Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Take 'Clean Air' Out to the Ball Game!

Join the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York downtown at Coca-Cola Field on Thursday, August 8th for an exciting night of baseball at Clean Air Night with the Buffalo Bisons!

Enjoy a beautiful summer evening at the ballpark as the Bisons face off in a double-header against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Rail Riders, the minor league affiliate of the New York Yankees. 

Tickets are only $11, with a portion of the proceeds going directly to Clean Air to support our ongoing efforts to promote health and justice throughout Western New York.

Call our office at (716) 852-3813 or visit our Website at  to purchase tickets.

First pitch is at 5:30pm... we hope to see you there! 

Clean Air Coalition of Western New York | info@cacwny.org | http://www.cacwny.org
341 Delaware Ave., Buffalo, NY 14202

Call for Exhibitors: 9th Annual WNY Environmental Summit

Your organization is invited to exhibit at the 9th Annual WNY Environmental Summit at Daemen College.  This year’s theme: 

FOOD for Thought: Safe and Green 
for the Future

Date:  Saturday, September 28, 2013
Time:  8:30am-12:30pm (table setup at 8am, take down at 11:30am)
Location:  Wick Student Center, Daemen College
Cost:  Free for attendance and exhibitor tables*

The annual Summit brings together a wide audience of interested citizens, business people, students, politicians and environmental organizations.  The free event aims to share information on how to improve sustainability in our communities and our homes and appreciate our connection with our environment.  Environmental and civic organizations, green businesses, and government agencies are encouraged to participate.

To reserve your table, please contact Brenda Young (byoung@daemen.edu) with the following:
Organization Name:
Contact Person:
Contact Email:
Contact Phone:
Do you need electricity?  Y/N   (limited spaces, please provide your own extension cord)

Exhibitors will be contacted with setup information in early September and information on submitting up to 2 PowerPoint slides for an ongoing loop displayed during the Summit. Exhibit space is limited to a 6 foot table which we provide.  Wall space is not available for all tables, so if you have special requests, please let us know and we will try our best to accommodate you.  Please bring your own tablecloth or cover, if desired.

*Please consider being an event sponsor.    Current sponsors include Daemen College, Erie County Environmental Education Institute, and the Knoer Group.

 Please see draft agenda below. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Fracking News

Treatment Plants Accused of Illegally Disposing Radioactive Fracking Wastewater
A Pennsylvania industrial wastewater treatment plant has been illegally accepting oil and gas wastewater and polluting the Allegheny river with radioactive waste and other pollutants, according Clean Water Action, which announced today that it is suing the plant.
“Waste Treatment Corporation has been illegally discharging oil and gas wastewater since at least 2003, and continues to discharge such wastewater without authorization under the Clean Water Act and the Clean Streams Law,” the notice of intent to sue delivered by Clean Water Action reads.
State officials also discovered that the sediments immediately downstream from the plant were tainted with high levels of radium-226, radium-228 and uranium. Those particular radioactive elements are known to be found at especially high levels in wastewater from Marcellus shale gas drilling and fracking, and state regulators have warned that the radioactive materials would tend to accumulate in river sediment downstream from plants accepting Marcellus waste. Read more at EcoWatch.

Fracking Debris Ten Times Too Radioactive for Hazardous Waste Landfill
A truck carrying cuttings from a Pennsylvania fracking site was quarantined at a hazardous-waste landfill and sent back after its contents triggered a radiation alarm showing the load was emitting 96 microrem of radiation per hour; the landfill rejects waste with levels above 10 microrems. The radioactive material from a site in the Marcellus Shale formation was radium 226, a common contaminant from the decay of uranium-238 that tends to accumulate in bone and can get into water. Officials said “everything was by the book in this case" because the alarm went off as designed; the fracking operators can now either re-apply at that landfill or take their deadly waste to an out-of-state facility that accepts it - and yes, they exist. The scariest thing here: Pennsylvania, which is currently studying radiation contamination associated with fracking wells, claims to be the only state that even requires landfills to monitor radiation levels.

Read more at Common Dreams

Radioactive waste rejected by Pa. hauled to Idaho
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection says containers of radioactive drilling waste rejected by a southwestern Pennsylvania landfill have been hauled to a U.S. Ecology site in Idaho for safe disposal.
Read more Here.

Fate of 200,000 public fracking comments unclear 
ALBANY — New York's proposed rules for hydraulic fracturing drew an unprecedented response in January, when more than 200,000 comments were submitted by the public to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Seven months later, the fate of those comments is unknown, with the DEC refusing to say whether it will respond to the concerns raised in the submissions or allow them to sit unanswered.
Read more at Press Connects

Oil and Gas Spills: Many mishaps among drillers, but few fines 
If Kristi Mogen causes a crash on the road, she knows she'll probably get a ticket and have to pay a fine. 
So she's frustrated that Wyoming officials didn't fine Chesapeake Energy Corp. for an April 2012 well blowout near her home outside Douglas, Wyo. The ruptured gas well spewed gas and chemicals for three days, forcing her and her neighbors to evacuate their homes.
Read more at EnergyWire News.

FRAC Act Re-introduced to Senate
Amid widespread fears that the boom in fracking for natural gas poses a growing array of environmental threats, some members of Congress are making a new effort to reverse a 2005 law that exempted the industry from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Read more at Environmental Working Group.

Ohio lawmakers who oppose fracking tax have gotten lots of money from frackers 
Oil and gas companies have been on a fracking spree in Ohio for a couple of years now, but they’re not bringing many jobs to the state, so Republican Gov. John Kasich has been trying to get them to give back in another way: via a fracking tax. Read more at Grist.

Methane leaks may burst natural-gas bubble
President Obama’s climate-change plan calls for a closer look at the scope of leaks from gas wells, pipelines and compressor plants. Depending on what is found, new regulations could be imposed.

Duke University researcher Rob Jackson trolled through Washington, D.C., searching for evidence that natural gas is not quite the climate champion President Obama claimed last month.
He was replicating a study he did in Boston, measuring leaks from creaky natural-gas pipes. In addition to being a possible safety risk, methane, the key component of natural gas, is 25 times as potent a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide. And leaks may undercut much of the climate benefits of gas.
Read more at The Seattle Times.

Former Mobil VP Warns of Fracking and Climate Change 
Few people can explain gas and oil drilling with as much authority as Louis W. Allstadt. As an executive vice president of Mobil Oil who ran the company's exploration and production operations in the western hemisphere before he retired in 2000.
Allstadt has become an indispensable guide for one of the country's most powerful environmental movements, New York's grass-roots anti-fracking resistance. Recently he was elected a Cooperstown Trustee.
"The fracking that's going on right now is the real wake-up call on just what extreme lengths are required to pull oil or gas out of the ground now that most of the conventional reservoirs have been exploited - at least those that are easy to access," Allstadt said. Read more at TruthOut.

Gas drillers cancel lease with NE Pa. landowners
Two energy companies are pulling out of northeastern Pennsylvania, where a three-year moratorium on gas drilling has infuriated landowners who say it’s now cost them a windfall of more than $187 million. 
Hess Corp. and Newfield Exploration Co. sent a letter to landowners that notified them their leases are no longer in effect, according to the Northern Wayne Property Owners Alliance, which negotiated a master lease on behalf of more than 1,300 families and businesses. Read more at Ithaca Journal

Art installation brings you face to face with fracking 
Fracking hell or fracking bliss? Fracking Futures, an art installation at Liverpool's FACT gallery, gives visitors a chance to decide what they think of this controversial gas extraction technique. Its miniaturised fracking "rig" simulates the sounds, tremors and flames that a real one might produce, and appears to drill right through the gallery floor.
Read more at New Scientist.

Videos: Exclusive interviews of Josh Fox on The Daily Show
Part 1, "Gasland Part II" director Josh Fox disputes the idea that natural gas is a boon for the environment.  (06:39)
Part 2, Josh Fox argues that government regulatory agencies are in the natural gas industry's pocket.  (04:25)
Part 3, Fox warns against the natural gas industry's tendency to address engineering problems with PR solutions.  (04:30)

Weather, Energy, & Climate News

New York City's Electric Usage Sets All-Time Record 
Friday's intense heat and humidity led to New York City setting an all-time peak electric usage record.
Electric usage in New York City and neighboring Westchester County topped out at 13,322 Megawatts (MW) at 5 p.m. EDT Friday, according to Con Edison.
Friday's high of 96 degrees fell short of challenging the day's record of 102 degrees from 1977. However, Friday's low of 83 degrees broke the day's long-standing warmest low temperature record of 81 degrees from 1878. Read more at AccuWeather.  
See also: Another brutally hot day bakes NY; relief on way  
at The Buffalo News

Water Stress Threatens Future Energy Production
When we flip on a light, we rarely think about water.  But electricity generation is the biggest user of water in the United States.  Thermoelectric power plants alone use more than 200 billion gallons of water a day – about 49 percent of the nation’s total water withdrawals.
Large quantities of water are needed as well for the production, refining and transport of the fuels that light and heat our homes and buildings, and run our buses and cars.  Every gallon of gasoline at the pump takes about 13 gallons of water to make. Read more at National Geographic.

‘Drunken’ Weather Pattern Leads to Deadly Heat
The heat wave that has built across the eastern U.S. — roasting cities from Memphis to Washington to Boston in a stifling blanket of heat and humidity — has had one strange characteristic that meteorologists cannot yet explain in a long-term climate context. Rather than moving west to east, as typical weather patterns do in the Northern Hemisphere, weather systems across the country have moved in the opposite direction, like a drunken driver on a dark stretch of highway, drifting from east to west during the past two weeks. Read more at Climate Central. 

Climate-Related Power Outages Aren't Just a Coastal ProblemEerie images of flooded, pitch-black lower Manhattan following Superstorm Sandy made it clear just how stark an effect climate change and extreme weather can have on our everyday access to electricity.
A report from the U.S. Department of Energy released on last week shows that New York City and other coastal regions aren't the only ones at risk. And it's not just a question of the future. No American region, it turns out, has been exempt from the possibility of mass power outages. The report focuses on three major causes: rising temperatures; wider-spread, more severe droughts; and more devastating flooding, storms, and sea level rises.
DOE also created a map of energy and power-related disruptions over the past decade that experts have attributed to large-scale, long-term disruptions in climate and weather patterns. Read more at The Atlantic Cities 

Stanford climate scientist addresses misconceptions about climate change
The notion that we'll avoid serious damage to the world's climate if we limit the warming of the atmosphere to a 2-degree-Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) rise in temperature is untrue, says Stanford climate scientist Chris Field.
Read more at Stanford News 

Interactive Map Links Climate Change and Wildfires in Western States
A new interactive tool produced by Climate Central illustrates how rising temperatures and reduced snowpack in the western U.S. have corresponded with an increase in wildfires in recent decades.
Based on federal wildfire data from 1970 to 2012, the graphic shows how large fires in some western states—including Arizona, Colorado and Idaho—have doubled or even tripled in four decades, a period when the average spring and summer temperatures in 11 states increased by more than 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Read more at EcoWatch.

What Does John Boehner Have to Lose by Debating Climate Change? 
Any Guesses? Read more at MapLight  

Snow and Arctic sea ice extent plummet suddenly as globe bakes
NOAA and NASA both ranked June 2013 among the top five warmest (NOAA fifth warmest, NASA second warmest) Junes on record globally (dating back to the late 1800s).  But, more remarkable, was the incredible snow melt that preceded the toasty month and the sudden loss of Arctic sea ice that followed.
The amazing decline in Northern Hemisphere snow cover during May is a story few have told, but is certainly worth noting. Read more at Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang blog.

The Haunting Melody of Global Warming
University of Minnesota undergrad Daniel Crawford did something very clever: He took surface air temperature data and converted them into musical notes, one for each year from 1880 to 2012, and played them on his cello. The result is, in a word, haunting:
Read more at Slate.

McCarthy sworn in at EPA after Senate vote
Gina McCarthy was sworn in Friday as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. The swearing in took place a day after the Senate confirmed McCarthy in a 59-40 vote. 
The private ceremony took pace at the EPA’s Washington, D.C., headquarters, bringing to a close a four-month wait since President Obama nominated her for the post. Read more at The Hill.

EPA Climate Change Website

Webcast: Science, Democracy, and Community Decisions on Fracking

Science, Democracy, and Community Decisions on Fracking

A Lewis M. Branscomb Forum
DATE: Thursday, July 25
TIME: 2:00-5:00 p.m.
LOCATION: Covel Commons, Grand Horizon Room Salon A, Los Angeles, CA

Participate in the Forum by Webcast!  A live webcast of "Science, Democracy, and Community Decisions on Fracking" will be available on this page on the day of the forum. 

Have friends or colleagues who would also be interested in joining us in person or via webcast for this unique event? Please invite them!

Share this event via Twitter or Facebook.
The forum will convene big thinkers from academia, industry, government, non-governmental organizations, and citizen groups to delve into some of the most complex challenges around fracking, centered on the following themes:
  • the current state of the science and knowledge gaps;
  • the current policy and regulatory landscape; and
  • public access to information and civic engagement.
Leading experts will address these three themes, answer your questions, and invite your ideas on how communities can make more informed fracking-related decisions.

Working group sessions on each of the three themes will precede the public event. A primary forum goal is to develop and refine a 'Right to Know' toolkit that provides practical advice and resources for the public, media, policy makers, and communities regarding questions to ask when faced with fracking-related decisions, reliable sources of information on fracking impacts, and ways to influence fracking decisions.

Sponsored by the Union of Concerned Scientists

Call for Erie County Ban on Fracking and Radioactive Waste

To read the Text version of this post, Click Here.
[Click image to enlarge]

Catch Of the Day: Texting for MultiLingual, Fish-Consumption Advisories

Share Your Prize Catch and Learn How to Eat Fish in a Healthier Way by Texting “Catch Of the Day”  
Buffalo Niagara RIVERKEEPER® and GROW 716 are piloting a mobile messaging campaign called “Catch Of the Day.” Anglers are encouraged to text COD to 877-877, which then directs them to online information about local fish consumption advisories and healthier ways to eat local fish. The campaign encourages picture sharing of their “catch” on the GROW 716 webpage to show the incredible success of Western New York anglers! RIVERKEEPER’s Environmental Justice program seeks to educate anglers and at risk populations about ways to reduce their risk when consuming locally caught fish. Anglers can view their catch online at the GROW 716 website and on the Riverkeeper facebook page throughout the summer.
"We are often asked about what individual citizens can do to contribute to Riverkeeper's restoration efforts," said Jill Jedlicka, Buffalo Niagara RIVERKEEPER Executive Director. "Thousands of people fish in Western New York waterways every day, and our Catch of the Day mobile messaging program is a quick and simple way for anglers to access local fish consumption advisories and to share much needed information about angling in Western New York."
While our region is on the road to transforming from Rust to Blue®, some contaminants from industrialization of our waterways still linger within our water-based food web. Due to these toxic remnants, some fish species and preparation methods pose health risks, especially to children and pregnant women. Fish Consumption Advisories are available through the Department of Environmental Conservation, however much of this information is not accessible to low literacy community members, as well as non-native speakers that these advisories never reach. 
With local leaders from Jericho Road Ministries and Buffalo United Front, and others, Buffalo Niagara RIVERKEEPER has worked within these communities to translate fish advisories into five different languages, and create low literacy info-graphics. The guides provide information about who is more at risk, better fish choices, portion sizes, and recommendations for consumption frequency. Visit EatFishWNY.org or contact Ba Zan Lin, Environmental Justice Outreach Coordinator at blin@bnriverkeeper.org to obtain copies.
“This is a wonderful example of how organizations in Western New York are co-creating shared solutions for a more sustainable region while engaging citizens using new technologies,” said Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker, President and CEO of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. “Thanks to the support from our national partner, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, we are able to spotlight environmental issues and give people a voice and forum to make our region a more vibrant place.”
Funding for this program has been provided through the United States Environmental Protection Agency Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Environmental Justice Program, and the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo. GROW 716, funded by the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo and the John S and James L. Knight Foundation, is a mobile messaging environmental advocacy campaign seeking to raise awareness about various local issues.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Help Restore Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River

Citizens Campaign for the Environment.
Restore Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River
Sailboats on the water.
Submit comments and attend an upcoming public hearing
The health of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River has been significantly damaged by fifty years of poor regulation that solely benefited power generation and shipping. Wetlands have been destroyed, fish populations have dwindled, and wildlife has disappeared. We have the chance to change this, and Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River need your voice.
After thousands like you demanded action, the International Joint Commission (IJC) finally proposed a new regulation plan, known as Plan 2014 (a slightly revised version of the proposed Plan Bv7). Plan 2014 is a modern plan that achieves a balance of benefits for all interests. Plan 2014 will benefit the environment and economy while improving hydroelectric power generation. This plan will make significant progress toward restoring the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario after more than half a century of environmentally damaging regulation.
Plan 2014 is open for public comment, and public hearings have been scheduled. Please take a moment to take action today for a healthier Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River.
What you can do:
  1. Submit an online comment in support of Plan 2014. This will take just a few minutes and will send a strong message in support of a healthy lake and river. Simply tell the IJC:
    • You strongly support the implementation of Plan 2014.
    • Plan 2014 is a modern plan that benefits all interests and will help to restore the ecosystem of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.
  2. Attend an upcoming public hearing. The International Joint Commission is holding public hearings on Plan 2014 in July. Your voice, speaking out for the health of the River and Lake, is critical now more than ever.
Hearings in New York
Sunday, July 14 Tuesday, July 16 Wednesday, July 17
6:00 - 9:00 pm
Cornell Cooperative Extension
4487 Lake Avenue
Lockport, NY
Meeting Room:
4-H Training Center
6:00 - 9:00 pm
Central High School
5891 Route 21
Williamson, NY
Meeting Room:
6:00 - 9:00 pm
Bonnie Castle
31 Holland Street
Alexandria Bay, NY
Thank you for taking action. Together we make a difference!
All of Us at CCE
Citizens Campaign for the Environment
225A Main Street
Farmingdale, NY 11735
516-390-7150 | Fax: 516-390-7160
6 Regional Offices in New York and Connecticut

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Public Hearing on Replacing Coal with Gas in Power Plants


Come and Give Testimony
Come and Support those Giving Testimony with your Presence

Monday, July 15, 2013
SUNY Fredonia, Multi-Purpose Room at the William Center
Fredonia, NY
Public Testimony starts at 7 pm
Administrative Law Judge Presiding

The Public Service Commission (PSC) is currently deciding whether to repower the Dunkirk and Cayuga coal-fired power plants with natural gas or to opt for more environmental and cost effective transmission system upgrades, efficiency, and renewables. There will be presentations by NRG and National Grid with Q&Q from 6-7. Public testimony will follow at 7 pm.

There is so much agreement that natural gas is the wrong choice (for environmental, fracking, cost, consumer benefit reasons) that the Business Council, the Sierra Club, and seven other environmental organizations submitted joint comments to the PSC urging the transmission upgrades, efficiency, and renewables over natural gas, Needless to say, the Business Council and enviros rarely issue joint statements. 

Senators Maziarz, Young, and Nozzolio quickly requested a public hearing in Fredonia which the PSC granted. The Sierra Club -- and others -- have submitted about 2,000 public comments opposing the natural gas conversion.

We need a strong presence at the Fredonia hearing so that Senators Young and Maziarz will hear our voices in support of cost-effective and more environmentally friendly options like renewables, infrastructure, and efficiency. This hearing can set the stage for future victories and give a public victory to fracktivists and renewable energy activists. 

SUNY Fredonia Location:  Building #21 on Campus Map.
Map to SUNY Fredonia is Here

UB Professor Jim Holstun Receives Conservation Award

By Art Klein and Jay Wopperer
Conservation Committee Co-chairs
Adirondack Mountain Club - Niagara Frontier Chapter (ADK-NFC)

At the Annual Meeting and Picnic the Committee selects a person whom we think should be the ADK-NFC Conservation Person of the past year.
Jim Holstun at the founding meeting of UB CLEAR* - NY Times
This year we unanimously selected Jim Holstun, who teaches World Literature at SUNYAB.
Jim was the hero who forced the SUNYAB leadership to admit they had let a wolf in sheep's clothing to slip into UB, technically the Geology Department. Holstun was a founder and the chair of a group called UB CLEAR, the Coalition for Leading Ethically in Academic Research.
A couple years ago the Natural Gas Industry decided to infiltrate academia and develop "special relationships," especially in Geology Departments. At SUNYAB, the Shale Institute was their guise and unapologetic industry shills ran it from the Fracking side of Natural Gas development.
Like many technological and science efforts such special bodies work with the universities both gaining mutual benefit from the effort and the University often realizing much needed income and special insight to many aspects of any process that is not already part of the academic realm.
Soon UB's Shale Institute published a report that assured the world of the environmental safeness and theoretical total benefits of Fracking. The report was portrayed as a peer-reviewed, valid, scientific study.
Then the tattiness of the report began to emerge. The report was actually "sort of peer reviewed," then it was admitted no such review was done. Also, the authors were consultants for the oil and gas industry but failed to disclose their financial conflicts in the report.
The Public Accountability Initiative did a detailed study of the report and discerned some terrible arithmetic, distorted emphasis and even signs of repressed data. Liberal Arts folk were now ethically aroused by a bad actor in their midst with the blessing of the University Geology Department.
In the end the Institute was bounced and the ethically-inclined Holstun and many allies rewarded for their very special efforts.
We had a very pleasant presentation of the reward at our annual meeting and became quite delighted with Professor Holstun who revealed his acumen by having done some research and was glad to note us as such wise Stewards of the Adirondacks, especially our High Peaks Steward Program. Naturally then he briefly explored the etymology of the word steward and expressed hope we would not diminish our efforts.
We were all equally pleased that we had one great selection on one great day to present it.

*For more information on the many allies who helped to expose the Shale Institute shills, Click Here.
Editorial cartoon in The Buffalo News by Adam Zyglis

Monday, July 8, 2013

Quarterly Meeting of the Western NY Environmental Alliance

Quarterly meetings are official gatherings of the Alliance member organizations. All who belong to Alliance member organizations are invited to attend. 
Please register now for the second Quarterly Meeting at the Marcy Casino in Delaware Park tomorrow, Tuesday, July 9, 2013. The Habitat & Natural Resources Working Group will be facilitating a discussion on fracking in New York State, following a presentation from the Issues & Advocacy Process Group on the Action Agenda.

Tentative Schedule (Subject to Change)
Please note the earlier start time

4:30 p.m.
WNYEA Advocacy Agenda Presentation 
Micaela Shapiro, Issues and Advocacy Process Group Chair

5:30 p.m.

6:00 p.m.
Fracking Program Presentations
Don Duggan-Haas, Museum of the Earth
David Kowalski, Re-Energize Buffalo
Rita Yelda, New Yorkers Against Fracking & Food and Water Watch & WNY Drilling Defense

6:30 p.m.
Discussion and Q&A
Moderator: Jay Burney, Learning Sustainability Campaign & Greenwatch

The meeting will end at 7:30 p.m.  
Note that only registered member organizations can participate in any official business of the Alliance that may be conducted at a Quarterly Meeting, such as voting. To be sure that the interest and views of your member organization are included in official Alliance business, be sure that you have registered your 2 official representatives. To find out whether you have registered your organization's representatives, email info@growwny.org.

UPDATE: July 11, 2013
Post meeting photo of Fracking Program speakers: Left to right, Don Duggan-Haas, Rita Yelda, Jay Burney, Linda Schneekloth, and David Kowalski

                                                                      Kristen Kaszubowski / GrowWNY