Archives for category: Fracking

You’ve got to give Joel Tyner credit for gall. His campaign has managed to crank out a misleading, pre-primary robocall blast to Democrats throughout NY-19, in which Tyner says:

“Hi, this is Joel Tyner, a populist, progressive Democratic candidate for Congress in the 19th District, currently in my 5th term in the Dutchess County Legislature. I believe in core Democratic values. Unfortunately, my opponent says the jury is still out on fracking; I know it should be banned. I also stand with Maurice Hinchey, unlike my opponent, for Medicare for all and bringing back FDR’s Glass-Steagall Act to break up the big banks. Vote for me June 26th to be a strong voice for you and not an echo.”

This is blatant overreach (much like Tyner’s entire campaign). In the first place, he is misquoting Julian Schreibman on the fracking issue, by taking a radio interview comment out of context. He has been doing this for quite some time now. Julian Schreibman is against fracking. He knows it threatens our water supplies, and he doesn’t believe it offers economic benefits for New Yorkers. At an event in Catskill this past Sunday, Julian spelled it out: “fracking is bad for New York.”

Tyner is also overreaching by calling for universal Medicare when the health care reform we already have, along with Medicare itself, is under serious attack. And that points out a major distinction between these two candidates.

On the majority of issues, both Tyner and Schreibman are in close agreement. But Tyner is standing on his progressive soapbox as a longtime local legislator, while Schreibman has the organization, the resources, the experience and the political expertise to actually win against Chris Gibson this November.

Julian Schreibman held another “meet & greet” this past Sunday, at the Brik Gallery on Main Street in Catskill. It was an apt setting—Main Street had rebounded and was doing fairly well prior to the financial crisis; now it is a collection of largely empty storefronts where businesses, restaurants and galleries used to be (including Brik). This made Main Street an ideal setting for the recent, innovative “Wall Street to Main Street” exhibition put on by the Greene County Council on the Arts in collaboration with the artistic wing of Occupy Wall Street. Many of the window displays from that recently concluded exhibition remain, as the photo below demonstrates.

The Writing's on the Wall (or Window)
The Writing’s on the Wall (or Window)
Photo: John P. O’Grady

Mr. Schreibman spoke movingly, as though inspired by the reduced state of the street outside. He railed against America’s growing economic inequality, and vowed to do everything he could to address it. He also:

  • Spoke in favor of the DREAM Act
  • Firmly renounced fracking as bad for New York
  • Emphatically renounced policies of torture and rendition in America’s endless wars (this, in reply to an inquiry about his CIA background, which had nothing to do with field activities)
  • Explained how grateful he was for the help he received in getting a good (Yale) education, and described his belief that every American should be entitled to a chance at the same opportunities he had
  • Denounced our current Republican Congressman for voting against the interests of the 19th District
  • Announced strong support for new policies to stimulate economic growth in our region, including support for family farms and a strategic rural broadband initiative

It was another strong performance by a candidate whose appeal only continues to grow.

An important report from Working Families:

“This morning, a fracking compressor exploded in Northeast Pennsylvania, just 30 miles south of Binghamton.

As black smoke billows from the site, emergency crews from three counties are on the scene. The most recent reports suggest that workers are still trying to shut off the flow of gas. Luckily, no injuries have been reported so far.

The compressor station takes gas, extracted from the Marcellus Shale by hydrofracking, and pressurizes it for transport. Stations like these would spring up across New York if Governor Cuomo and the Department of Environmental Conservation approve fracking in our state.

Poisoned water, earthquakes, and now explosions. What more evidence do we need that fracking is too dangerous?”

Here is the link to news coverage by the Scranton Times-Tribune.

Governor Cuomo has quietly removed funding for the health assessment of hydrofracking, so that there will be no governmental data to prove that hydrofracking will result in increased levels of toxic chemicals in the air and water, with severe irreversible long-term health consequences for New Yorkers.

I don’t usually listen to the President’s Saturday noontime address. I hardly ever listen to the rebuttal. But I was driving in my car—a captive audience. The things the President said about energy efficiency and becoming less carbon-dependent all made sense.  And then, the rebuttal speech by North Dakota’s Republican governor Jack Dalrymple came on the radio. It made me see red—because it was red, as in Red State—and it was wrong.

To listen to him, North Dakota has everything. It’s the place we all want to emulate. The lowest unemployment in the nation; a “reasonable regulatory environment,” and a “friendly business environment,” too. It sounds like paradise—for the corporate scavengers whose reward for raping a state’s natural resources goes straight to their bottom line. In return, the public receives meager short-term results that disappear in a few short years, leaving long-term environmental problems, the full-impact of which is not yet fully understood.

Should New York City Emulate Fargo?
Should NY Be More Like Fargo?

It didn’t take long for Governor Dalrymple to get to his real message, once he finished touting the shining example North Dakota offers our country. He suggested we fling off the “overly burdensome regulations” the rest of the country is shackled by. His message that hydraulic fracturing is no danger—because it occurs 2 miles beneath the surface—ignores the evidence of fracking-related earthquakes and water contamination that point to a sad truth that is becoming all too obvious: what goes underground doesn’t always stay underground.

So, let’s see. If New York becomes North Dakota—then Albany would be Bismark, North Dakota’s capital, and New York City would be Fargo, North Dakota’s largest city. And the New York City Watershed … would be what?  An endangered artifact under siege with unknown health and environmental impacts affecting 9 million people.

So Governor, thanks but no thanks. I’d like to propose that New York State  pass on the North Dakota model and adopt the French model instead. The French Parliament voted 287-146 in 2011 to ban fracking in France. It makes sense—after all,  New York City with a population of nine million has more in common with Paris (metro population 10,354,675) and more to protect  than Fargo, ND (metro population 208,777).

Here is the Jewett Town Board’s resolution against using “fracking” brine on local roads:

The Jewett Resolution

The Town Board’s response was made in part because of a post on this site in January, and it’s an important step forward in the fight against environmental damage caused by fracking.

Justice Phillip R. Rumsey of New York’s State Supreme Court said last week that New York municipalities could use their zoning laws to ban oil and natural gas drilling. The ruling was a major setback for the Anschutz Exploration Corporation, which had sued the New York town of Dryden over its use of zoning laws to ban hydrofracking within town borders.

Although pro-fracking forces will continue to fight on, and spend a lot of money doing so, the judge’s ruling was a major victory for the anti-fracking movement. As the New York Times reported, “Officials of natural gas companies voiced concern that such local restrictions could render more areas of the Marcellus Shale off-limits to drillers in a state that is already proposing strict regulation of where the industry will be allowed to operate.”

Let’s hope more New York state towns follow Dryden’s lead. This is excellent news.

The water we drink today is the water that the dinosaurs drank!

Our fresh water is not a renewable resource. Once it is contaminated, it is gone forever! The chemicals used in fracking are not biodegradable and contamination is irreversible. Contaminated water can flow for miles underground within the water table and ruin our Greene County streams and wells, even coming from adjacent counties and states.

Fracking in the US and Europe will mean the loss of huge quantities of our finite fresh water supply. Such water is already scarce in many places, leading to social and economic conflicts. Greene County is flush with fresh water that will become a valuable resource/commodity. Let us keep our Greene County water pure by opposing fracking anywhere in New York State and beyond.

In what has been described as a stunning departure from First Amendment policy, House Republicans directed Capitol Hill police to detain a highly regarded documentary crew that was attempting to film a Wednesday hearing on fracking. Josh Fox, director of the Academy Award-nominated documentary Gasland, was taken into custody by Capitol Hill police yesterday, along with his crew. Republicans had objected to their presence and ordered the arrest, according to Democratic sources present at the hearing.

The meeting of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment had been taking place in room 2318 of the Rayburn building.

Barring journalists is extremely rare on Capitol Hill. The rules requiring pre-approval for film crews are designed to prevent hearings from being disrupted by hordes of camera operators, but that was not the case for this hearing. Only two cameras requested entrance to the event, which was not crowded.

“It’s an outrageous violation of the First Amendment,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) said. “Here we’ve got an Academy Award-nominated filmmaker, and it’s an important subject and the subject that he did his prior film on for HBO. And they put him in handcuffs and hauled him out of there. This is stunning.”

The hearing was already being filmed by C-SPAN. Josh Fox and crew had only sought to obtain higher-quality video by bringing their own cameras to the event. Fox has been charged with “unlawful entry” and his court date is set for February 15.

BlueInGreene staged a well-attended free screening of Gasland at the Catskill Mountain Foundation last November.

Paul Trautman
Jewett NY 12444

January 26, 2012

Jewett Town Board
Jewett Municipal Building

3547 County Rte. 23C
P.O. Box 132

Jewett, NY 12444

Dear Carol Muth (Supervisor), Steve Jacobs, James Pellitteri, Michael McCrary, and William Trach:

RE: Use of Fracking Brine on Jewett Roads

As everyone is aware, hydro-fracking for natural gas is not an immediate concern for the Town of Jewett, since both DEP and DEC plans exclude the New York City watershed from any drilling. However, there is a use for the fracking brine on roads that is controversial and of great concern.

A.D. Call & Sons Excavating of Stafford, N.Y has recently received DEP permission to use the fracking brine on the roads of nearby Medina. It seems that the salt from the brine can be used to de-ice the road surface during winter. The water from fracking contains salt, and is being called a “natural brine” to be used for winter snow and ice clearing, and dust management. However, this waste fluid also contains toxic chemicals, heavy metals and radioactive materials. Among the contents of this brine is mineral salts plus arsenic, mercury, thallium, chromium, other heavy metals and NORMs (naturally occurring radioactive materials) – whatever toxins are in the layers that are drilled though.

Since this brine, if used on Jewett roads, would enter our streams and aquifers, I strongly urge the Jewett Town Board to pass a resolution prohibiting the use of the residue brine from fracking on any roads within the town.

We need to protect our water and land, something upon which we can all agree. Thank you very much for your consideration.


Paul Trautman


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