January 02, 2014

Joe Hoff /Keuka Citizens/ Bans & Moratoriums

Many organizations put forth year end accomplishments at the turn of each new year.  I debated on pulling together a report but I'm sure I'd miss something!  2013 was a very busy year in New York and every state and nation facing life with the massive industrialization and risks associated with high volume hydraulic fracturing.  People ask me all the time ... "How do you think it's going?"  And for NY my answer is always the same - there is no drilling here, the awareness is growing and we have lots of work to do!  The threats, money, corruption, contamination, and risks are very real.  But I am encouraged by the growth of our grassroots movement and its strength.

I'd like to share with you a letter written by Joe Hoff, Chairman of Keuka Citizens Against Hydrofracking.  The summary of the ban and moratoria and resolutions data is so extensive I have given it a separate and permanent tab on this blog for future reference!   Thanks to Joe and the Keuka Citizens for the fantastic work!
Oh well… another Christmas and still no “partridge in a pear tree.”  Frankly speaking, I don’t know anyone who’d want one.  And… though the “5 gold rings” sound pretty good, the thought of those “lords a leaping” scares me. 
But… the run-up to the 12 days of Christmas was filled with wonderful “gifts” that a variety of communities brought to their constituents and all of us in the Empire State, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
     Bans were established in Meredith (Delaware County), Hartwick (Otsego County), Butternuts (Otsego County), Lafayette (Onondaga County) and Moravia (Cayuga County) in New York.
      The salty fluids from hydrofracking will be banned from roads and treatment plants in Onondaga County on January 1, 2014.  The county legislature unanimously approved a law that forbids the treatment of hydrofracking fluids in any wastewater treatment plant and the spreading of it on roads to reduce ice.  The law reads "The toxins and radioactive materials found in hydraulic fracturing (‘hydrofracking’) waste are detrimental to the public health and should be kept out of the county water supply and off county roadways.”
      Almost fifteen counties in New York have already protected their residents by passing county-wide legislation against fracking. Erie could become the next county to ban fracking pending a public hearing and a favorable review by the county executive.  Pressure is mounting in Yates and Monroe Counties to follow suit.
   The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that municipalities can retain control over drilling within their boundaries thus reversing a statute supported by the pro-fracking governor.  The energy industry and policy makers in Pennsylvania, the heart of the nation's gas drilling boom, are thinking about their next moves after the state's highest court threw out significant portions of a law that limited the power of cities and counties to regulate the industry. The state Supreme Court voted 4-2 to strike down portions of a 2012 law that had been crafted by Gov. Tom Corbett and his industry-friendly allies in the Legislature.  The court majority said the law violated the state constitution, although they issued different opinions about why.  "Few could seriously dispute how remarkable a revolution is worked by this legislation upon the existing zoning regimen in Pennsylvania, including residential zones," wrote Chief Justice Ron Castille. He said the law's rules represented an unprecedented "displacement of prior planning, and derivative expectations, regarding land use, zoning, and enjoyment of property."
    On Dec. 11, the Cornell University Faculty Senate adopted by a 43-13 vote a resolution calling for the school to divest by 2035 all its investments in the top 200 holding companies ranked by fossil fuel reserves. A similar resolution adopted by the Cornell Student Assembly in the spring had called for divestiture by 2020.  “These reserves already comprise three to five times more than the total amount of fossil fuels that can be burned before exceeding the 2°C rise in mean global temperature that scientists and governments have agreed is the threshold for dangerous climate change,” eight pro-divestment Cornell faculty members wrote in a letter to the student newspaper Dec. 4. “Nonetheless, these companies are financially committed to burning these reserves and continuing to explore for even more.”
      In New Jersey, Middlesex County Freeholders unanimously voted to ban the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” as a pre-emptive measure to protect residents from the method of natural gas drilling that scientists have deemed dangerous.  The county is the first in the state to ban fracking. Shortly after the ban was passed, Freeholder Charles Tomaro announced in a news release that copies of the resolution would be sent to all 20 counties in New Jersey encouraging them to also take action.
      Joe Health on behalf of the Onondaga Nation wrote a powerful position paper opposed to LNG facility regulations that will extend the infrastructure required for natural gas storage and transport.
I join with all clear-thinking New Yorkers in calling upon Governor Cuomo and the county legislators (who have not yet enacted prohibitions from HVHF drilling, transport and storage) to protect the health, welfare and safety of all living creatures in their region by prohibiting HVHF drilling, its transport and storage and spreading of its wastewater and cuttings from our landfills and roadways.  Doing so would be a wonderful gift to present to the citizens of our great state and nation.  May 2014 see enlightened action from our duly elected officials on behalf of all of us.
Best wishes,
Joe Hoff, Chairman
Keuka Citizens Against Hydrofracking

See you at Albany on Jan 8 - may our voices remain strong and straight forward in 2014!

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