Saturday, December 22, 2012

Message to Residents of the Town & Village of Morris

Everyone who lives here in Morris should view this video. 

Is this to be our future?  Will our narrow valley corridors amplify the sounds from drilling operations and compressor stations?  Will the airborne contaminants be trapped in our valleys?  When our property values diminish, can we expect that our property taxes would be reduced accordingly?  Is it already too late to sell out and move elsewhere?  With the Morris Central School situated on two major state highways, has the town board calculated the risks to children who travel this corridor to and from school?  Are the leaders on our town board simply paralyzed by fear and afraid to take a stand to protect us, when neighboring towns have already taken bold steps to protect the citizens of their communities by exercising home rule and implementing land use regulations?  Or has the Morris Town Board been sold a bill of goods by the pro-gas coalitions and the gas companies?  Should we be asking ourselves whether any member of our town board is expecting to profit as the result of leasing their property for drilling (as does our district's county rep)?  Which local business expects to reap the greatest profits when/if drilling comes to Morris?  Will the citizens of Morris sit idly by and simply allow ruthless corporations to reap their profits at the expense of the people?  Or do we care enough about our children, our parents, our grandchildren, our grandparents--and ourselves--to stand up and take action now?

I'll be here at home awaiting your answers to these questions.  Merry Christmas!

Date: Fri, 21 Dec 2012 20:24:05 -0500
Subject: [otsego-coalition] great video: Life next to a glycol dehydration station in NE Pennsylvania.

Agree.this is an excellent educational video.
On Dec 21, 2012, at 2:44 PM, William Huston wrote:

Wow. you won't believe this video:
By Scott Cannon / GDAC

Glycol Dehydrators / Pipeline impacts

On Fri, Dec 21, 2012 at 1:02 PM, born female <> wrote:
Life next to a glycol dehydration station in NE Pennsylvania. They had a blow off recently at this location. Neighbors complain of constant noise and vibrations in their homes, enough to rattle and move pictures on the wall. Say they were lied to about the extent of this operation. Worry about depreciation of property values.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Americans Against Fracking

Dear Friends,

I am excited to send the first update on Americans Against Fracking. We are at a unique point in the movement against fracking, and I am excited and humbled to be working with such an impressive and diverse group of organizations to stop this dangerous practice.  The work you do truly inspires me!  

In just over a month, there are over 150 organizations that are part of this coalition to ban fracking including national groups such as Food & Water Watch, CREDO Action, National Nurses United, 350, Democracy for America, Greenpeace USA, Center for Biological Diversity, and Breast Cancer Action.  In addition, this powerful coalition also includes leading regional, state and local groups including Berks Gas Truth, Delaware Riverkeeper, Frack Action, Our Longmont, Illinois People's Alliance, Catskill Mountainkeeper and Frack Free Stark among dozens of others across the country. Together we will be stronger and more unified than ever before. We will change the dynamic and the prevailing messages around fracking in this county.

We will work together, new friends and old, to build a more powerful, coordinated and strategic political movement to compel our elected officials to put the interests of our families, communities and planet above those of the big oil and gas companies that are poisoning our communities.

So, here's what's happening:

We will be hosting a conference call on January 16 to discuss the vision for the coalition, next steps and the structure/working groups. We wanted to do this after the holidays to maximize participation. We will send out more information on this in the new year.

But, before that, we wanted to announce a couple of exciting events that are coming soon.

1) We have created some materials around the new feature film on fracking, Promised Land.   Energy In Depth is launching a campaign to discredit the film, so it's critical that we mobilize our collective membership out to screenings and make our voices heard.  To that end, we have developed a downloadable flyer that uses Promised Land to highlight the need to ban fracking.  

The flyer has editable fields where you can type in the name of a targeted state or local official for phone calls. The flyer also has editable fields for you to insert the name of your organization and website. We are encouraging people to use the opening night on January 4 (or on December 28 in select locations) as an opportunity to inform the public and get some good publicity. We also hope that people will take photos in front of their local theaters with signs against fracking and post them on the Facebook page. Join and spread the word about the Facebook event page, which provides directions to get the flyer and a place to post photos from movie theater actions. Please share this page.

2) We will be facilitating a national call in day to President Obama on January 25. His so-called clean energy plan calls for greater shale gas production and more fracking. We need to push back and tell him not to pursue policies that facilitate fracking. He will be giving his state of the Union Address on January 29, when he is sure to talk about energy. He needs to get the message loud and clear that we need to ban fracking now! Here is the event page for this.

We are a new coalition, and we appreciate your patience as we get our systems up and running, but together we can build on the tremendous organizing that all of us have been doing and take the campaign to ban fracking to another level.  If you have any questions, please feel free to reply to this email.  

Have a great holiday! Let's have fun and make a difference around Promised Land, and hit the ground running in the new year.


David on behalf of Americans Against Fracking

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Radon in Shale Gas

New York City: Is Radon a Game Changer?

There’s an incongruity in official New York City policy: The position that fracking is too dangerous for “our” watershed, but a necessary evil elsewhere––because New York’s economy “needs” gas* to grow, “needs” gas to clean up our dirty boilers–is part and parcel of PlaNYC, (the Mayor’s blueprint to “green” the city).
While PlaNYC has many positive features, in this regard it encourages fracking. Even officials who’ve otherwise been champions against fracking have parroted this incongruous policy. Over and over again they rail against the evils of fracking in our watershed, yet maintain that, “the City needs the gas.” With rare exception, officials seem terrified to “just say no.”
While New Yorkers Against Fracking and grassroots activists across the state build a movement to ban fracking in New York State, those officials who’ve hesitated before may soon find saying, “no” is the only responsible answer. One reason for that change may be radon.
When people in NYC first learn there’s radon in gas, they are generally shocked. When they learn that radon levels in their gas might rise, due to plans to deliver high-radon Marcellus gas directly to city stoves, they are alarmed.
Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. Residents in NYC who use gas stoves and laundry dryers have even more chance of inhaling radon, because our apartment kitchens are typically small, enclosed spaces without adequate ventilation.
A current debate about how much radon is likely to be piped into city homes was spurred by a report from Dr. Marvin Resnikoff, which estimated radon levels from Marcellus gas up to 70 times the average. Spectra Energy, builder of a pipeline planned to transport that gas into Manhattan, countered by commissioning 2 studies to refute Resnikoff. The United States Geological Survey then released a report measuring actual levels at a handful of Marcellus wells. Dr. Resnikoff has taken issue with the methodology of that report, and even the study’s author notes that the small sampling is preliminary. Still, readings from several wells were high enough to be problematic.
What’s needed is an in-depth, peer-reviewed, statistically significant study of radon levels from Marcellus wells, plus a survey of actual city ventilation conditions. Without that, it’s not unreasonable, even for those who insist that “New York needs the gas,” to call for a halt to delivery of Marcellus gas to NYC, and any new pipelines to supply it. It’s only reasonable to call for new laws requiring public utilities such as Con Edison to deliver gas at “safe” levels. It’s reasonable to enforce building code in city kitchens, many of which do not meet ventilation requirements.
But the real solution is to simply skip over yet another layer of regulation and legislation and admit, once and for all, that the use of gas simply causes us too much grief. The reasonable plan is to stop using gas––or any fossil fuel––altogether, and move on to where we must head anyway: to renewables.
*For the uninitiated, we refer here to methane, so-called “natural” gas, rather than gasoline.
Clare Donohue is Founding Member of the Sane Energy Project.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Leading Environmental & Health Experts Call on Cuomo to Open Health Review to the Public

Prepared Remarks, Albany Press Conference, “Cuomo Puts the Cart Before the Horse on Fracking—Elected Officials, Leading Environmental and Health Experts Call on Cuomo to Open Health Review to the Public,” Dec. 3, 2012
 I am Sandra Steingraber, biologist at Ithaca College 
 I saw some of you last Thursday when I was here to announce the launch of Concerned Health Professionals of New York—an initiative of doctors, nurses, and environmental health researchers. 
 Concerned Health Professionals was launched in response to the secrecy of the ongoing health review, the exclusion of New York State’s own public health experts in the process, and Governor Cuomo’s rejection of our unified demand for a transparent, comprehensive Health Impact Assessment.
 Not knowing what documents the three outside health reviewers have been asked by DOH to review, we’ve created a website: where we’ve uploaded peer-reviewed studies, reports, and our testimonies and letters to serve as a repository of our many concerns about the consequences of fracking for public health. 
 Since then, we’ve also uploaded an  eight-minute video appeal to the three panelists from three of New York’s leading public health physicians, two nurses, the founder of New York Breast Cancer Network, and myself—an environmental researcher.  In this video, we speak directly to the three panelists about our most urgent concerns.  These include—
 ·      Radium in flowback fluid
 ·      Diesel exhaust and its link to breast cancer risk
  ·   Impaired birth outcomes of newborns born to women living near drilling and fracking operations
 None of these concerns appear in the last iteration of the sGEIS. We have no idea if they are in the current one or are part of documents pieced together in secrecy by the DOH.
 Okay.  Can I just say that this is crazy?  Scientists and doctors creating videos and websites funded out of their own pockets to get information and data to our out-of-state colleagues because our collective knowledge has been entirely ignored by our own government?
 But it gets even crazier.  On Thursday, we learned that draft regulations were being released.  On Friday, we learned that two of the three outside reviews—in whose hands the fate of millions of New Yorkers now lie—are being paid for 25 hours of work.  Twenty-five hours is three working days.  You cannot even READ all the literature on fracking’s health effects in three days. 
 So what should be a linear, deliberative process of decision-making—
 first, we investigate cumulative health impacts (how many New Yorkers will get sick and die if fracking comes to our state?), then we fold those answers into a larger EIS that examines if said impacts are acceptably mitigatable, and only then, if they are, do those results become the foundation for regulations—
 what should be a linear process of decision-making is twisted into a pretzel:
 The regs are out and we can comment on them. 
 But the EIS is not out. 
 And the health study, which should be its basis, isn’t even done, and it’s being carried out in total secrecy, and, oh, yeah, today’s the reported deadline for the receipt of the outside reviewers review based on unknown scoping and three days’ work. 
 That’s not just irrational.  That’s surreal

In twenty years of serving on state and federal advisory panels and watching science get turned into policy, I have never seen a more shameful process.  The scientific process behind the decision to frack or not to frack New York is befitting a Third World dictatorship, not a progressive democracy. 

Here’s what needs to happen:  The process by which the state of New York is evaluating health effects must be opened up to public scrutiny and input.  We must have public hearings.  We must define the broad spectrum of pollutants associated with fracking, document their fate in the environment, identify pathways of human exposure, and investigate long-term health consequences. 

Until then, the public health community of New York will raise our voices in objection.  Because science is supposed to be transparent, and the Governor’s process has been anything but transparent.  Because this process feels like a series of reactions to attacks from the fracking industry, rather than a deliberative process for implementing sound public policy. 

It is alarming for the administration to attempt to rush the enormous amount of work that must be done into the next 85 days.  We hope—and demand—that they will step back, see the dangerous path they are on, step out of the backrooms to engage the public, and keep their promise to follow the science.