Sunday, April 28, 2013

Walking Relay and Fair for Renewable Energy

SUNDAY, April 28 Event 
calling for the 
Expansion of Clean, Renewable Energy in NY

Niagara County, NY -- On Sunday, April 28 at 1:00 pm the Niagara Group of the Sierra Club and the Beyond Coal Campaign are sponsoring a Walking Relay for Renewables and Renewable Energy Fair, hosted by Singer Farm Naturals.

Moms, dads, kids, students, activists, and community members will pass a solar torch from the nearby Somerset coal-fired power station to Singer Farm Naturals, a farm business powered by wind and solar energy. This event symbolizes moving beyond coal, gas, and nuclear to a clean, renewable energy economy for New York.

Relay for Renewables is part of Sierra Club’s WNY Clean Energy Campaign kick-off featuring billboards, print ads, and grassroots events throughout the region – calling on Governor Cuomo to meet and extend New York’s renewable energy commitments. Dirty-fuel sources like coal are responsible for 40% of New York State’s greenhouse gas emissions.

WHAT: Walking Relay for Renewables and Renewable Energy Fair featuring family
friendly activities, a solar-powered band, food, and great presentations on
solar, wind, geothermal, and energy efficiency.

WHEN:          Sunday, April 28 -- Relay Ceremony begins at 1:00pm

WHERE:        Singer Farm Naturals, 6730 Lake Road (Route 18) Appleton, NY [Map]

WHO:             Hosted by Tom and Vivianne Szulist at Singer Farm Naturals 
                        Sponsored by Niagara Sierra Club and the Beyond Coal Campaign
                        Music by Solar Punch

Renewable Energy Fair starts after the Relay.
Participants to include renewable energy companies Solar Liberty and Simply Solar, and Speakers
Tom Thompson: New York Solar Energy Society
Frank Westgate (wind),
Tom Szulist  (efficiency),
Bill Nowak (geothermal)

POSTER:  Click here.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Gov. Cuomo: Protect our Health and Safety from Fracking

Governor Cuomo has promised to complete the "most comprehensive health review ever done" on the potential public health risks of fracking before making any decisions regarding whether or not to allow the practice in New York State.

Over two dozen environmental and public health organizations have launched to remind the Governor of his promise to put the health and safety of New Yorkers first.  If you have not already done so, please take a moment to show your support and let the Governor know that you haven’t forgotten his words.

Take Action: Call Governor Cuomo today at (866) 584-6799 and tell him that he must keep his promise to protect our health and safety, and wait for the science and facts from critical health studies before making a decision about whether to move forward on fracking.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Governor Cuomo: Build a Renewable Energy Economy

On April 16, 2013, the Sierra Club urged NY Governor Cuomo to take aggressive action towards building a renewable energy economy. The campaign calls for job-creating renewable energy in areas that could benefit from the transition away from fossil fuels.

“Specifically, we’re asking Gov. Andrew Cuomo to take administrative action to meet and extend the state’s renewable-energy goals … instead of any continued investment in fossil fuels,” said Lynda H. Schneekloth, chairwoman of the Sierra Club, Niagara Group at a news conference on the Buffalo waterfront in view of the Steel Winds wind turbines [video report].
Schneekloth said Cuomo's pledge to invest $1.5 billion in solar energy through the NY-Sun Initiative is a very good start, but "much more can be done to keep pace with other states."  

Cornell Professor Robert W. Howarth spoke at the Buffalo news conference in support of renewable energy in terms of its feasibility and its economic and public health benefits. Howarth is co-author of a new peer-reviewed publication entitled "Examining the feasibility of converting New York State's all-purpose energy infrastructure to one using wind, water and sunlight."

Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster said “Niagara Falls was in the forefront of renewable energy a century ago with the creative development of hydroelectricity. It’s time we reclaim that advantage and aggressively push for clean, renewable energy here in New York.”

Take Action: Send an email message to Gov. Cuomo.

Other groups represented at the news conference included WNY Drilling Defense, Wind Action Group, WNY Peace Center, Clean Air Coalition of WNY, Riverside Salem United Church of Christ, PUSH Buffalo, WNY Council for Occupational Safety and Health, Re-ENERGIZE Buffalo, Residents for Responsible Government, and Partnership for the Public Good. 

The Sierra Club's "Turn, Not Burn"campaign was advertised on billboards (image above) and in newspaper ads (see below) in Buffalo, Rochester, Binghamton, Auburn and Albany.

[Click image to enlarge]

Earth Day Lobby Day in Albany

The 23rd Annual Earth Day Lobby Day will be held on Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013 at the State Capitol in Albany, New York. 

Hundreds of citizens from every corner of New York State will meet with their state lawmakers and show their support for the environment. This year's Earth Day Lobby Day will focus on critically important environmental issues such as expanding solar energy, curbing greenhouse gas emissions, keeping toxic chemicals out of children’s products, and protecting New York from the dangers of hydrofracking.

Specifically we will be lobbying on the following environmental “Super Bills”:
  • Fracking Moratorium and Health Impacts Assessment: A5424A/S4236A
  • Climate Protection Act: A6327, S735
  • New York Solar Bill: A5060/S2522
  • Child Safe Products Act: A6328/S4614
This year, for the first time ever, the environmental community will also join together in calling for Campaign Finance Reform as a key plank in our legislative platform. Too often, good environmental bills are blocked in the state legislature because of big spending by special interests. Reform of Albany's "pay to play" system is needed and long-overdue.

Earth Day Lobby Day 2013 is being sponsored by Adirondack Council, Adirondack Mountain Club, Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Citizen Action of New York, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Clean and Healthy New York, Environmental Advocates of New York, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, New York Interfaith Power and Light, New York League of Conservation Voters, New York Public Interest Research Group, Open Space Institute/Alliance for NYS Parks, Parks & Trails New York, Protect the Adirondacks, Riverkeeper, Sierra Club, Vote Solar Initiative, and other organizations.

The day’s events will last from 9:30 to 3:00. The morning program will take place in Hearing Room C of the Legislative Office Building. You must be registered to participate in afternoon lobbying activities.

 If you have any questions, please contact Diana Pedi at

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Sierra Club Launches Statewide Renewable Energy Campaign

Event in Buffalo kicks off Renewable Energy Week Asking Governor Cuomo: “Let’s Turn, Not Burn.” 
Buffalo, NY: On Tuesday, April 16, the Sierra Club Niagara Group will join with Western New York Council on Occupational Safety & Health, WNY Drilling Defense, WNY Peace Center, Clean Air Coalition of Western New York, PUSH Buffalo, Re-ENERGIZE Buffalo, Riverside-Salem United Church of Christ, Wind Action Group, and Residents for Responsible Government to hold a press conference on the Buffalo waterfront at Dug’s Dive to launch the “Let’s Turn, Not Burn” campaign. It kicks off Sierra Club’s Renewable Energy Week, which includes events across the state and a robust advertising campaign in Buffalo, Rochester, Binghamton, Auburn and Albany calling on Governor Cuomo to take administrative action to create jobs and grow the economy with renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power.
WHAT:  Press conference to launch Renewable Energy Week in New York State
  • Prof. Robert Howarth of Cornell University
  • Mayor Paul Dyster of Niagara Falls
  • Bob Ciesielski Energy Committee Chair, Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter and Niagara Group
  • Erin Heaney, Director, Clean Air Coalition of Western New York
  • Lynda Schneekloth, Chair of Sierra Club Niagara Group
WHEN: Tuesday, April 16 at 10:00 a.m.
WHERE:  Buffalo waterfront at Dug’s Dive, 1111 Fuhrmann Boulevard, Buffalo, New York 14203
VISUALS: Fully operational wind turbines visible from the location, banners, people with signs
At a time when the state’s remaining coal plants are increasingly uneconomical, the “Let’s Turn, Not Burn” campaign is asking the Governor use his administrative power to bring job-creating renewable energy online to replace outdated coal, gas and nuclear plants, and meet and extend the state’s renewable energy goals. Upstate New York is well positioned to benefit from a renewable energy economy because of its potential for both wind and solar power and ready work force. Developing these sources would cut dangerous pollution and fulfill the Governor’s commitment to economic development in upstate.

Update 4.16.2013, 1pm:  Click here to see photos of event and full page Buffalo News ad.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Hydrofracking Updates

Yes, a Drilling Moratorium.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013 by: Times Union Editorial Board. 

Our opinion: The Legislature should pass a moratorium on fracking while multiple studies are under way.

Whether you feel that natural gas fracking is the economic salvation of New York or an environmental disaster waiting to happen, there is one indisputable fact about it: The science is not in. Not by a long shot. And that’s why a moratorium in New York makes sense.

State leaders who have vowed to let science guide their decision on whether to allow high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing could show they mean what they say by declaring that the idea is off the table at least until some serious study is done.

While the industry’s persistent public relations campaign has portrayed fracking as clean and safe, we simply don’t know if that’s true. At least five studies are under way or being considered on fracking as scientists and health researchers seek answers.


Note: The New York Assembly has already voted to ban fracking for two more years.
The moratorium would last until May 15, 2015. In the meantime, the Assembly bill calls for the State University of New York to conduct an independent, comprehensive health review (A5424A-2013).

A similar bill to ban fracking for two more years was introduced by the Independent Democratic Conference in the Senate (S4236A-2013).
However, the GOP is against the moratorium and they prefer to wait instead for Governor Cuomo’s health commissioner to complete an ongoing review. Read more here.
UPDATE 4.9.2013 --  Letter: Governor Cuomo, insist on a drilling moratorium
To the editor of the Times Union -- Published Friday, April 5, 2013

On behalf of a bipartisan group of more than 635 local elected officials from all 62 counties across New York, we agree with the Times Union's editorial in support of a moratorium on fracking. Wisely, the Times Union cited a growing majority of New Yorkers who question the safety of fracking: "Safe? Prove it. We can wait."

We can — and must — hold off. Elected Officials to Protect New York, whose signatories represent more than 13.5 million New Yorkers, has long been calling for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to maintain the moratorium on fracking. An informed decision cannot be made until analyses have evaluated the health, economic and cumulative environmental impacts on local communities.

The facts and science are not in. New concerns arise weekly.  Read more here.

TAKE ACTION: Call Governor Cuomo at  518-474-8390 and let him know your opinion about hydrofracking in NY State.

3rd NY Town Wins in Court over Fracking Ban

By The Associated Press on March 19, 2013

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A third upstate New York town has won a court challenge to its ban on natural gas drilling as two previous cases are about to be argued before a state appeals court.

Gas drilling company Lenape Resources, based in western New York, had sued the Livingston County town of Avon and the state Department of Environmental Conservation over the town's moratorium on drilling, saying the action threatened to put it out of business after it had operated in the town for decades. Lenape's owner, John Holko, also sought $50 million in damages. He named the Department of Environmental Conservation because he said the agency had a duty to stop towns from enacting local bans.

On March 15, Acting Supreme Court Justice Robert Wiggins in Livingston County ruled against Lenape on all counts. He cited Court of Appeals precedents as well as decisions in favor of local bans in the Upstate towns of Dryden and Middlefield.

Read more at The Post-Standard's

Note: The basis for NY Supreme Court rulings upholding the gas-drilling bans in the Towns of Dryden and Middlefield was covered in my earlier post here (February 27, 2012) .

Sierra Club Blasts 'Sustainable Shale' Center's Partnership Between Industry And Environmental Groups

AP  |  By KEVIN BEGOS Posted: 03/21/2013

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Sierra Club and some other environmental groups are harshly criticizing a new partnership that aims to create tough new standards for fracking.

The criticism Thursday came a day after two of the nation's biggest oil and gas companies made peace with some national and regional environmental groups, agreeing to go through an independent review of their shale oil and gas drilling operations in the Northeast.

If Shell Oil, Chevron Appalachia and other companies are found to be abiding by a list of stringent measures to protect the air and water from pollution, they will receive the blessing of the new Pittsburgh-based Center for Sustainable Shale Development, created by environmentalists and the energy industry.

But some are questioning whether a partnership between environmentalists and the oil and gas industry should exist at all.

Read more at the Huffington Post

NOTE 1: "Sustainable shale" is an oxymoron, like "clean coal."  How about "sustainable wind" or "sustainable sunlight"... that works!
NOTE 2: Even Pro-frackers don't like this industry-enviro "partnership." See

Collapse of Salt Mine serves as Cautionary Tale on Fracking

By Margaret Wooster
Special to The Buffalo News - 03/17/2013

This cautionary tale is relevant to one of the most important decisions confronting New York State in our time: whether to permit the construction of tens of thousands of new high-volume hydrofracking gas wells across the southern half of our state.


EPA Announces Expert Panel to Review Fracking Study

WASHINGTON | Mon Mar 25, 2013

(Reuters) - The U.S. environmental regulator has selected experts in fields ranging from well-drilling to toxicology to review a highly anticipated report on the natural gas and oil extraction method commonly known as fracking.

The Environmental Protection Agency's science advisory board on Monday named 31 experts from universities, scientific labs and companies to review the agency's landmark hydraulic fracturing study that is expected to be delivered in 2014.

The study, first requested by Congress in 2010, may prove pivotal in the government's regulation of fracking that has unlocked generations' worth of oil and gas supplies.

Read more here.

Click here to view a list of Members of the Hydraulic Fracturing Research Advisory Panel

To view the Executive Summary of the Progress Report on the EPA hydraulic fracturing study (December 2012), click here.

EARTH DAY SCREENING: A Fierce Green Fire - The Battle for a Living Planet

  • WHEN: Monday, April 22 at 7:00 P.M.
  • WHERE: Burchfield Penney Art Center, 1300 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo
  • PRESENTER: Roger Cook
 Spanning 50 years of grassroots and global activism, this Sundance documentary brings to light the vital stories of the environmental movement where people fought -- and succeeded -- against enormous odds.

From halting dams in the Grand Canyon to fighting toxic waste at Love Canal; from Greenpeace to Chico Mendes; from climate change to the promise of transforming our civilization, A Fierce Green Fire is "nothing less than the history of environmentalism itself." (Los Angeles Times)

From the Academy Award-nominated director of "Berkeley in the Sixties", and narrated by Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, Ashley Judd, Van Jones and Isabel Allende.
Watch the Trailer:

This screening is Free -- Donations are welcome.

LIVESTREAM: Great Blue Heron Nest at Cornell

Cornell U. Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York

Camera #2: To see the nest from a different angle as well as other heron activities around the pond, Click here.

HINTS: Keep BOTH cameras displayed on your screen at the same time. A human will sometimes pan the second camera over the pond to see what the other heron is doing, such as fishing, nest repair or hanging out nearby.
Also, turn up the Sound Volume on your computer. There's a party going on in the background! 

Status updates: The male heron returned to Cornell's Sapsucker Woods on April 4, 2013. Cornell ornithologists identify him by his missing his right halux (the rear facing toe on his right foot). Stay tuned. When the female arrives, you will see courtship displays, nest-building activities and egg laying
- April  8, evening: The female arrives and the courtship begins [Video].
- April 14, 13:48 EDT - First egg of 2013! 
- April 16, 16:43 EDT - Second egg laid.
- April 18, 22:38 EDT - Egg #3 arrived.
- April 20, 20:20 EDT Egg #4 laid.  
- April 23, 01:23 EDT Fifth Egg arrived. 
- May 15, 14:05 EDT  -  First egg Hatched! Watch for more.
- May 17,  morning    -  Second egg hatched! 3 to go.
- May 19,  late night   Third egg hatched! 2 eggs remain.
- July 10, 12:22 EDT   -  First young heron left the nest - 56 days old

Herons usually lay 2-6 eggs and share incubation duties for 25-30 days. Incubation begins with the first egg, and the young hatch asynchronously (not at the same time) over 2-5 days. After hatching, it'll take 7-8 weeks before they fly from the nest for the first time.
Live streaming video is from cornellherons at

Originally posted here on April 8, 2013 and will be updated later with other activities.

VOLUNTEER: I Love My Park Day - May 4th

Show NYS Parks and Historic Sites Some Love!
Parks and Trails New York organizes I Love My Park Day, in partnership with Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, to improve and enhance state parks and historic sites; boost volunteerism; and raise the visibility of the entire state parks system and its needs. Watch this short video to learn more about I Love My Park Day.
Join us on Saturday, May 4 for I Love My Park Day and show your parks some love!

Find an Event and Register to Volunteer
More than 70 I Love My Park Day events are taking place at state parks and historic sites across New York State in 2013. In order to participate in an I Love My Park Day event, volunteers will need to complete a simple online form.
See below to find a participating park or site near you or click on the map to learn more about the events planned. From there you'll be able to register to volunteer. Check back frequently - more events are added often! Already know where you'd like to volunteer? Go straight to registration. 

Participating Parks and Historic Sites

Local Parks
In addition to the events at state parks listed above, local parks are getting in the spirit too! I Love My Park Day events are being held at these locally owned parks and historic sites. To learn more about these, visit the links below:
Organizing an event and don't see your site listed? Let us know.
Check back frequently -- More events are added often!  Find all NY State events here:

I Love My Park Day website: