October 24, 2014

A Bigger Picture

The art of distraction is a powerful political tool.  We experience it daily when the conglomerate news agencies simultaneously focus on one story, all the while another important issue is looming in the shadows.   Such is the situation with our struggle to "ban fracking" in NY and around the nation.

While thousands upon thousands of activists, scientists, and professionals continue to do the important work necessary to understand and expose the risks involved with the technology of high volume hydraulic fracturing, aka fracking, the infrastructure web of the fossil fuel industry grows quickly through a different set of rules and regulations.  State by state, activists work with state laws and environmental departments to make the dangers of fracking transparent.   But the regulatory agency controlling the pipelines necessary to foster the gas industry growth are elsewhere.  FERC, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission,  is the controlling agency of intra-state structures like the Constitution pipeline and others.   Just today FERC announced their approval findings for the Constitution pipeline. 

All around the northeastern states, citizens are jamming town halls and public hearings.  But for some reason, the powers-to-be seem to work and thrive elsewhere.  No Fracking Way has an excellent report today from Chip Northrup with a summary exposure of many of the actions taking place currently.  Be sure to read:
Most People in NY, MA., VT. and NH Won’t Get Fracked. They’ll get gassed. And dumped on.

Direct citizen actions will be forthcoming in Washington DC aimed at FERC.  Read more at Beyond Extreme Energy.

We must remain diligent with our eye on the biggest picture.  

We Are Seneca Lake

The Texas-based energy corporation, Crestwood Midstream, is moving forward with plans to store highly pressurized, explosive gas in abandoned salt caverns on the west shore of Seneca Lake, despite documented instability of the salt caverns and concern over impacts to water quality and public safety. Construction is slated to begin October 24th. Learn more about the projects and their risks.

Salt cavern gas storage is part of a coordinated effort to build out massive infrastructure throughout the Northeast for fracked gas (methane), thus maintaining our dependency on fossil fuels for another 20 years – at a time when we critically need to be addressing climate change. Methane is 86 times more potent a greenhouse gas than CO2 over that same time period. This is a bridge to nowhere, and we are standing up to stop it.

We the people have testified, commented, rallied, marched, authored letters, delivered speeches, made phone calls, lobbied elected officials, and otherwise pursued all available avenues to convince local officials and regulatory agencies to protect us from the harms that Crestwood’s storage facilities pose to our health, environment and economy. Our appeals have fallen on deaf ears; we find ourselves thwarted at every turn.

We will not sit idly by while, behind a veil of secrecy and deceit, Seneca Lake is turned into a gas station for the fracking industry.

We believe we have a solemn responsibility, for the sake of our children and those who come after us, to protect the health and well being of the lake that has given so much to us and makes our lives, and livelihoods, possible. We are committed to resisting the dangerous industrialization of our beautiful lake region and our agricultural and tourism-based economy. And we are equally committed to peaceful, non-violent action. In this, we bring love and resolve to our efforts.

Seneca Lake is our home. Seneca Lake is our water. It flows around us and within us. Seneca Lake brings tourists to our shores and grows wine grapes on our hills. We are Seneca Lake.

TAKE ACTION TODAY - CALL GOV. CUOMO - Tweet - Share this story. 

For a review of the Crestwood / FERC story see EcoWatch report Oct 5:

October 22, 2014

Rally at Buffalo

Quick Reminder - See Events page:  Today Oct 22 is the rally at the Governor's debate in Buffalo NY.    All three candidates will be present so it is a great opportunity to remind them all.... NY can be the leader in green renewable energies and not follow the path of destruction with continuing fossil fuel developments!

October 06, 2014

Stop Dominion New Market Project

Open Letter from Sandra Steingraber, New Yorkers Against Fracking
Dominion Transmission Inc. (DTI) -- the same folks that brought you Cove Point LNG -- is now threatening to dramatically expand the use of fracked gas in New York State and pump hundreds of thousands of tons of greenhouse gas into the air. Dominion calls it their "New Market Project".
The project would increase by 112,000 Dekatherms per day the capacity of Dominion's main pipeline, which brings gas north from the fracking fields of Pennsylvania to the Finger Lakes, Syracuse, and points east to Albany. But to push larger and faster volumes of gas through its aging pipeline, Dominion intends to build two big new compressor stations in Chemung County (Horseheads) and Madison County (Georgetown), and massively expand a third one in Montgomery County, south of Fort Plain near the Otsego County line. Additional facilities would also be built or modified in Dryden, Utica, and Schenectady.

More gas means more fracking, air and water contamination, risks to public health, and accelerated climate change. And the three proposed compressor stations would be huge, noisy 11,000 horsepower industrial facilities that threaten public safety and continuously pump carbon dioxide, methane, and hazardous chemicals into the atmosphere 24/7. Altogether, they would be responsible for over 200,000 tons of additional greenhouse gas emissions each year.

To make matters worse, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is not even requiring an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to consider impacts. Instead, the project is being reviewed through a much more abbreviated process called an Environmental Assessment (EA). Furthermore, despite the fact that Dominion's New Market Project impacts much of New York State and spans 200 miles of pipeline, the public has been granted only ONE scoping hearing.

This is an outrage, which is why we need a massive turnout of people to voice objections and concerns to FERC about their process this Wednesday!  Here's where to go:

Dominion New Markets Project Scoping Hearing
Wednesday, October 8th at 7:30 pm
Georgetown Town Hall in Madison County995 State Route 26, Georgetown, NY 13072
This is a "scoping" hearing, which allows for preliminary input on the review process. So in addition to objecting to the project, here are a few things to insist be part of FERC's scope of review...

*  It is an outrage that FERC has scheduled only one scoping hearing for a major project that impacts much of New York and 200 miles of pipeline. Demand that additional scoping hearings be held and that the timeframe for submitting comments be extended.

*  FERC should require a full Environmental Impacts Statement (EIS) instead of letting Dominion pursue an expedited Environmental Assessment (EA). The EIS process would require a much more comprehensive analysis of direct, indirect, and cumulative induced impacts, critical to a project of this scale. Demand a full EIS.

*  Dominion has named this its "New Market Project" because it wants to create new markets for fracked gas. Therefore, in addition to studying impacts of the project's components, a comprehensive build-out analysis of cumulative impacts resulting from the increased use of fracked gas should be performed, including the likelihood of future power plants, CNG/LNG facilities, and other types of gas-related infrastructure for distribution. A build-out analysis should also be performed of negative environmental, health, and societal impacts of more drilling and fracking enabled by additional flow capacity in the pipeline. Both upstream impacts (like harm to air, land, and water resources from gas wells) and downstream impacts (like radon gas in homes) should be studied.

*  The Dominion pipeline connects to the Iroquois pipeline, which is planned for reversal so that it will carry gas from the U.S. to Canada. Dominion will therefore be a direct conduit for exporting fracked gas. FERC must analyze this conflict in determining domestic public need. It is also improper segmentation to consider this project without regard to all of the economic and environmental impacts of exporting natural gas, which the project facilitates.

*  A comprehensive health impact assessment should be performed to evaluate the potential negative effects, short and long-term, to people living near and at various distances from the proposed compressor station projects.

*  Surrounded by homes and farms, the expanded Brookman Corner compressor (south of Fort Plain near Otsego County) would spew over 96,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions into the air every year, nearly twice the emission rate of the other two proposed compressors (each projected to release 54,000 tons per year). This is unacceptable.

*  The public must be granted full access to information, including critical energy infrastructure information (CEII) necessary to assess emissions and safety factors.

*  The greater risk of pipeline failure due to increased pressure and flow rate must be fully analyzed, especially since parts of Dominion's pipeline network are up to 50 years old, have corroded with age, or may have been constructed using outdated, inferior welding techniques. Maximum allowable operating pressure must be made public and verified.

*  Safety and compliance records of the operator must be disclosed in the record and considered by FERC.

For more information:
FERC Announcement:

Dominion New Market Project Application: Docket number CP14-497

Link to a video series about the project, compressor stations, and pipelines:

Thanks for all you do!
- Sandra and the NYAF Team

September 16, 2014

Climate March Week

This is a very busy week for those concerned with the climate changes facing our future.  Continuing with dirty fossil fuel energy is not in our best interests!  Lots of actions are taking place this week and weekend.  See the Events page for happenings in the Rochester area and links to the NY Climate March on Sept 21.   Also, be sure to look at the Film page here for a direct link to the new film:

Food and Water Watch has just released  The Urgent Case for a Ban on Fracking.  Read about the report and follow the direct links at http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/blogs/to-save-the-climate-we-need-a-ban-on-fracking/

September 12, 2014

Gov Cuomo in Rochester NY

What:    Rally to BAN FRACKING outside Cuomo's Fundraiser in Webster, NY

When:   Wednesday, September 17 at 4:30pm
Where: Outside of 420 Windward Shores, Webster, NY

Please invite your friends in the Rochester area on Facebook:
Governor Andrew Cuomo is having a fundraiser on Wednesday, September 17th for his re-election campaign. Governor Cuomo's donors and supporters will be there, so it's important that the anti-fracking and pro-renewable energy movement are also present to leave an impression! Fracking in New York would put our health, air, land, and water at risk and we need to show Governor Cuomo that if he fracks New York, Rochester will remember in November. We must urge Governor Cuomo to not move forward with fracking and instead invest in sustainable, stable jobs in renewable energy. Let's bring our signs, our voices, and the facts on the dangers of fracking and tell Governor Cuomo: NO FRACKING WAY!