Tuesday, August 26, 2014

CLIMATE MARCH in NY CITY - Reserve Bus Seats Now!

for the
 People's Climate March
In September, world leaders are coming to New York City for a landmark UN summit on the Climate Crisis. The UN Secretary­ General is urging governments to support an ambitious global agreement to dramatically reduce Global Warming Pollution.

With our future on the line and the whole world watching, we'll take a stand for justice to bend the course of history.

On September 21st, the People's Climate March will peacefully flood the NY City streets in historic numbers to demand the world we know is within our reach: 
  • a world with an economy that works for people and the planet
  • a world safe from the ravages of climate change
  • a world with good jobs, clean air and water, and healthy communities

Over 1000 groups, representing social justice, schools, different faiths, businesses, unions and more, have signed on in support of the People's Climate March together with the Sierra Club, 350.org and other environmental groups.

Hundreds of Climate Rallies will also be held around the World!

This promises to be the Largest Climate Action Ever!

Join us on Sunday, September 21 in New York City!

Reserve a Seat on the Buffalo Bus
Area Residents & Students: Sierra Club Niagara Group and local allied groups have chartered Buses to NYC.
  • Full Fare is $50 round trip
  • Scholarship Fare is $25 for students and others who need support
Buffalo Buses will depart at 11:30 PM on Saturday Sept. 20 from UB South Campus on Main St. (NFTA Park & Ride parking lot) and will return around 11:30 PM on Sunday Sept. 21 


Pay by Check 

(Note: Checks for Bus Tickets not accepted after Sept. 12, 2014)

Make check out to “Sierra Club Niagara Group” (write Climate March in the notation) and mail it to: Larry Snider, 69 Burdette Dr., Cheektowaga, NY 14225. Provide your contact information including an e-mail address and phone number. Your seat(s) will be reserved when the payment is received as long as there are seats available.


Consider Sponsoring Riders: If you can not go to NYC but wish to show your support, consider sponsoring riders by making a Donation Online or by sending a Check (see address above - write Donation in the notation).

Thank you for your support!

Questions? Email niagarasierra@gmail.com

or Call 716-984-2833

For Updates, visit niagarasierraclub.com

Watch this inspiring video from PeoplesClimateMarch.org

Exhibitor Invitation: WNY Environmental Summit -- September 27

Your organization is invited to have a free exhibit table at the 10th Annual WNY Environmental Summit at Daemen College.  This year’s theme is “A Decade of Progress: Sustainability Comes of Age in WNY”.

DateSaturday, September 27, 2014
Time8:30am-12:30pm (table setup begins at 8am)
Location:  Wick Student Center, Daemen College
Cost:  Free

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 reply to this email (or contact Brenda Young at 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.

Click 'Read more' (below) to see a draft Agenda and check for Updates Here. 

'Taste the Future' at Developing Urban Farm in North Tonawanda

GroOperative - Worker-owned Urban Farm - invites you to Taste the Future

A developing worker cooperative called GroOperative is hosting a fundraiser called Taste the Future in North Tonawanda on Saturday, September 6th and is inviting the community to come out to support the venture, offering food, live music and samples of prototype beers. The event will go from 6pm to 10pm at The Strand, a former theater renovated as a music and performance venue at 540 Oliver St.

There is a presentation on cooperatives in general and on GroOperative’s vision in particular that begins at 7pm at the Strand on September 6th, followed by a question and answer session. The team leading the effort consists of four young men from the Buffalo area with backgrounds in building trades, brewing, sales, administration and food production. Live blues/roots/funk music by David Michael Miller & Friends begins at 8pm.

GroOperative aims to provide high-quality food and high-quality jobs in Western New York, ideally in the City of Buffalo, through a worker-owned vertical farming system. Worker-ownership means a type of cooperative where the people who work at the business are also the owners, participating in making decisions both big and small. Vertical farming is a relatively new, indoor gardening and farming system that stacks trays of growing plants vertically, making the most use of available space.

Entry to the event is by donation, with a suggested donation of $20. Proceeds from the Taste the Future event will go toward GroOperative’s development, helping to cover costs of things like legal fees, grant-writing,  website maintenance and aquaponics research & development. For more information, click 'Read more' (below) and also visit www.grooperative.com.

COSMOGENESIS: Science meets Art on Stage

[Click image to enlarge]
  • WHAT: Performance Art -- "Cosmogenesis: The Story of Us -- A Story of the Cosmos, Deep Ecology and Human Choice,” with Rebecca Sophia Strong
  • WHEN: September 12, 7:00pm-9:30pm
  • WHERE:  Unitarian Universalist Church, 695 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo
  • TICKETS: $20 at the door
"We are really excited about this show because it uniquely brings the science of the 13.8 billion year story of the Universe (kinda like the recent Neil DeGrasse Tyson's "Cosmos") together with Performance Art, creating a hilarious, engaging and surprisingly informative theatre experience.

The show has toured around the country and will be performed in Scotland at the end of September."
--  Rebecca Sophia Strong and the Cosmogenesis Staff
Watch the Video Trailer:

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wake-up Call on Fracking by Attorney who Won Bans

Wake-up Call on Fracking

By Helen Slottje, Esq. - Recipient of The Goldman Environmental Prize for her legal work on behalf of New York communities enacting local fracking bans

Officials must wake up from the oil & gas industry-induced trance
 and provide true leadership

In an age when the voices and concerns of average Americans often go unheard in our political system, two small towns in upstate New York recently won an underdog victory against the oil and gas industry that should serve as a wake-up call to government officials across the nation.

Those two towns – Dryden and Middlefield – passed municipal bans on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, despite threats of lawsuits from the oil and gas industry. Industry made good on those threats, but lost in two trial courts, and on appeal to the New York State Court of Appeals. The state’s highest court held that municipalities have the right to use their long-standing zoning laws to ban oil and gas operations, including fracking.

My husband David and I developed much of the legal framework for towns to enact such local bans and moratoria – and about 180 similar measures that have passed in towns across New York State [see Map]. Now states across the nation are rightfully pursuing similar measures.

[Click image to enlarge]

We first learned about fracking at a local community meeting where photographic and personal accounts of the devastation wrought by fracking in Pennsylvania spurred concerned residents into action. We got involved because we wanted to protect our community and help our neighbors, and also because we don’t like bullies – especially like the oil and gas industry.

Unfortunately, fracking has spread throughout much of the nation with little if any honest consideration of the consequences. From the White House to Congress to most state governments, the oil and gas industry has successfully lobbied public officials to cave to their demands and have hired the same public relations consultants as the tobacco industry did to mire the facts about the harms of this violent drilling process.

This most egregiously dates back to the Bush-Cheney administration in 2005 when Dick Cheney met with big oil and gas to write our energy policy and delivered federal exemptions from key provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act, on top of the existing exemptions from the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act and the Superfund law. These exemptions let industry proceed with practically no oversight and without having to disclose the secret mix of hundreds of chemicals used in the fracking process.

As the oil and gas industry is quick to point out, President Obama and his administration officials have followed in the Bush-Cheney administration’s footsteps by championing fracking. They tout it as an alternative to coal and have long minimized the impacts and threats of water contamination, air pollution, health effects and social impacts.

Now independent science is beginning to catch up to this new practice and it’s all bad news. A rapidly expanding body of hundreds of recent scientific and medical studies shows that the impacts of fracking are significant, and with millions of Americans living within a mile of fracking sites, the potential exposure is alarming.

For example, based on three years of monitoring, a Colorado School of Public Health study found air pollutants near fracking sites at levels sufficient to raise risks of cancer, neurological deficits and respiratory problems. Among the chemicals was the carcinogen benzene, which separate air monitoring has found at dangerous levels at fracking sites in states including Colorado, Pennsylvania, Utah, Texas and West Virginia.

Many studies have linked drilling and fracking activities with water contamination. When you consider the hundreds of chemicals used in fracking operations, as well as naturally occurring radioactive materials and heavy metal in the shale, that’s disturbing. It’s even worse in light of recent research indicating that rates of cement failures in well casings – the only barrier between groundwater and disastrous contamination – are actually getting worse, according to a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by a Cornell University research team. Researchers analyzed more than 75,000 official state of Pennsylvania inspections of more than 41,000 oil and gas wells drilled since 2000 and determined that over 40 percent of shale fracking wells drilled after 2009 would leak into the groundwater or atmosphere, higher rates than for older, conventional wells.

As science has begun to catch up, air pollution and water contamination are just two of many harms from fracking. Others include earthquakes, high levels of radiation, noise and light pollution, significant contributions to climate change, threats to agriculture, increased crime rates and a range of health impacts.

In spite of all this, the oil and gas industry’s influence is so politically significant that Obama, Congress and most state governments remain undaunted in supporting fracking. This undue influence is not new. FDR complained about it in the 1940’s: “The trouble with this country is that you can’t win an election without the oil bloc, and you can’t govern with it.”

That makes the recent New York win in a classic David versus Goliath matchup against oil and gas interests all the more important. Not only is it a great victory for local municipal rights, it’s a tremendous victory for tens of thousands of New Yorkers who have poured their hearts and souls into protecting their communities.

But perhaps most importantly, it should serve as a wake-up call to state and federal officials across the nation that continuing to ignore community impacts from fracking is not a viable strategy.

What’s next for New York? A statewide ban that can help lead our country in the right direction - away from fracking – because air pollution, water contamination, and the health and other problems caused by fracking do not conform to municipal boundaries.

In New York, it’s heartening that most elected officials have not abandoned science and caution by yielding to the oil and gas industry’s propaganda and political influence. Governor Andrew Cuomo has kept our state’s moratorium in place and has firmly and rightly said he wants to let the science decide. Recently, the New York State Assembly overwhelmingly passed a three-year moratorium based on the call from hundreds of health professionals and medical organizations given emerging trends in the data showing harm and the need for more study.

Now it’s imperative that officials in Washington, D.C. and in other states– including Congress and  Obama – wake up from the oil and gas industry-induced trance and provide true leadership on this issue. That means following the science, not the money. The health of communities across the nation and future generations is at stake. And that’s something worth fighting for.

Slottje, Esq. is the 2014 North America recipient of The Goldman Environmental Prize for her legal work on behalf of New York communities enacting local fracking bans. She lives in Ithaca, N.Y. with her husband David.

The article was originally published here.



1) Attend Open Public Meetings to Ban Fracking in Amherst, NY
Williamsville Public Library, 5571 Main St, Williamsville, NY 14221

Upcoming meeting of Amherst Against Fracking:
Thursday, 09/11/2014 at 6 p.m.

The town of Amherst, NY must pass a local ban to safeguard our resources and health from the pollution and industrialization that fracking for natural gas brings to communities. Over 170 towns and cities across NY have stepped up to protect their residents from fracking, and now it's time for the Amherst Town Board to do the same. A town-wide ban on fracking & fracking waste disposal (including road spreading) would protect residents from exposure to harmful chemicals, airborne carcinogens, contaminated water, increased municipal costs, and the list goes on. All Amherst and Amherst-area residents are encouraged to join this coordinating meeting to become part of the local movement against fracking. 

 2) Sign the Online Petition to ban fracking in Amherst here: http://bit.ly/1piVgQY
When an Amherst, NY resident signs the petition, it immediately emails the Town Board!

3) Attend the Amherst Planning Board Meeting on Town-wide Fracking Ban
Thursday, August 21st at 6:30 p.m.
Town of Amherst Municipal Building
5583 Main Street, Williamsville, NY 14221

On Thursday, August 21st at 6:30 p.m. in Amherst Town Hall, the Amherst Planning Board will have a meeting where they will be discussing the fracking & fracking waste ban for the town. This meeting is a necessary step in the creation of a this new law because some of the language it contains pertains to planning and zoning. The Planning Board consists of a president and 6 members, none of whom are elected officials. This means that they will not be familiar with the harms of fracking or the legalities surrounding banning fracking/fracking waste on a town-level that we've explained in past Town Hall meetings. We need Amherst and Amherst-area residents to attend and give public comment on why fracking and it's waste must be banned in the town!

 Join the Facebook event & invite friends:
4) Call the Amherst Town Board -- Tell Them They MUST Ban Dangerous Fracking and Toxic Fracking Waste 
Call Mondays – Fridays, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. 
 For detailed information, See This Flyer

Rita Yelda, Amherst Againgst Fracking / WNY Drilling Defense / Food & Water Watch 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Rally to Ban Fracking at Gov. Cuomo’s 'NY State Fair' Appearance

What: Rally to Ban Fracking and Protect NY Farms, Agriculture and Tourism with a swift transition to Renewable Energy- Outside Governor Cuomo’s Appearance on “Governor’s Day” at The Great New York State Fair!

Carpool Information

When: Thursday, August 21st

Leaving Buffalo from the Burchfield Penney Art Center at 8:15am

Leaving Rochester from the Village Gate Square at 9:45am

Sign up for the Buffalo/Rochester Carpool and find more info on departure and arrival times here

**Contact Rita Yelda at ryelda@fwwatch.org for more info on the Western NY carpool.

Rally: 11AM to 3PM, including  Press Conference and Speakers/Performers, with songs by Joe Driscoll and Colleen Kattau at 12:30PM
Where: New York State Fairgrounds, Outside the Main Gate, 581 State Fair Boulevard, Syracuse, NY

Bring: Comfortable shoes, a rain poncho and/or umbrella. Bring signs celebrating food, wine, beer, farming, tourism and water. Bring money if you would like to enjoy the fair before departure.

Sign up for Carpools from Buffalo and Rochester Here
Co-sponsored by New Yorkers Against Fracking, Frack Action, Food & Water Watch, Catskill Mountainkeeper, NOFA NY, NYPIRG, Citizen Action NY, Sierra Club- Atlantic Chapter, Environmental Advocates, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, MoveOn.org, R-CAUSE, WNY Drilling Defense, Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy, Shaleshock CNY, GDACC, the Syracuse Peace Council, the Alliance for a Green Economy, PAUSE and more! 
We encourage everyone to also enjoy and support the NY State Fair while we’re there. It’s a wonderful event with many great vendors from across the state.  

Contact me at renee@frackaction.com for general inquiries. 
Thank you and see you at The Fair!

Renee Vogelsang