Friday, October 17, 2014

Protect a Lake Erie Nature Preserve and Public Park from Private Development

Please Sign a Petition to Protect an Existing Nature Preserve and a Public Park on the Lake Erie Shore

Extensive private development (grey buildings, above) has been proposed along Times Beach Nature Preserve (left), an important resting area for migrating birds, and in Wilkeson Pointe (right), the popular wind-sculpture park built with Public Funding last year.

Times Beach Nature Preserve and Wilkeson Pointe are part of the Buffalo Outer Harbor on the Lake Erie shore, as shown below [click image to enlarge].
Developers' Building Plan

This waterfront property represents a significant aspect of our national heritage and it should be protected for public access as well as for historical, environmental, and educational purposes. Proposals to this effect have been put forward by several citizen groups, but current developer proposals still appear to be fast-tracked for approval.

Please support efforts to save this valuable property for our prosperity.

To Read and Sign the Petition, Click Here

Please help to spread the word by sharing the petition link below with others:

Thank You for your Support! 

UPDATE: The Buffalo News, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014 - Nature Watch: Outer harbor land should be dedicated to public access, By Gerry Rising

[Click image to enlarge]



Excerpts from articles in the news:
NY high court rejects Dryden fracking suit revival

New York’s highest court rejected an attempt to revive the fight against the Town of Dryden and its fracking ban.

In a precedent-setting decision last June, the Court of Appeals ruled 5-2 that communities have the right to use local land-use authority to prohibit oil and gas operations within their borders.

On Thursday, the court denied a motion by the trustee for bankrupt Norse Energy to re-argue its case against the Town of Dryden.

Read more here.

More New Yorkers Oppose Fracking: Poll

A new poll conducted by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an environmental activist group, shows 56 percent of New Yorkers oppose fracking in the state. The survey of 802 New Yorkers was conducted by a third-party research firm in late September.

A similar survey by Quinnipiac University in mid-August found that only 48 percent of voters opposed fracking.

Anti-fracking activists have redoubled their efforts in recent weeks, following Gov. Cuomo on the campaign trail in an attempt to have him take a stance on fracking before the election, but the governor has kept a steadfast ambivalence on the subject.

Read more here.

Report: New York Governor’s Office Altered And Delayed Fracking Study

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration edited and delayed a fracking study commissioned by the state, according to a review by Capital New York.

The New York news outlet reported Monday that the Cuomo administration had altered a report on the natural gas extraction technique commonly referred to as fracking. The report was commissioned in 2011 and was “going to result in a number of politically inconvenient conclusions” for the governor. A comparison of the original draft of the report, which was put together by the U.S. Geological Survey, and the final version, showed that some of the original descriptions and mentions of fracking-related health and environmental risks were “played down or removed.”

Read more here.

Duke researchers explore potential dangers of fracking

With North Carolina's ban on fracking set to expire next year, Duke researchers are looking into the potential dangers of the technique.

“We sampled hundreds of homes with private drinking water wells, and found that people living near shale gas wells are more likely to have methane, ethane, and propane, the components of natural gas, in their water,” said Robert Jackson, formerly of the Nicholas School of the Environment and now a professor of environment and energy at Stanford University.

“I think there’s a perception amongst some people in Raleigh that they don’t want to hear about problems that might occur,” Jackson said. “I think the Mining and Energy Commission was designed to establish rules to help drilling come to North Carolina, not to decide whether or not drilling should come to North Carolina. That discussion never really happened.”

Read more here.

Residents Harmed by Fracking Demand EPA Administrator Drink their Tainted Water
Want EPA to Reopen Investigation of Drinking Water Contamination By Fracking

WASHINGTON - Affected community members from Dimock, Pennsylvania, along with advocacy organizations, rallied outside of EPA Headquarters to demand that EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy either re-open investigations into fracking’s impact on people and the environment, or drink frack water from Pennsylvania that her agency has told residents is safe.

The action came after a year of gathering over 250,000 petitions, thousands of calls, and dozens of events asking McCarthy to meet with them, following the Los Angeles Times story that revealed the Obama Administration had shut down the EPA fracking investigation that found their drinking water contamination linked to drilling and fracking operations.

“My water is brown and smells so bad it will make you nauseous, yet EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy tells me and my neighbors that this poison is safe to drink,” said Ray Kemble, a resident from Dimock, PA who was part of the EPA’s fracking-related water investigation in 2012. “To make matters worse, Gina McCarthy is promoting more and more fracking across the country, meaning my story will be shared by millions of Americans. This has to stop.”

Read more here.

Frackers are dumping toxic waste into California’s groundwater

California can officially add one more disaster to its rapidly growing list of water woes: The EPA just found that at least nine fracking sites throughout the state have been dumping billions of gallons of contaminated wastewater into its protected aquifers.

Not only do many of these aquifers supply drinking water to residents throughout the Central Valley, they’re also reaching dangerously low levels due to overuse, as many farmers rely on aquifers for irrigation and have been overpumping groundwater supplies as the drought carries on.

According to a letter sent to the EPA by the California State Water Resources Board, roughly 3 billion gallons of wastewater were illegally injected into aquifers throughout central California. The EPA ordered the report following contamination concerns after 11 fracking wastewater injection wells were shut down in July by state officials.

Read more here.

Michigan landfill operator suspends receipt of low-level radioactive waste

A Van Buren Township hazardous-waste landfill operator, slated to receive up to 36 tons of low-level radioactive waste from a Pennsylvania fracking company, announced Monday that it will suspend receipt of such materials from all oil and gas operations pending a review by the state.

The announcements follow an Aug. 19 Free Press report on plans by a Pennsylvania oil and gas development company, Range Resources, to ship radioactive fracking waste to Wayne Disposal. The sludge was rejected by landfills in western Pennsylvania and its shipment to a landfill in West Virginia was halted by the state and voluntarily discontinued by the company, as West Virginia reforms its laws for handling such waste.

Ohio and West Virginia, two states with more intensive fracking activity than Michigan, have changed regulations on how to store, treat, process and dispose of radioactive oil and gas drilling wastes. Pennsylvania also doesn’t allow the materials in its landfills. Each of the states leaves it to oil and gas developers to find a disposal site. As Ohio tightened its regulations, state officials listed the Wayne Disposal site in Van Buren Township as an option for Ohio drillers.

Read more here.

[Click image to enlarge]

Anti-Fracking Rally at Bidwell Park in Buffalo - Saturday, 11am

Global Frackdown in Buffalo with ZEPHYR TEACHOUT!
  • Saturday Oct. 18th at 11 a.m.
  • Bidwell Park (Elmwood Ave. & Bidwell Parkway, Buffalo) Across the street from the farmer's market
Invite Friends on Facebook: Click Here

On Saturday, October 18 — will you take a stand against fracking in Buffalo? The Global Frackdown is a massive day of international protests against fracking. It's a day for us to come together — to unify as New Yorkers and as members of our global community — to demand an end to the dirty and dangerous practice of fracking. Join the Global Frackdown in Buffalo!

In Buffalo we'll rally to tell Governor Cuomo that he mustn't frack with our future and instead invest in renewable energy in New York State. Along with the rally will be a community speak-out that welcomes the public to pick up the microphone and say a few words, or recite poetry or spoken word about the dangers of fracking.

The day's forecast currently rainy but our event will happen rain or shine. You may wish to bring an umbrella, poncho, or other rain gear. Attendees will be able to pick up free rally signs, literature, event handouts, and purchase an anti-fracking lawn sign at the information table any time during the event. Sign up for the speak-out will take place on a first-come, first-serve basis with a total of eight spots. We will be set up at the blue tent with the table, sound system & podium underneath.

Cosponsors: Sierra Club Niagara Group, PUSH Buffalo, NYPIRG at Buffalo State, Food & Water Watch, New Yorkers Against Fracking, Citizen's Campaign for the Environment - Buffalo, WNY Peace Center, Western NY Drilling Defense, Protecting Our Water Rights (POWR), and Nurse Rise ~ Nurses for Safe Water.

Press Conference & Rally:
Rita Yelda, Food & Water Watch - Zephyr Teachout, Fordham Law Professor & Gubernatorial candidate - Lynda Schneekloth, Sierra Club Niagara Group - Julia White, NYPIRG at Buffalo State - John Washington, PUSH Buffalo - Mary Herbst, RN & member of Concerned Health Professionals of NY
- Meghan Zaldivar, PUSH Buffalo

Community Speak Out - 3 spots
Music & Performance: The Nickel City String Band
Community Speak Out - 3 spots

Music & Performance: My Rap Name is Alex - Dave Harter
Community Speak Out - 2 spots
Music & Performance: Tyler Westcott  - Ismail & Company - Lauren Gay (dance) - Active Hope (dance) 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Senator says Fracking "inherently dangerous" - Calls for Ban

The evidence is in, so ban fracking  .
It's proven a nightmare to Pennsylvanians .

By Liz Krueger .
Krueger is a state senator representing Manhattan’s east side and parts of Midtown.

If anyone in New York was still buying the utopian vision being sold by the oil and gas industry regarding fracking — free energy! new jobs! no risk! — a flood of recent news should end the delusion once and for all.

Consider fresh reports about the experience of Finleyville, Pa., where residents were promised easy money with no headaches back in 2008.

But once the trucks and heavy machinery came in and the fracking began, everything changed. Families found their homes unlivable. Houses vibrated and were filled with continuous noise. Air quality warnings and gas odors forced some to flee.

In one especially disturbing case, a pregnant woman was advised by her doctor to relocate to an area further away from a drilling site.

Given the gas industry’s track record, what came next in Finleyville shouldn’t be a shock — but, in its utter shamelessness, it was pretty rare, even for them.

In 2013, homeowners were offered $50,000 to sign away their rights to hold the drilling corporation, EQT, legally responsible for its negative consequences, and those of any future operations.

These agreements covered health problems, property damage, and other negative effects including noise, dust, light, smoke, odors, fumes, soot, air pollution or vibrations.

And the liability releases wouldn’t just exempt the drillers from damages related to drilling, but from its construction of pipelines, power lines, roads, tanks, ponds, pits, compressor stations, houses and buildings as well.

It’s telling that these very same companies that seek legal cover from damage claims consistently insist in public that fracking is safe and has no damaging effects on the environment, health or quality of life.

Despite industry claims that fracking has been a rousing success, people across Pennsylvania are suffering from its effects.

The state’s former health commissioner recently confirmed that state government was derelict in considering the public health impact of the drilling process. Its health department discouraged its employees from addressing public complaints about health issues believed to be related to fracking.

And Pennsylvania’s experience is no anomaly.

In January of this year, the Associated Press published findings from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas and West Virginia demonstrating connections between fracking activities and water contamination. Contaminants include methane, arsenic and various hormone-disrupting substances.

Even the gas industry’s claims about fracking’s economic benefits have been debunked. An independent report by the Multi-State Shale Research Collaborative disproved industry assertions that every gas well created 31 jobs, finding instead that it was only four.

For the past few years, the oil and gas industry has tried to lure New Yorkers with false promises.

But New Yorkers are smarter than that. The grassroots opposition to fracking in our state grows stronger by the day, with an accompanying abundance of science to substantiate our cogent opposition. A new Qunnipiac poll puts opposition statewide at a record high of 48%, compared to 43% support.

New York finds itself at a crossroads. We know that, with the technology and engineering methods currently in use, fracking is inherently dangerous and would result in irreversible harm to New Yorkers; health, our natural resources and our billion-dollar agricultural industry.

Yet the Cuomo administration is still officially reviewing how fracking impacts people’s health.

The state’s highest court recently upheld the rights of cities and towns to ban fracking within their borders. This is a step in the right direction, but pollutants caused by fracking will not conform to municipal boundaries.

As elected officials, it is our job to weigh the facts and science, and then act to protect New Yorkers. It is time for both houses of the state Legislature to pass a bill banning fracking — and for Gov. Cuomo to sign it.

Published on September 1, 2014 in the New York Daily News

Community to Rally and Speak Out Against Fracking

On Saturday, October 18, 11am, we'll rally at Bidwell Park in Buffalo to tell Governor Cuomo that he mustn't frack with our future! Instead, Cuomo should invest in renewable energy in New York State.

Along with the rally will be a community speak-out that welcomes the public to pick up the microphone and say a few words, or recite poetry or spoken word about the dangers of fracking (please prepare a 5-minute speech or performance.)

Additionally, there will be:
- Music from The Nickel City String Band, Alex Mead, Dave Harter, and fun from the Buffalo Joywalkers and Linda Abrams
- Expert speakers discussing the growing connection between fracking and our health
- Pick up a lawn sign, sign the petition to ban fracking, and find out what we're up to in your community

We need you with us to stand together to send a clear message to Governor Cuomo: we demand a future powered by clean, renewable energy, not one that depends on dirty, polluting fossil fuels.

Join and Invite your Friends on Facebook: Click Here

Global Frackdown Video: Click Here

Sponsors include Sierra Club Niagara Group, PUSH Buffalo, NYPIRG at Buffalo State, Food & Water Watch, New Yorkers Against Fracking, Citizen's Campaign for the Environment - Buffalo, Western NY Drilling Defense, and Protecting Our Water Rights (POWR).

World On Your Plate - Conference on Food & Sustainable Living

Friday, October 3, 2014

Massachusetts Avenue Project Invites Public to 'Be the Carrot'

$1 Million Capital Project on Buffalo’s West Side -- Fundraising has already secured $588,888

The Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP) will expand its existing community imprint with the construction of The MAP Farmhouse & Community Food Resource Center adjacent to its urban farm on Massachusetts Avenue between Brayton Street and Shields Avenue.  On Tuesday, October 7th, agency staff and supporters will be on site to announce this innovative partnership and invite the public to "Be the Carrot" for MAP at the 389 Massachusetts Avenue farm at 10AM on Buffalo’s West Side.

At the event, everyone will have an opportunity to “Be the Carrot” by donating to MAP's capital campaign and posing for a fun picture with agency staff and board members, project funders, elected officials and youth benefactors.  As an incentive to contribute, the first 20 people to “Be the Carrot” on October 7th will receive a special edition “#Iamthecarrot” t-shirt.  The next 30 “Carrots” will receive a jar of MAP's own Growing Green Works Super Duper Salsa.  There will be refreshments served, donated by Sweetness 7 on Grant Street, and all contributions will support the construction of the Farmhouse.

Lead by MAP Executive Director Diane Picard, the Farmhouse project was given lift by an initial investment of $300,000 from the Junior League of Buffalo and the Buffalo News’ 2014 Decorators’ Show House competitive grant process. To ensure the receipt of these funds, MAP's goal is to have the remainder of these funds committed to the project by year end.  Well on its way to meeting this milestone, MAP secured $150,000 from the Patrick Lee Foundation, as well as $100,000 through State Assemblymember Sean Ryan and $10,000 through Buffalo Common Councilmember David Rivera.

The 2,700 square foot, environmentally “green” Farmhouse will offer multi-use indoor and outdoor spaces, a state-of-the-art teaching kitchen, a resource library, farm equipment storage and space to distribute locally-grown food to the surrounding community. The MAP Farmhouse will be the first of its kind in the country. These offerings are of particular importance in an area with high rates of childhood poverty and nutritional gaps.  Project partners include the University at Buffalo’s Food Lab and Grassroots Gardens of Buffalo, among others.

MAP’s Farmhouse will adjoin the agency’s current 13 lots, covering over an acre of reclaimed vacant lots in a formerly blighted residential neighborhood. One of MAP’s flagship programs, Growing Green, employs nearly 50 Buffalo teens each year who grow, harvest and distribute thousands of pounds of organic produce each year while learning how to make healthy food more local and available for all.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact Rebekah Williams, MAP's Youth Education Director at or call 716-882-5327 ext. 6
MAP Website: