Monday, July 25, 2011

Imagine fracking the Otsego County Fair

Here's a satellite view of the fairgrounds as seen on

Put a fracking pad on the fair grounds - like the one on the shore of Beaver Run Reservoir in Pennsylvania. A few buildings would have to go -- actually all of them.

Of course you will won't get much gas unless you do that high volume hydrofracking with well bores going out in 8 directions from the well pad. Where would approximately 4,000 foot horizontal runs take you? The scale of the map had to be changed to show this. The possible drilling path is shown in red.

Here's a satellite view of the fairgrounds as seen on

Now you won't get very much gas out of these wells unless you frack them. Let's say 8 million gallons per frack times 8 wells. 8 x 8 million = 64 million gallons. That's about 161 acres covered with water one foot deep. Of course it is not just water that is used for fracking. A number of chemicals some named and some not named are mixed with the water along with some sand before fracking.

Is this scenario even imaginable?

Well if you live in the New York City or City of Syracuse watershed you don't need to lose any sleep over it because the NY DEC has you covered. If you live outside of that area then the best chance you have is to get your town board to adopt some land use regulations that will keep out heavy industry, including high volume slick water horizontally hydrofracking.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Advocates for Springfield Ban on Heavy Industry


P.O. Box 25

Springfield Center, New York 13468

Update #57

July 23, 2011

Otsego Lake Towns Act to Protect Area from Heavy Industry

Since our last Update, Springfield has enacted a local law that forbids heavy industry (which by definition in the law includes gas drilling). This new law, based upon the police powers of a town to protect the health, safety and welfare of its citizens, clearly states that heavy industry is in conflict with the Town’s Comprehensive Plan. The law goes on to note that the town’s geology of limestone bedrock is fragile and heavy industry may create serious risks to our water supplies. Our unconsolidated aquifers are susceptible to contamination, and the rural character of the town (including its reliance on agriculture) should be protected. The presence of heavy industry will put at risk our roads and our historic landscapes. For these and other reasons, the Town Board enacted this new law which states that “it shall be unlawful for any person to conduct any new “Heavy Industry” …within the Town of Springfield.”

By enacting this local law, Springfield joins a growing list of towns in the Marcellus shale region that are taking the initiative to protect their areas. In Otsego County, the towns of Otsego and Middlefield have amended their zoning ordinances to exclude heavy industry. Cherry Valley recently adopted a new zoning law with a similar provision. Other towns are considering taking action too.

These laws may be challenged by the gas industry or by property owners who have leased their land to drillers. In New York State, land use decisions are typically left in the hands of municipalities and under the State’s constitution, Home Rule is a protected right. However, under the State’s Environmental Conservation Law, NYS has exercised a preemptive power to supersede local laws in order to allow for development of certain natural resources such as gas and oil.

Those towns that have enacted local laws forbidding heavy industry can anticipate legal challenges. It is our belief, however, that such challenges will not prevail. A parallel challenge of the State’s Mine Reclamation Law was unsuccessful about fifteen years ago, and the MRL was changed based upon the courts’ ruling.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Candidates Against Drilling

Anti-fracking Candidates for Otsego County

County Board of Representatives:

District 2 - Butternuts, Morris, Pittsfield
Teresa Winchester
465 Chicken Farm Rd.
Otego, NY 13825
(607) 441-0435
Otsego County Representative (incumbent opponent James Powers)
Make checks payable to Friends of Teresa Winchester

District 4 - Town of Oneonta
Richard Murphy
35 Ceperley Ave
Oneonta, NY 13820
Otsego County Representative (incumbent)
Make checks payable to Friends of Rich Murphy.

District 5 - Towns of New Lisbon, Hartwick, Milford
Barbara Monroe
319 Bliss Gulf Rd.
Oneonta, N.Y. 13820
Otsego County Representative (open seat)
Make checks payable to Friends of Barbara Monroe

District 7 - Middlefield, Roseboom, Cherry Valley
Beth Rosenthal
500 County Hwy 50
Cherry Valley NY 13320
Otsego County Reprensentative (open seat)
Make checks payable to Beth Rosenthal; add memo: campaign 2011

District 8 - Town of Otsego
John Kosmer
179 Day Rd
Fly Creek, NY 13337
607 547 2344
Otsego County Representative (incombent opponent: James Johnson)
Make checks payable to: John Kosmer

Candidates running for town offices:

Town of Milford, Town Supervisor
Chris Harmon
47 Sunset Blvd.
Oneonta, NY 13820
Checks can be made to Friends of Chris Harmon

Town of Otsego, Town Board
Bennett Sandler
PO Box 179
Fly Creek, NY 13337
Make checks payable to Friends of Bennett Sandler

Other anti-fracking candidates running for town offices :

Town of Morris, Supervisor
Marilyn Roveland

Town of Otsego, Town Board

Julie Huntsman
2151 County Highway 26
Fly Creek, NY 13337
Make checks payable to Julie Huntsman; add memo: campaign support

Town Supervisor, Town of Westford
Steve Zerby
PO Box 7
Westford, NY 13488
Make checks payable to Steve Zerby

More anti-fracking candidates
running for various town offices, but they are also endorsed by

Town of Butternuts: Michele Farwell, Heather Covington, Mark Harvey
Town of Hartwick: Keith Parr
Town of Milford: Marcia Membrino
Town of Morris: Bob Thomas, Dawn Sieck
Town of Plainfield: Alanna Rose
Town of New Lisbon: Bob Eklund
Town of Westford: Steve Hatfield, Karen Wyckoff
Town of Unadilla: Ed Gross

Monday, July 11, 2011

Where Does A Gas Lease Begin and End?

Where does a gas lease begin and end?

Professor Anthony Ingraffea speaks to an interested crowd about high volume slick water hydrofracturing and the impact it may have on one's fellow man.

A really big thought in just a bit more than a minute.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


47 Groups Call on Cuomo for Statewide Fracking Ban

 Broad-Based Coalition Denounces DEC Fracking Plan, Demands Protection for all New Yorkers From Fracking

ALBANY, N.Y. - July 7 - Following Governor Andrew Cuomo’s decision to allow the process of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) across 85 percent of New York’s Marcellus Shale, a coalition of 47 consumer, faith, food, environmental and multi-issue advocacy organizations today called for a statewide ban on fracking. The coalition includes several national and state organizations including Food & Water Watch, Frack Action, Democracy for America, Friends of the Earth, Credo Action, Center for Heath Environment and Justice, Catskill Mountainkeeper and Citizen Action New York.

Last week, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) released its recommendations on fracking, allowing the practice in most areas of the state outside of the New York City and Syracuse watersheds. The DEC’s plan, which informed Governor Cuomo’s decision, leaves many New Yorkers without equal protection from the environmental and public health risks associated with fracking, and still exposes New York City and Syracuse residents to many impacts of shale gas drilling, including toxic air emissions.

“The DEC’s recommendations on fracking will turn many areas of New York into sacrifice zones, allowing this toxic, polluting practice at the detriment of public health, the environment and rural economies,” said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. “We urge Governor Cuomo to protect New York and its residents over the special interests of the oil and gas industry by banning hydraulic fracturing in New York State.”

Under the DEC’s plan, thousands of new wells will be drilled across New York, using billions of gallons of fresh water, and industrializing rural communities across the state. Opponents of fracking fear that allowing the practice to flourish in some areas will breed catastrophic accidents that could affect all New York residents.

"Has governor Cuomo been hoodwinked by industry into thinking this is safe? The fact remains that New York needs to have some serious fundamental questions answered about the dangers of hydro- fracturing, not just carve out some special places to placate New York City,” said Wes Gillingham, Program Director, Catskill Mountainkeeper.

“Governor Cuomo got it wrong when he said fracking can be done safely,” said Claire Sandberg, Executive Director of Frack Action. “Not only does this practice carry an unacceptable level of risk, but there is no rationale for drilling when we know that the promises of limitless energy and continuous economic growth are not borne out by the facts.”

The coalition also presented Governor Cuomo with a letter signed by 47 organizations urging him to ban fracking in New York.

“By banning fracking in the New York City and Syracuse watersheds, the Cuomo administration is clearly demonstrating awareness about the potential for serious hazard to the citizens of those municipalities,” said David Braun, co-founder of United for Action. “ It is unacceptable however, that they create a double standard and leave the rest of the good citizens of New York state completely vulnerable to serious toxic threat, and protect only a portion of the population. Why are upstate citizens any less important?” 

"Fracked natural gas is a dirty fuel that will make global warming worse,” said Alex Moore, dirty fuels campaigner, Friends of the Earth. “Governor Cuomo should put clean water and a safe environment ahead of gas company profits."

This opposition to fracking heats up here as other states have passed legislation banning the practice. Last week, the New Jersey State legislature sent Governor Chris Christie a bill that would ban fracking in the state, and North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue recently vetoed a bill that would have allowed fracking. To date, more than 60 municipalities in the United States have passed measures against fracking.

“It’s clear that New Yorkers strongly oppose fracking, and want all of their water protected from it. Nearly 20,000 New Yorkers signed our petition to Governor Cuomo in just the first 24 hours,” said Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager, CREDO Action. “It would be outrageous for Governor Cuomo to allow fracking in New York."

A recent investigative series by The New York Times found that the natural gas industry has exaggerated the economic benefits of fracking, while downplaying its risks to public health and the environment.

“It’s wrong and unfair for the Cuomo administration to lift the ban on fracking, as it is a technology that has proven to destroy land, water, public health and economic growth,” said Lois Marie Gibbs, executive director of the Center for Health, Environment & Justice. “It is especially despicable to provide an exception for the Syracuse and New York City watersheds, while opening up the rest of the state to hazardous drilling. If it’s too dangerous for these urban areas, then it is too dangerous for all of New York. People across the state deserve equal protection. Governor Cuomo, don’t frack New York!”

Opponents of fracking worry that Cuomo’s support of the practice in some areas of New York signals a deference to industry. Thousands of New Yorkers have called Governor Cuomo’s offices asking him to ban fracking and hundreds of concerned citizens have flooded his Facebook page, asking him to assert real leadership by banning fracking in New York.

Groups urging Governor Cuomo to ban fracking in New York include:

Food & Water Watch;

Frack Action;

CREDO Action;

Center for Health, Environment & Justice;

Citizen Action of New York;

Friends of the Earth;

Democracy for America;


Damascus Citizens for Sustainability;

United for Action;


New York Residents Against Drilling;


FarmHearts; Chenango Delaware Otsego Gas Drilling Opposition Group;

Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition;

Brooklyn Food Coalition;


Sane Energy Project;

NY Permaculture Exchange;

WNY Drilling Defense;

No Frack NY;

The Village Independent Democrats;

Advocates for Morris;

New Yorkers for Clean Water Inc.;

NO Gas Pipeline;

FrackAlert, Inc.;

The Community Church of New York, Unitarian Universalist;

Action for Justice Committee, the Community Church of New York, Unitarian Universalist;

Westchester for Change;

Democracy for New York City;

People for a Healthy Environment;

New York Yearly Meeting, Religious Society of Friends;

Environmental Task Force;

Hopewell Junction Citizens for Clean Water;

Empire State Consumer Project;

Slow Food New York City;

STARK and Dryden Resource Awareness Coalition;

Hudson River Sloop, Clearwater Inc.;

Earth Day Network New York;

Chenango Community Action for Renewable Energy;

Gas Drilling Awareness for Cortland County;

NYC Network;

Huntington BC Action Coalition;

Coalition to Protect New York;

Moving in Congregations, Acting in Hope;

Clean Water New York;

Gray Panthers, NYC Network.


Friday, July 1, 2011


Thursday, June 30, 2011

An URGENT Open Letter to NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo

Actual posting time is 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 30, 2011. Something is wrong with the blogger clock/calendar.

This posting is appearing in Alternet and other publications. Urgency dicatated that I post it online immediately so people can bombard Cuomo with calls and e-mails expressing their [fill in your own word: fury, disappointment, anguish, disgust, heartbreak, terror, determination to fight harder and elect people who will protect our rights to clean air, clean water, safe food supplies, decent communities, and our rights to NOT BE POISONED . . .]

Dear Governor Cuomo,

We just got word that you're lifting the fracking moratorium in the New York City and Syracuse watersheds. I'm almost apoplectic from shock, anger, grief, and terror.

A former farmer and trained environmentalist, researcher, and independent journalist, I have spent much of the last three years learning and writing about fracking. I am a cofounder of the Coalition to Protect New York, among other actively engaged organizations working to ban fracking in our state and elsewhere.

We do not trust the Department of Environmental Conservation to get things right on fracking. Even if it were a reliable and trustworthy agency, the DEC’s budget has been cut so drastically and its workforce decimated to the point that it’s virtually hamstrung.

We do not trust — nor should any sensible, informed citizen or legislator trust — corporate-bought politicians and corporate "scientists."

For the moment we must trust that you are not among that group and that you truly want to do what is right for New York State.

In these tough economic, energy, and environmental times it will take a visionary, forward-thinking leader to bring the state into the future with an innovative energy/jobs/climate-change-effects-lessening plan.

You could be that leader if you have the desire and political will to do so.

It appears you have decided to lift the moratorium for the state outside the New York City watershed (because Wall Street traders, corporate tycoons and big bankers live downstate) and Syracuse watershed (tossing a bone to the rest of the state, according to cynics), while throwing the rest of us to the wolves.

This means you think of the rest of the state’s residents and environment as expendable.

You may be committing political suicide.

Many millions of New Yorkers now know what is at stake with fracking, and more are coming to that understanding daily as they learn of its ills in other places.

That speaks to the dedication of my fellow antifracking activists, who are fighting an industry that can without blinking an eye drop $150 million or more yearly to hoodwink the public and lobby legislators with false propaganda. Their ads claim that “natural” gas is “clean, safe, domestic, and patriotic.” And that it’s an economic panacea for struggling workers whose jobs have been eliminated or sent abroad.

Which, as you surely know, are all false claims.

Governor, you should quickly reconsider lifting the moratorium. The only sensible, responsible, long-term response to the devastating practice of fracking (a response that would also greatly offset our economic woes) is to
1) immediately institute a statewide fracking ban (New Jersey’s legislature just passed one; it’s waiting for Governor Christie’s signature, which is probably not forthcoming; but you could be the first);
2) invest in wide-scale updating and reinforcing of infrastructures and in conservation/energy-efficiency rehabilitating existing public and private buildings and homes;
3) commit to the building and maintenance of long-term energy-efficient public transportation and codify mandatory greater fuel efficiency in all private and public large, small, agricultural, and industrial vehicles;
4) invest in research, development and implementation of renewable, sustainable neighborhood- and local-based energy systems, and write and enforce laws mandating the phase-out of all fossil-fuel based systems;
5) protect and keep public all drinking water supplies;
6) promote and foster healthful, organic agriculture and food distribution models; and
7) invest in public education programs about conservation, the reduction of energy consumption, and about renewable energy strategies.

Following such a plan would save money through conservation. It would reduce our need for and dependence on fossil fuels (which dependence, as you know, is unsustainable, even in the short term). It would also create plenty of safer, stabler, longer-term jobs, as the “green” sector expands with innovative new projects.

Perhaps most important, it would help stave off further hastening of catastrophic climate change and leave a legacy of forward-thinking and sustainability — rather than one of industrialization and ruination of lives, communities, and food and water supplies.

Fracking is the single most important issue facing New Yorkers. It will add water-pollution, air-pollution, and food toxicity illnesses, generate injuries to workers and others, and thereby increase our health care costs.

It will cause property damage and drain our communities of tax revenues that will need to be used to repair roads and bridges damaged by the thousand of trucks it takes to provision a frack well and remove the millions of gallons of contaminated waste generated by each well.

It contributes to greenhouse gases and global climate change and the increasingly commonplace whacky weather patterns we are seeing in New York and elsewhere. It will kill our tourism, outdoor adventuring, and agriculture and vineyards enterprises around the state—which would constitute economic suicide. Those industries combined bring in about $2.2 billion annually and provide 515,000 jobs (and will likely grow as neighboring Pennsylvania’s hunting, fishing, agriculture, and tourism sicken and die of fracking-related causes).

We must not allow the progress we have made these last few decades on the clean air/clean water/safe food to be wiped out via one destructive industry, nor allow our bucolic state to be turned into an industrial wasteland.

Because, mark my words, that is what fracking will do to New York should your permits go through.

New York is “Fracking Ground Zero.” People in fracked states are looking to us for leadership, begging New Yorkers to stop the madness before it takes hold here. They do not want us to be poisoned, and they also want us to then help them stop the industrialization and maybe help reverse some of the damages (although, alas, it is too late for many of these states, and huge swaths of land as well as people’s health and properties are beyond reclamation) of their communities.

Governor Cuomo, I urge you to be the leader New Yorkers need — and in whom they put their faith in when casting their votes.

Do not succumb to industry/Wall Street pressure. Do not put profits before our health. Do not gamble with our lives.

This is a make-or-break issue for me, my family, and the many organizations to which I belong and which I have founded or cofounded. We are making this the top priority in our lives and in our daily and many political actions. We feel we are fighting for our way of life — indeed, for our very lives. We want you to be equally committed to saving what is precious and irreplaceable.

Please invite us to consult with you if your information is leading you to lift the moratorium. We are informed. We are knowledgeable. We are farsighted.

We are taxpaying scientists, medical doctors and practitioners from many fields (oncology, pulmonology, pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, physiatry, endocrinology, and psychiatry), farmers, water quality specialists, hazardous materials experts, teachers, entrepreneurs, businesspeople, writers, artists, homeowners, renters, teens, college students, parents, grandparents, voters.

We will help you understand that fracking risks are far too great, too widespread, too permanent, too irremediable, too suicidal on so many fronts.

We are also motivated. There’s nothing that pulls people off their couches like a threat to their kids' health and their property values. We will not allow ourselves to be used as lab rats, cannon fodder, or "collateral damage."

So you can be sure that we will not stop fighting for a ban. We hope you will do the right thing and push for a total ban on fracking in New York State.

And Governor, please make the decision quickly. We have all lost countless hours to this fight — and countless hours of sleep to our deep and very real fears of what fracking will do to our future, and our children’s — and we would like to go back to being productive rather than reactive. Our reinvigoration and productivity will also help the troubled economy, about which you might be losing a lot of sleep as well.

We are also willing to sit on an advisory board to help you put the positive sustainability/conservation work mentioned above in place. Just ask us.

My family, friends, colleagues, fellow activists and I look forward to your response.


Maura Stephens
Tioga County, NY

Maura Stephens is an independent journalist and cofounding member of the Coalition to Protect New York and other groups. She writes frequently about fracking and other environmental and energy issues. To contact New York Governor Andrew Cuomo:; (518) 474-8390. Let him know you're outraged and you think fracking is the most important issue facing us -- and what his actions will mean for your future votes and support. And then really get involved. Join an antifracking group and become an activist. Growing our numbers and our outrage will help fuel a mass movement -- the only force that is going to save everything we care about from greedy corporate destruction