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.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Symposium on Fracking and NY State Law [Updated 9.24.2013]

Fractured Communities -

Hydraulic Fracturing and the Law in New York State.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013.

Organized by the Albany Law Review
Co-sponsored by the Government Law Center
Where: Dean Alexander Moot Courtroom, Albany Law School, Albany, NY 12208

UPDATE - 9.24.2013: Watch the event via live webstream starting at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 24.
When: 11:00 a.m.
Welcome by Michael White '14, Executive Editor for Symposium
Opening remarks and introductions by President and Dean, Penelope (Penny) Andrews
Panel discussion: Four hydraulic fracturing experts will discuss climate impacts, land use and real estate issues, and economic impacts associated with natural gas drilling.
Speakers include:
  • Elizabeth Burleson, Pace Law Professor and Fulbright Senior Specialist on Climate Change
  • Sorell E. Negro, Associate, Robinson & Cole
  • Karen Moreau '85, Executive Director, New York State Petroleum Council
  • Elisabeth Radow, Chair, Committee on Energy, Agriculture and the Environment of the League of Women Voters of New York
Moderator: Tom Wilber, author, Under the Surface: Fracking, Fortunes, and the Fate of the Marcellus Shale
1:30 p.m.
Debate: The legal and policy implications of Norse Energy Corp., USA v. Town of Dryden, the Third Department's decision upholding municipal bans on natural gas drilling, and the future of natural gas extraction in New York.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Economics of Fracking for Gas and Oil

Deborah Rogers joined radio host Pat Kenny in Ireland to discuss the economics of fracking to extract gas and oil from shale. Ms. Rogers is an economist and a primary member to the U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, an advisory committee within the U.S. Department of Interior. 
To hear the discussion, click the 'news talk' button, below:

Deborah Lawrence Rogers began her financial career in London working in investment banking. Upon her return to the U.S., she worked as a financial consultant for several major Wall Street firms, including Merrill Lynch and Smith Barney.
Ms. Rogers was appointed as a primary member to the U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI), an advisory committee within the U.S. Department of Interior, in 2013 for a three year term. In May 2013, she was invited to testify before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. In July 2013, she participated in a working group at EIA, the Energy Information Administration of the U.S. Department of Energy. 

EVENT: Draw the Line -- Protect What We Love

Join, the Climate Reality Project, and concerned citizens in the Village of Lancaster to take part in a national day of action!  
WHEN: Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 11:00 AM
WHERE: Corner of Brookfield Place and Central Avenue, Village of Lancaster [Map].
We'll gather to Draw the Line by saying "NO" to the Tar Sands pipeline and dirty fossil fuel extraction methods like fracking.
We want to Protect What We Love -- our children, our families, our way of life -- all of which are threatened by increasingly dangerous and polluting fossil fuel usage. We need to urge our town, state and national governments to say "YES" to clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Please bring signs with messages to go along with our theme.
Contact the organizer, Alison Schweichler, with any questions at (716) 698-5707 or email

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Name Extreme Storms after Climate Deniers

CLIMATE NAME CHANGE: A satirical proposal to name extreme storms after politicians who deny human-caused global warming and obstruct climate policy.

This video, published by on Aug 26, 2013, has gone Viral. It has received over 2 Million hits!

Since 1954, the World Meteorological Organization has been naming extreme storms after people. But thinks it's time for a new naming system. If you agree with their proposal, endorse this CLIMATE NAME CHANGE plan by clicking here.

On Wednesday, there was a hearing of a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee about the impact of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan. Republicans argued against doing anything about carbon pollution. To see their five craziest arguments, and the rebuttals of those arguments, click here.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Hydrofracking NEWS

Waste Without Borders: Fracking's Dirty Dilemma
Back in May, State Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk declared that the state was “under assault” from imported shale gas drilling waste. At that time she announced legislation that would ban out-of-state fracking-related hazardous waste products (including wastewater) from being imported into, treated or disposed of in New York. Federal and state governments exempt these wastes – which pose risks to human health and ecosystems – from the tracking regulations which govern the handling, storage, treatment and disposal of  other hazardous substances.

“The fact is we don’t know what’s in the waste coming into our state, we’re not sufficiently regulating the treatment of those wastes, and we cannot be certain that the treatment plants are adequately protecting our lakes, rivers and streams,” says Senator Tkaczyk. The fact that landfills and sewage treatment facilities in New York are accepting this waste before the Cuomo Administration completes its review and decides whether or not to open the state to high volume horizontal fracking influenced Tkacyzk’s decision to introduce the legislation, which ultimately did not reach the floor for a vote. “It makes no sense that we would accept hazardous wastes from other states while we are working to determine the environmental impact fracking would have on New York,” says Senator Tkacyzk. It is worth noting that New York is the only state that is importing fracking waste from other states while under a moratorium banning high volume horizontal drilling inside of the state.
Read more at Huffington Post GREEN

Marcellus Watch: Drillers go for broke in appeal of bans
In New York State, a municipality's established legal right to ban gas drilling within its borders stands as the final line of defense against an aggressive energy industry bent on setting its own rules.

Now that right is up for grabs.

The state's highest court, the Court of Appeals, agreed last week to hear industry challenges to drilling bans enacted in 2011 by the towns of Dryden and Middlefield. Those bans were passed under the towns' home rule authority to exercise land use law. Roughly 60 municipalities have passed similar bans and many more have passed drilling moratoriums.
Read more of the article by Peter Mantius at The Leader.

DEC official on fracking decision: 'There isn't a timeframe at this point'
ALBANY — A high-ranking official in the state Department of Environmental Conservation declined to estimate when a decision on hydraulic fracturing may come down, telling lawmakers Friday that there “isn’t a timeframe at this point.”

Anne Reynolds, the DEC’s deputy commissioner for administration, told the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee that the agency continues to review comments it received on a 2011 draft review of fracking, a 1,500-page document known as the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement, or SGEIS.
Reynolds testified on behalf of the DEC at a hearing held by the legislative committee Friday. The state agency first started its review of fracking more than five years ago. Read more at the Democrat and Chronicle.

Chesapeake Energy Agrees To Pay $7.5 Million To Settle Royalty Lawsuit
The biggest natural gas driller in Pennsylvania has agreed to pay $7.5 million to settle a class action lawsuit alleging the company underpaid gas royalties to leaseholders.

Attorney Michelle O’Brien of the O’Brien Law Group, Moosic, said the settlement, reached Friday with Chesapeake Energy Corp.’s subsidiary Chesapeake Appalachia LLC, will benefit several thousand leaseholders who alleged they were wrongly charged fees related to process used to refine and transport natural gas extracted from Marcellus Shale. Read more at State Impact NPR.

VIDEO: Unearthed -- The Fracking Facade
The "Fracking Facade" seeks to set the record straight by exposing a flawed claim often abused in the sales pitch for promoting shale gas development across the world: "With a history of 60 years, after nearly a million wells drilled, there are no documented cases that hydraulic fracturing ('fracking') has led to the contamination of groundwater."

Fracking Away Our Water Supply
The state of Texas has become the prime example of what can happen when the natural gas industry is allowed to run roughshod over citizens.  The state is currently experiencing one of the worst droughts in modern times, and certain areas have already had to resort to water rationing.

But the dwindling supply of fresh water in Texas has barely slowed down the natural gas industry’s fracking activities.  Even as livestock are dying off, crops are withering, and citizens are having to purchase bottled water in order to quench their thirst, fracking companies are sucking fresh water out of the ground in order to satisfy their need to extract every ounce of natural gas from beneath the Texas soil. Read more at DeSmogBlog

Fracking 'threatens God's glorious creation'
The Church of England has told parishioners that fracking causes environmental problems and risks lasting harm to “God’s glorious creation”.
The Diocese of Blackburn has published a leaflet for its flock, telling them that for Christians, fracking presents “a choice between economic gain and a healthy environment.”
The church's decision to highlight potential downsides of fracking comes as Conservative ministers step up efforts to sell the technology to voters as an economic necessity.
Read more at The Telegraph (UK)

U. Tennessee gets no bids for fracking on its land
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A proposal by the University of Tennessee to allow natural gas wells to be drilled on land it owns on the Cumberland Plateau has been halted.

The Tennessean reports the school put the brakes on the project, which was put out to bid in June and has received only one response: a no-bid.

CONSOL Energy Chief Operating Officer Randall Albert said in a letter that the company decided against the proposal because it didn't make economic sense for the company, but said the company would be interested in the proposal was restructured. Read more at SFGate.

PANEL: Income Inequality -- Democracy at Risk

League of Women Voters Buffalo Niagara presents a panel:


“Widespread poverty and concentrated wealth cannot long endure side by side in a democracy" -- Thomas Jefferson.

TIME:       Thursday, September 19, 2013, 6:00-8:00 P.M.
PLACE:    Burchfield-Penney Art Center, 1300 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo.

The program is free and open to the public.

PROGRAM: How has income inequality developed in America and what can we do about it? So is democracy at risk?  And if so, what are we doing to confront growing inequality in America? Please join us for an informative and timely discussion.

•    Ron Deutsch, Executive Director, New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness
•    Lauren Breen, JD, Assoc. Clinical Prof., Consumer & Financial Advocacy, UB Law
•    Anthony Neal, PhD, Assoc. Prof., Political Science Dept., SUNY Buffalo State
•    Ted P. Schmidt, PhD, Assoc. Prof., Economics & Finance, SUNY Buffalo State
•    Sam Magavern, Co-Director, Partnership for the Public Good and Open Buffalo

Sandy White, management consultant and TV talk show host, will moderate the panel.
For more information, call the League office, 884-3550.
The panel is sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Buffalo/Niagara and co-sponsored by the American Association of University Women.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

RIVERKEEPER Educates Anglers about Polluted Fish

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! "Catch Of the Day" photos are posted to our facebook page: facebook/BNRiverkeeper
We have received some great press coverage from local and national media!  
Associated Press article "Campaign teaches NY immigrants about polluted fish"
Informational materials and booklets can be obtained by contacting Ba Zan Lin at 852-7483 ext 26 or Online information is available at
Share your fish photos and tell your friends to text COD to 877-877!!

CONFERENCE: Light Rail Transit and Economic Development


The Case for Transit: How light rail can be a vehicle for 
sustainable economic development

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Coffee and registration begin at 8:00 – Conference from 9:00 to 2:00

Co-sponsored by Canisius College

Montante Cultural Center, Canisius College, 2021 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14208

Click here for the location


Keynote Speaker: Dr. Nadine Lemmon, Legislative Advocate, Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “Making Transit Work…. Economically!”

Panel: Mark Croce, Dr. Daniel Hess, Hal Morse, Patrick Whalen, Howard Zemsky.
Tour: DL&W and Central Terminals and future airport light rail alignment from 2:00 to 4:00

To register for the event, lunch and the tour, click here.


$10 cost for optional box lunch, paid at the door

Reservations for lunch and/or tour are due by September 7th. 
Call 716-833-9543 with questions.