Sunday, February 23, 2014

Assemblies Seek Justice in Huntley Plant Transition

Huntley, located in the Town of Tonawanda, is Erie County's largest coal-burning power plant. A recent report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis stated Huntley "does not appear to be financially viable."  The report estimates that the plant was making $110 million a year as recently as 2005. However, the plant lost $1 million per year between 2009 and 2012.

The report goes on to call on community and corporate leadership.  We must make sure that if the plant retires, that workers at the plant and residents who live near the plant are protected. We must make sure that new revenue is secured for our schools and local governments, and for a clean-up of the waterfront property.

Join us for a "Just Transition" Assembly where we will: Share the financial report about Huntley; Brainstorm what residents, workers, and local governments will need in the future;  Identify community priorities.
  • SATURDAY, March 1, 3pm: Boys and Girls Club, 54 Riverdale Rd., Town of Tonawanda
  • MONDAY, March 3, 6pm: Grand Island Memorial Library, 1715 Bedell Rd., Grand Island
  • THURSDAY, March 6, 6pm: Northwest Community Center, 155 Lawn Ave., Buffalo [Map]
  • THURSDAY, March 13, 6pm: Tonawanda City Hall, 200 Niagara St., City of Tonawanda [Map]

TRANSITION with JUSTICE - a note from the Editor:
A "Just Transition" means ensuring sustainable economic opportunity for workers and the local community without sacrificing anyone’s health or the global climate. The transition would likely need to include worker retraining and financial assistance from the state to account for lost tax revenues. The specifics of any transition plan need to be determined by the plant’s workers and the community including labor, residents and officials.


Tuesday, Feb. 25th at 9 a.m.

Outside of SUNY Buffalo, Center for Tomorrow, North Campus,
Flint & Service Center Roads, Amherst, NY

New York Energy Plan Misses Mark on Climate Protection

On Tuesday, Feb. 25, NYS is hold hearings on the state’s draft Energy Plan starting at 10:00.  At 9:00, there will be a press conference sponsored by the Sierra Club Niagara Group, NYPIRG at Buffalo State, Western NY Drilling Defense, Food & Water Watch, and New Yorkers Against Fracking.  The plan is intended to be a guide for energy decisions in the state.  Unfortunately, it falls short, failing to adequately address the dangers of climate disruption fueled by the state’s reliance on outdated and dirty fossil fuels.

Lynda Schneekloth, Chair of the Sierra Club Niagara Group, issued the following statement:

Now more than ever we need Governor Cuomo to be a climate leader, but he missed a great opportunity with this plan. New York’s Energy Plan has the potential to be a road map for a stronger economy, cleaner air and a safer future, but we won’t get there with more of the same dirty fuels like coal, gas and nuclear. Doubling down on wind power in upstate and getting steel in the water off our shores will reduce our climate risk, clean up the air and lower energy costs for families and businesses.

Specifically, we believe the plan should be strengthened in the following ways:
·         Ramp up investments in clean, renewable wind power both in upstate and off our shores.
·         Strengthen and extend our renewable energy incentive program and energy efficiency goals for at least 10 years.
·         Retire the state’s aging and uneconomical fossil fuel and nuclear plants, move away from further investments in gas infrastructure and protect our families and water from fracking.
·         Mandate enforceable interim targets to get on track to meet the state’s goal of reducing carbon pollution 80% by 2050.
·         Develop plans for a “Just Transition” for workers and communities that will be impacted by coal plant closures that are not re-powered with methane, but  proceed directly to renewables to boost regional economies.   

~ ~ ~
To view a flier from New Yorkers Against Fracking, click here.


Throughout February and March Food & Water Watch, New Yorkers Against Fracking, NYPIRG, and Western NY Drilling Defense will be hosting screenings of the recently released films Gasland II and Triple Divide to educate the public about the potential for fracking in New York. Screenings are free and open to the public. To find out more or get involved, contact Rita at ryelda@fwwatch.

Gasland II: Thursday, Feb. 20, 7 PM at Buffalo State College - Bulger Communications Center, 1300 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo

Triple Divide: Tuesday, March 4, 7 PM at The New Brighton Library 999 Brighton Rd, Tonawanda

Gasland II: Sunday, March 9, 2 PM at Frank E. Merriweather Library 1324 Jefferson Ave, Buffalo

Triple Divide: Thursday, March 13, 7 PM at Buffalo State College - Bulger Communications Center, 1300 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo

Triple Divide: Thursday, March 20, 5:30 PM at Frank E. Merriweather Library 1324 Jefferson Ave, Buffalo
FREE and Open to the Public
For a Flier containing more information, Click Here.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

NY State Energy Plan: Public Hearing in Buffalo and Extended Comment Period

2014 Draft State Energy Plan Hearings 
Six public hearings will be held across New York State to receive public comment on 2014 Draft New York State Energy Plan.

Each participant from the public will be given five minutes to address the New York State Energy Planning Board.  No formal presentations will be allowed, but participants may leave written supporting documents. There is also no formal Question-and-Answer format although Board Members may ask informal questions based on the provided testimony.  The hearings will be professionally recorded and transcribed, and the proceedings will be incorporated in the official record of the Plan and posted on the State Energy Plan website.

Public hearings are scheduled in Albany, Brooklyn, Buffalo, Manhattan, Long Island and Syracuse as listed here.

Public Hearing in Buffalo

A public hearing will be held on February 25, 2014 at 10:00 am at SUNY Buffalo Center for Tomorrow on the North Campus, Flint & Service Center Roads, Buffalo, NY   [MAP]

Advocates want more hearings, longer comment period on NY energy plan
By Jon Campbell • February 14, 2014 • 12:51 pm

A collection of environmental, anti-fracking and good-government groups are asking the state’s energy research authority for more time to respond to the state’s draft energy plan.

In January, the New York State Energy Research Development Authority released a draft of its 2014 energy plan, which calls for a boost in natural gas consumption and renewable energy, but noticeably skipped any mention of hydraulic fracturing.

NYSERDA is accepting public comments on the plan through March 31, and has six public hearings on the plan scheduled across the state. But in a letter sent Thursday to the head of the authority, the advocacy groups are looking for a number of changes — including a lengthier comment session and the scheduling of hearings in the evening, not just during the daytime.

“A process that facilitates public understanding of the draft plan and provides the public meaningful influence over the final plan is paramount to achieving climate, efficiency and renewable energy goals,” the groups wrote.

 The full letter is posted here.

The original article is posted here.

Comment period on NY energy plan extended to April 30
By Jon Campbell • February 14, 2014 • 4:38 pm

A comment period on the state’s draft energy plan has been extended by a month after a series of advocates raised concerns Friday.

The New York Energy Research Development Authority updated its website Friday [see below] after the letter was made public, revealing the deadline for submitting comments has been pushed back to April 30.

The comment period had been set to close March 31.

In a letter to NYSERDA’s president and CEO earlier Friday, a coalition of environmental, anti-fracking and good-government groups called on the authority to extend the deadline. The letter also called for number of other changes to the public response period, including the scheduling of hearings in the evening. (The six scheduled public hearings are all planned for the daytime hours.)

“A process that facilitates public understanding of the draft plan and provides the public meaningful influence over the final plan is paramount to achieving climate, efficiency and renewable energy goals,” the groups wrote earlier Friday.

 The original article is posted here.

Updates at the NYSERDA website (Friday, February 14, 2014):

Link to the NYSERDA website

Submit Public Comments Online: Click Here

Groups to Oppose Fracked Gas and Favor Renewables at NYS Energy Plan Hearing

Say NO to Fracked Gas at the NYS Energy Plan Public Hearing in Buffalo

By New Yorkers against Fracking and Food & Water Watch 

Our supporters are encouraged to attend the public hearing in Buffalo to make a clear statement about the draft NY State Energy Plan: New York should invest in renewable energy and not include the use of fracked gas in it’s energy future.

We will hold a press conference outside the Buffalo hearing and comment at the hearing to let Governor Andrew Cuomo and members of the Energy Planning Board know that fracked gas must be rejected in New York and rejected in this energy plan in order to reach aggressive greenhouse gas emission goals and fully embrace renewable energy in the state. 

The press conference and hearing are at the University at Buffalo North Campus at 9:00 a.m. on February 25th [Map]. Carpools leaving from Burchfield Penney Parking lot (1300 Elmwood Ave Buffalo NY) at 8:30 a.m. sharp.

For more information click here.
~ ~ ~

A Call for Online Comments from the Public:
Whether natural gas is coming from New York State or neighboring Pennsylvania, it still contributes to climate change and perpetuates the mining and burning of dirty fossil fuels long into the future. Instead of increasing our reliance on natural gas, we should be planning for greater investment in clean, renewable energies such as solar, wind and geothermal. Join us in asking for a safer, cleaner energy future by commenting on the plan today.
 For more information, click here.
 ~ ~ ~

Please Note: Public Comment period extended through April  30, 2014

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Williamsville Screening: Film Examines Social & Environmental Costs of Coal Power

Please join the Clean Air Coalition for the Williamsville screening of the film "Dirty Business." This Peter Bull documentary investigates the numerous health and environmental impacts of the coal industry in communities across America and the world. 

The screening will take place on Wednesday, February 12, at Clearfield Library, 770 Hopkins Rd., Williamsville from 6-8PM. [Map]

The film will be followed by a brief discussion of the impacts of burning coal here in WNY. Light refreshments will be served. 

Free and open to the public

For a preview of the film, Click Here.
Screenings to be held in other towns - East Aurora, Clarence, Hamburg and Buffalo - on later dates at 6-8PM:
  • Feb. 19, Southside Municipal Center, 300 Gleed Ave, East Aurora 
  • Feb. 20, Clarence Library, 3 Town Place, Clarence 
  • Feb. 25, Hilbert College, Palisano Lecture Rm., Bogel Hall, 5200 S Park Ave., Hamburg - Featuring a special video conference with director Peter Bull
  • Feb. 27, Buffalo State College, Room OE in Bulger Communications Center (parking in Lot S), Buffalo
If you have any questions, please call  716-852-3813.  

Clean Air Coalition looks forward to seeing you there!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Bill McKibben to President Obama: Say No to Big Oil

After the State Department issued a long-awaited environmental impact statement on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline last week, environmentalists and those opposed to the 1,179-mile pipeline have intensified their push for the Obama administration to reject the project.

In the Moyers & Company video below, Bill Moyers talks with Bill McKibben, an activist who has dedicated his life to saving the planet from environmental collapse, about his hopes that Americans will collectively pressure Obama to stand up to big oil.

“Most people understand that we’re in a serious fix,” McKibben tells Moyers, “There’s nothing you can do as individuals that will really slow down this juggernaut … You can say the same thing about the challenges faced by people in the civil rights or the abolition movement, or the gay rights movement or the women’s movement. In each case, a movement arose; if we can build a movement, then we have a chance.”

Bill McKibben on Caring for Creation - February 5, 2014

Bill Moyers asks author and environmental activist Bill McKibben about the premise of an article McKibben wrote for OnEarth Magazine in 2006, subtitled “Will Evangelicals Help Save The Earth?” McKibben tells Moyers that faith and environmentalism aren’t necessarily at odds; in fact, they should go together. 

“More and more and more, people of faith are understanding that the very first thing we were asked to do in the good book is steward creation, safeguard it. And it’s probably the command we’ve done the worst job living up to,” McKibben tells Moyers.
Hear more of the conversation with McKibben on this weekend’s Moyers & Company

Click Here to view McKibben's OnEarth Magazine article entitled, “The Gospel of Green -- Will Evangelicals Help Save The Earth?”

Click Here to read the transcript of the video entitled "Bill McKibben to Obama: Say No to Big Oil."

New UB research institute to address 'the most important environmental issues of our time'

UB researchers take an ice sample in Canada's Baffin Island.
Geology prof. Jason Briner researches climate change on Canada's Baffin Island.
By Pat Donovan 

BUFFALO, N.Y. - The University at Buffalo has announced the launch of RENEW (Research and Education in eNergy, Environment and Water), an ambitious, university-wide, interdisciplinary research institute that will focus on the most difficult and complex environmental issues, as well as the social and economic issues with which they are intertwined.

One of the most expansive initiatives launched in recent years by the university, RENEW will harness the expertise of more than 100 faculty across the university, with the goal of hiring 20 more outstanding faculty with expertise in such areas as aquatic ecology, pollution law, behavioral economics, environmental planning, community health and energy/environmental systems.

The RENEW Institute will place UB at the forefront of environmental and energy research focused on sustainability, climate change and natural resources, said UB Provost Charles F. Zukoski.  The initiative will build upon faculty strength across six UB schools and colleges. It will receive up to $15 million in university funding over the next five years to hire faculty and develop new academic programs for students.

 “This is what great research universities do.  We bring together the best minds to address timely topics and solve problems,” Zukoski said.

“One of the most urgent challenges faced by humankind is finding ways to sustain human existence while adapting to climate change and the evolving needs for energy and fresh water,” he added.
RENEW, Zukoski said, evolved from the UB 2020 plan to position the university as one of the world’s leading universities by investing in and harnessing UB’s research strengths to bring positive changes to the world.

Environmental problems, he noted, are of particular concern in Western New York, which is surrounded by water, including two Great Lakes, and a legacy of early industrialization.

An international search for a world-class scholar and researcher to direct the institute is underway, said Alexander N. Cartwright, UB vice president for research and economic development. The director will foster collaborations among UB researchers, lead the search for additional faculty researchers to join the institute, coordinate with academic departments to develop new undergraduate and graduate programs, and establish partnerships with organizations, agencies and community leaders.

Alan J. Rabideau, UB professor of civil, structural and environmental engineering, will lay the groundwork for RENEW as the search gets underway.  Rabideau will serve as UB’s first Research and Economic Development Leadership Fellow and will begin to coordinate faculty involvement in the institute and meet with local community leaders.

RENEW’s research thrusts will address a variety of prominent issues, such as energy diversification, freshwater protection and restoration; ecosystem science, engineering and policy; societal adaptation to changing environments and the green economy; public health; and environmental management and governance.

The institute’s interdisciplinary focus – involving the faculties of the School of Architecture and Planning, College of Arts and Sciences, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Law School, School of Management and School of Public Health and Health Professions – is designed to foster new collaborations and produce new ideas.  The initiative will tap the leadership and vision of deans and faculty at the six UB schools and colleges.

“Using this integrated approach, we will bring together researchers in the sciences, technology, public health, human behavior, public policy and other disciplines to develop new ways to strengthen and support our natural and human-made environments,” Cartwright said.

The establishment of the RENEW Institute was recommended by an advisory group chaired by Cartwright, whose members were the deans of the six schools and colleges participating in the institute, and from a faculty steering committee, also from across the six schools and colleges.

The faculty steering committee that developed specific recommendations for  RENEW’s operation included Diana Aga, professor of chemistry; Debabrata Talukdar, professor of marketing; Richelle Allen-King, professor of geology; D. Scott Mackay, professor of  geography; Errol Meidinger, professor of law; G. William Page, professor of urban and regional planning; Rabideau; and Jennifer Zirnheld, assistant professor of electrical engineering.

Ban Fracking and Its Toxic Waste in Amherst

Tuesday, February 18, at 7:00pm
Spot Coffee, 5330 Main St., Williamsville [Map
We plan to urge the town board of Amherst, NY to pass a local fracking ban to safeguard our natural resources and health from the contamination that fracking brings to communities. A ban on fracking as well as on fracking waste disposal and road spreading would protect Amherst residents from exposure to harmful chemicals, airborne carcinogens, and contaminated water.

But the only way to get the town board to pass a local ban is by making it happen ourselves -- which is possible and is something that over 150 municipalities across NY have done! All Amherst and Amherst-area residents are encouraged to join this coordinating meeting so we can map out the campaign and brainstorm next steps. 
For more information contact Rita at

Petition to Name New Bridge for the Late Pete Seeger

Gov. Cuomo: Name the new Tappan Zee bridge for Pete Seeger!

By Bill Swersey
New York, New York
Singer/Songwriter/Activist Pete Seeger, who died January 27, 2014 at the age of 94, was a champion of justice, civil rights and the environment.
Naming the new Tappan Zee bridge across the Hudson River for this lifelong resident of New York State would be a fitting tribute to a man who did so much to help improve the mighty Hudson and the towns along its banks.
Seeger pushed for a cleaner river in the 1960s — long before others took on the cause — and used music to push for an environment friendly river. He was the founder of the Hudson River sloop Clearwater which to this day sails up and down the river helping to encourage environmental activism and the waterway's rebirth. Over the years, Seeger's efforts have lead to a significantly cleaner river; today swimming is possible in many formerly polluted areas.

The idea of naming the new bridge, which is expected to open in 2018, has been put forth by Greenburgh town supervisor Paul Feiner who hopes naming the bridge after Seeger will inspire travelers to keep the river clean. Feiner has promised to bring this proposal to NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo and members of the NY State legislature.

Let's show them that this idea has the support of the people!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Monday: Nationwide Vigils to Protest Keystone XL


This is an all-hands-on-deck moment in the fight to get President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline. Now that the U.S. State Department has released its final environmental analysis, the decision will soon be in the president's hands.

We know that the pipeline fails the climate test he set. Renowned climate scientist James Hansen said that if we burn all the carbon in the tar sands, it's "game over" for avoiding catastrophic climate change.

But whether or not the president stands up to the oil industry and rejects the pipeline will depend on what we do in the next few months.
That's why on Monday, February 3rd, we are joining with the Sierra Club, Rainforest Action Network, and other groups to organize nationwide protest vigils to send a clear and urgent message: Keystone XL is a climate disaster, and President Obama must reject it.
  • Where:  Front Park – Busti at Porter in Buffalo
  • When:  Monday, February 3, at 6 pm.
  • What:  Tell President Obama to reject Keystone XL
In this moment, it's especially important that we come out of the gate with a strong message to the president.  We need to show that we are prepared to hold the president to his commitment to take action on climate change, and reject the Keystone XL pipeline.

Local Vigil to Include Additional Justice Issues

With the release of the State Department’s final environmental impact statement, the revelation of the cover-up of a true "win-win" solution to diesel traffic on the Peace Bridge, and the attempt to fast track the TPP,  this is a crucial moment to call for "Environmental Justice for All!"   

Join us Monday evening to send the message to President Obama that Keystone XL fails his climate test and he must reject it, to Gov. Cuomo that his current Peace Bridge expansion plans fail to protect the health of residents, and to Congress that fast tracking the TPP will harm the environment!  

For a map and additional information, click here.  

Keystone XL Pipeline: Time to End the Fossil Fuel Addiction

President Obama needs to turn down the Keystone XL pipeline if America is ever going to break its dependency on fossil fuels. Here is Chris Hayes' view: