeline. A diverse coalition of environmentalists, inner-city residents living near refineries, and rural landowners have come together to oppose the pipeline’s southern leg in Texas as well.

In June, pipeline opponents were heartened by Obama’s Georgetown climate comments about Keystone XL when he stated he would oppose the pipeline if it would “significantly” increase greenhouse gas emission.

According to Schweichler, independent analysts, environmentalists, and the tar sands industry all agree that Keystone XL will increase emissions and is the lynch pin to the industry’s stated goal of increasing production from today’s 2 million barrels per day (bpd) to 6 bpd million by 2030.

Over the project’s 50-year timeline, Keystone XL would add between 935 million and 1.2 billion metric tons of carbon pollution to our atmosphere at a time when the World Bank and International Energy Administration are warning that some 66 percent of known fossil fuel reserves must be kept in the ground if we are to have even a small chance at stopping the climate crisis.

“We want to hold Obama to his word that he cares about climate change and he is going to do something about it,” said Kowalski. “So, this is a test.”

Schweichler said while the proposed pipeline has brought everyone together, it connects all of them to a whole host of other issues, including saying no to dangerous, dirty fossil fuels and yes to renewable energy.

The day also focused on reminding the community about the risks of fracking, a natural gas drilling technique that goes miles underground to break up shale rock using water, sand, and toxic chemicals.