Wednesday, September 26, 2012
As the Sikorsky Aircraft company is saying goodbye to the Southern Tier community of Big Flats (they are consolidating their operations in Florida) supporters of hydrofracking are saying the departure is the latest sign that gas drilling is needed to revive the economy of this struggling area. Here’s a statement from Karen Moreau, executive director of the state Petroleum Council on the looming shut-down and loss of 570 jobs: “If Albany needed a wakeup call about the sagging economy in the Southern Tier, today’s announcement from Sikorsky should do the trick. But a wakeup call is not enough; it must be a call to action. We know the answer to creating jobs and opportunity in the Southern Tier. We know what will allow young adults to stay in their communities and not have to move out of state for work. We know what will help bolster housing prices, and allow those who rely on this major investment for their retirement plans to realize their dreams. “The Marcellus Shale offers tremendous opportunities to create jobs and lift up entire communities, and we know that we can the extract natural gas in a safe and responsible manner. We know it because it’s happening across the country and right over the border in Pennsylvania. The State must move forward with hydraulic fracturing in a timely manner. To do otherwise is tantamount to turning your back on the Southern Tier.”
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
New York Daily News Sunday, September 23, 2012, 4:10 AM Studying connection between fracking and syphilis would be a waste of time In their desperation to block Gov. Cuomo from giving the okay for fracking in New York, die-hard opponents of the natural gas drilling technology are floating laugh-out-loud-funny health and environmental threats. Most hilariously, the enviro-activists have demanded that state officials explore an alleged link between fracking and — we kid you not — syphilis. They argue that a drilling boom would draw an influx of male workers from other states who would engage in activities of a kind that would spread sexually transmitted diseases. They also contend that a boom would trigger a housing crunch, adding to homelessness and the health ailments that go along with it. And that increased truck traffic would not only lead to more road fatalities, but would also — again, no kidding — discourage people from getting the outdoor exercise they need to stay fit. This is absurd. If New York starts saying no to entire industries on the grounds they might trigger population changes, rising home prices and truck traffic, it might as well turn out the lights. Have the people pushing these theories considered the health effects of unemployment and poverty — which are all too common in the parts of New York targeted for drilling? Have they forgotten the public health upsides of harvesting natural gas — which burns far more cleanly than other fossil fuels? What fracking opponents really want is not a study of imagined risks, but many more months of wheel-spinning in Albany — and additional fodder for litigation. Hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking, involves pumping millions of gallons of chemical-laced water deep into the earth at high pressure to release trapped natural gas. For four years, the state Department of Environmental Conservation has analyzed the extent of true health concerns, such as the potential for air and water pollution. As a result, the DEC has proposed what everyone acknowledges are some of the tightest regulations in the nation — including an absolute ban on drilling in the entire region surrounding New York City’s reservoirs. The opponents tried to push DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens into hiring a public health consultant to check out the danger of venereal diseases and all the rest. Smartly, he went only so far as to ask Health Commissioner Nirav Shah to review whether DEC has appropriately considered health concerns. If faux seriousness is what it takes to head off lawsuits, so be it. Stifling laughter is a small price to pay for progress toward fracking approval.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Dimock – Why Wouldn’t Anyone Listen? For those seeking the information, potential motive and facts about the Dimock Episodes, this is an informative article providing a more intimate view of the events from a local perspective. It would be safe to say, it is about the money, sadly it is always about the money. What does that say about NY politics? JLCpulse. By Jim Grimsley and Ann VanLenten of Dimock Proud Website Dimock Township Landowners Jim and I are residents of Dimock Township in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. We would like everyone to know how the “DIMOCK” horror began and how it has evolved. Following is the TRUTH as it happened. January 1, 2009 – There was an incident of a buildup of methane in an underground pit that housed Norma Fiorentino’s water well in Dimock, PA. That methane buildup resulted in a sudden explosion causing the concrete cover, of the water well pit, to break. Immediately, newspapers across the nation published the news of the “explosion due to natural gas drilling”. THE TRUTH THAT WAS NEVER PUBLISHED: The concrete slab that covered the water well was brand new (previously, there were old wooden slats covering the well). It was a newly poured concrete slab that was tightly covered with a tarp (to help cure the new concrete since the outdoor mean temperature was only 12oF that day). The explosion was caused by an electrical spark triggered by the well pump pressure switch. The pressure switch was inside the water well pit (under the concrete slab). This incident was the beginning of the legal battle between 18 families and Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. and the beginning of anti-drilling groups coming to Dimock and, unfortunately the beginning of the destruction of the good name and reputation of the Township of Dimock and its inhabitants. QUOTE FROM LAWSUIT: “An explosion was caused to occur in an outside, below-grade water well pit on or about January 1, 2009 on the property of Plaintiff, NORMA FIORENTINO, causally related to accumulation of evaporated methane gas in her wellhead”. Sorry, but the facts bear out that the explosion was caused to occur due to a change made by the landowner. Most people know that a water well pit must be vented. In this case, the well pit was tightly sealed and as a result the migrating methane was trapped inside the pit. Methane gas accumulated until it reached an explosive level in Ms. Fiorentino’s unventilated/ confined space. Hence – the explosion. Neither, Ms. Fiorentino nor her lawyers, have ever mentioned the facts leading up to the explosion but rather blamed Cabot Oil & Gas for it. We call this “lying by omission.” This lie was compounded by many other lies, half-truths, misinformation, and exaggerations by the Dimock litigants. It seemed that every week another accusation and abomination was added to the Dimock litigants’ story. Videos, interviews and anti-gas rallies mushroomed out of this one incident. Scare tactics were utilized and the general public was overcome with fear for themselves and sympathy for these 18 families. The reason we have gone to such great lengths of detail regarding the explosion that started this whole issue is – the truth lies in the detail. One must know all the facts before one can come to a logical conclusion about anything. NOVEMBER 20, 2009 – Press Conference Announcing Dimock Lawsuit ; 15 families vs Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation. (More families jumped on board later.) THE TRUTH THAT WAS NEVER PUBLISHED: The lawsuit was not just about contaminated water. The litigants wanted to be released from their signed lease agreements and be able to renegotiate a sign-on bonus that conformed to those that were signed by land owners years later – at up to 200 times greater dollar amounts (not 200%) – at $5,000 an acre or better; including a higher royalty percentage than 12.5%. QUOTE FROM LAWSUIT: In order to obtain the legal right to drill on Plaintiffs’ property, and extract natural gas from Plaintiffs’ property, Cabot obtained from each of the Plaintiffs an executed oil and gas lease agreement and addendum thereto (hereinafter referred to as “gas lease”). Each gas lease was solicited by a representative of Cabot who came to each of the Plaintiffs’ homes, unannounced, commencing in 2006. The gas leases were not negotiated at “arm’s length”. JANUARY 19, 2012 – At the request of 11 residents, the EPA announced it would perform water sampling at approximately 60 homes in the Carter Road/Meshoppen Creek Road area of Dimock, PA to further assess whether any residents are being exposed to hazardous substances that cause health concerns. MARCH 15, 2012 – 1st Set of EPA Water Tests – 11 wells – water is safe to drink. APRIL 6, 2012 – 2nd Set of EPA Water Tests – 20 wells – water is safe to drink. APRIL 20, 2012 – 3rd Set of EPA Water Tests – 16 wells – water is safe to drink. MAY 11, 2012 – 4th Set of EPA Water Tests – 12 wells – water is safe to drink. JULY 25, 2012 - In Final Action EPA Declares Dimock Water Safe. “PITTSBURGH (AP) — July 25, 2012 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday that it has completed tests on drinking water in the northeastern Pennsylvania village of Dimock and has determined it is safe to drink, despite the claims of some residents who say it has been polluted by gas drilling.” And still this handful of families living on or near Carter Road, in Dimock Township, claimed to have been abandoned by: •Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation (while testing the litigants’ water and attempting methane migration remedies the litigants promptly stopped Cabot personnel from entering their properties, disconnected the water treatment systems, and demanded potable water be delivered to their homes); •their neighbors (we quashed the plan to use public financing to build a waterline costing $11.8 million that would span 12.5-miles to supply municipal water to 18 familes in Dimock); •their Township (we told Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan to go home – we don’t need his water); •the PA Department of Environmental Protection (who mandated Cabot to deliver potable water to 11 homes while the DEP tested their water and reviewed Cabot’s test results; and finally; •the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (who tested and retested their water and came up with the same results as the PA DEP and Cabot – The water is fine). Concurrently, while everyone was awaiting the final EPA results, the lawsuit against Cabot was quietly being settled out of court. We believe the private settlement was reached in June 2012. Among others, the loudest, most vulgar, and most visible litigants (Craig and Julia Sautner) settled with Cabot. August 2012 – The Sautners sold their house, with 3 acres, in Dimock for $167,500. August 21, 2012 – The Sautners bought a house, with 36.01 acres, in Berkshire, NY for $212,500. Their new home has a private water well and guess what !!!! Their home is fueled by NATURAL GAS! The property also includes transfer of a mineral, oil and gas lease held by Talisman Energy U.S.A. Corporation. Isn’t that a kick. Now tell me – if you truly suffered with health issues due to contaminated water caused by gas drilling, would you ever again buy property with a gas lease???? Of course not. So much for Craig & Julia the environmentalists. They appeared on TV, at NY town meetings, anywhere and everywhere on the internet, saturating the media with their outrageous claims until they got what they wanted – their big payday – leaving turmoil and chaos behind and we have to clean up their mess. The so-called Anti-Fracking Groups must feel like fools for believing the Sautner saga. I hope someone tells them that their poster children have defected. The reputation of the Town of Dimock has been put through the ringer by the Sautners and the rest of their crew. We’ve been harassed, belittled, blamed, verbally abused, etc. (see dimockproud.com for verification). We kept saying that the litigants were keeping their lawsuit alive in the “court of public opinion,” but no one would listen to – or believe us. Good luck to the Town of Berkshire (especially the neighbors around 458 Ford Hill Road) and to Talisman Energy U.S.A. Corporation. Thank you for the opportunity to speak out. Most websites or newspapers do not extend that courtesy because our story is nothing more than the truth and the simple truth does not ordinarily make the headlines – We’re still asking ourselves: Why wouldn’t anyone listen?
Thursday, September 13, 2012
O'Mara: It's Time For D.E.C. To Make Fracking Decision Reported by: Bobby Brooks Published: 9/12 Elmira, N.Y. - One New York Senator says its time for New York State to make a decision on fracking. Senator Tom O'mara says it would be huge for New York to see the kind of revenue Pennsylvania is from gas drilling. O'mara says politicians have been waiting for the D.E.C.’s report on the effects of fracking for four years now. He says it's time a decision is made so the appropriate steps can be taken to make sure fracking can be done safely to benefit New Yorkers. O’Mara said, “We've been fortunate in Elmira and Horseheads along the Pennsylvania border to be able to serve the industry. That's why we've seen several thousand jobs in the Horseheads area, particularly Schlumberger. I can only see more jobs coming as we move forward.” O'Mara says the only negative impacts he'd see from the gas industry coming are a possible housing shortage or damaged roads. But as a result that would spark new construction for homes and apartments and most municipalities will charge gas companies a fee to repair any damaged roads
Saturday, September 8, 2012
Dear Friends, Coalition Leaders, Landowners, and Natural Gas Supporters, We are facing some of the most difficult days of our four-year fight to protect our rights and to begin natural gas development in NY. We have worked ourselves to the bone and sacrificed so much over the last four years. We held our breath, waiting for Governor Cuomo to keep his word to release the SGEIS by the end of the summer -- by Labor Day -- etc. Despite positive comments from our leaders in Albany, we are still in a torturous waiting game. Here is a quick summary of what the JLCNY is doing and what is ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL that you do -- keep doing -- and don't quit: · We have launched a massive call in campaign to the Governor and key legislators – it’s working! · We have written a powerful letter to the Governor and asked others such as a group of town Supervisors and the Greater Binghamton Chamber to do so as well. Those letters are attached for your review. · We have intensified our efforts in Albany to keep the pressure on the Governor and our Legislature. · We are working with top national and NY reporters to make sure they understand the issues, to get them to look past the misinformation, and to understand how this Hollywood inspired debate is hurting real people. · We are working on participating in two ad campaigns to counter the opposition and to keep the truth front and center. Here's what we need YOU TO DO: · CALL the Governor and the Legislators below. You should be calling every one of these numbers every single day -- and emailing if you have access to the Internet. We hear it is making a difference. Governor Cuomo 518 474 8390 http://www.governor.ny.gov/contact/GovernorContactForm.php Senator Bonacic 845 344 3311 firstname.lastname@example.org Senator Skelos 518 455 3171 email@example.com Senator Libous 877 854 2687 firstname.lastname@example.org Senator Seward 607 432 5524 email@example.com Senator Maziarz 716 434 0680 firstname.lastname@example.org Senator O’Mara 607 776 3201 email@example.com · Your Message: No More Delays -- We Need Natural Gas Development NOW. Governor Cuomo and the DEC have assured us that the SGEIS would be released this summer. It is crucial that the Governor direct the DEC to move forward now. Continued delay will thrust the release of the SGEIS into an even more heated political debate which is what the Governor had hoped to avoid. Natural Gas Development is supported by national and state leaders including President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg. Our members and communities are facing dire circumstances. They cannot hold on much longer. Continued delay will cause economic and employment opportunities to go to Pennsylvania . A delay will only serve to empower opponents. · Encourage everyone you can to call and email as well. · DON'T lose faith in our effort. We haven't gone through this exhausting, heart-wrenching journey to quit now. · Realize that our greatest strength is OUR UNITY and our numbers. Don't let anyone divide us. We are strongest as an independent, landowner organization. Thank you for your faith and your fortitude. We will see this journey through. We will win. But we have to stay together and we have to rise up. Stay strong. Make your calls and then make them again. All the best, Dan Fitzsimmons, President Joint Landowners Coalition of New York, Inc. DF/ Attachments JLC Ltr to Gov Cuomo 090512 final.pdf Chamber Letter to Gov Cuomo 8 12 pdf.pdf Supervisorletter Final.pdf Download All
Sunday, September 2, 2012
Dear Governor Cuomo – Please Save Us with Natural Gas 2012 September 2 tags: Cuomo, economy, Natural Gas, New York, sullivan county by EID Guest Blogger . Sondra Bauernfeind Retired Schoolteacher, Sullivan County, New York The following is a letter I recently sent our Governor, Andrew Cuomo in an appeal for action to address Sullivan County, New York’s long pressing economic development crisis. I offer it in the hope others will also write him and share their sentiments as well. The time for action on our economic crisis is now and the remedy is right before our eyes – natural gas. Please review and write a letter of your own. Dear Gov. Cuomo: Sullivan County is facing a possible 27% increase in the county tax levy. The real unemployment rate is around 20%. Many people are holding down two or three part-time jobs because there are not enough full-time jobs to generate a living wage. Sullivan County is at the top of the poverty list – 61st out of 62 counties. Our infant mortality is the highest in the State of New York. According to a Times-Herald Record article, 40% of the Sullivan County school children are on assisted school breakfast and lunch programs. The number of people who are now on the food-stamp program is increasing every day with the cost of food escalating so that these food-stamps are lasting only about two weeks. I could go on, but I think you get the idea. Sullivan County is hurting and the people of Sullivan County are hurting. But, the solution is buried beneath the layers of earth and rock in the Marcellus Shale region that lies within the western end of Sullivan County. Delaying development and the opportunity to harvest this natural gas resource will increase the suffering and mental and emotional anguish of those landowners who are barely hanging on to their property due to the lack of any means to earn a living wage. This fall, there were 357 parcels of property which went under the foreclosure gavel of the tax sale…. some houses…. someone’s home… assessed for over $250,000,00…. large tracts of land over 30 acres or more…. all because the owners could not pay their taxes. The shame of it is that the State of New York is still denying land owners the God-given right to use their property to generate the income which may have saved their very property . Exploration and development of natural gas and oil has been conducted in New York State since the1850′s. New York City has been using natural gas for heating and cooking for over 200 years. Natural gas has been powering the vehicles such as city buses and taxis for over half a century or more. Many private companies have been using natural gas as a fuel for their vehicles …. Verizon, NYSEG, Federal Express to name just a few. Natural gas is the cleanest burning fuel as the fossil fuels go. CH4 + O2 = CO2 + H2O…. methane (which is natural gas) + oxygen = carbon dioxide + water. The carbon dioxide, which is a product of respiration and burning, is very necessary to green plants as these plants take in carbon dioxide in the process of photosynthesis to make food for animals (including humans). This is the wonderful cycle of life. Delaying permission to harvest the natural resource of natural gas in New York State is to ignore the scientific studies conducted by the EPA in finding that hydraulic fracturing is a safe process as long as it is done properly. The fears of those who suggest otherwise. are like saying that automobiles should be banned because there are accidents involving automobiles. If the rules are followed and safety precautions are followed driving an automobile is safe.So , too, the drilling for natural gas is safe as long as the proper procedures are followed . The regulations developed by the DEC are the most comprehensive of any state. There is no way that any regulation can eliminate human error, but if the rules are followed, the possibility of error is curtailed. To ignore a valuable natural resource which has been harvested by neighboring states because of the fear factor being promoted by the anti-gas forces is to fall prey to the lies perpetrated by these forces. After attending meetings at which the pitch is made to “go green” and then to be subjected to a sales pitch for purchasing solar panels or wind turbines at prices that necessitate taking out a huge loan for a period of over 10 or more years, I have come to the conclusion this is simply an interference of free trade and preventing one industry to conduct business so another industry can have the advantage. This smacks of something illegal. I can see no reason for a further delay in developing natural gas in New York State. Our state has already lost two Congressional seats due to a reduction in population. People are fleeing New York State because of high taxes and a lack of jobs. Public schools have had to close due to reduced student enrollment. How much more of this negativity do New Yorkers have to endure? Gov. Cuomo, it is in your hands as the Governor of New York State to rescue New York from further economic downsizing and issue an Executive Order to development of our natural gas resources immediately. Thanking you for your kind consideration, I remain Sondra Bauernfeind Now, please write a letter of your own, won’t you? Here’s the address: The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo Governor of New York State NYS State Capitol Building Albany, NY 12224 You can also call-518-474-8390
Saturday, September 1, 2012
The Viewpoint story by Sandra Steingraber and Michelle Bamberger (“Yogurt Industry and fracking don’t mix,” Aug. 20, 2012) doesn’t accurately portray the reality of being a dairy farmer. In fact, their hackneyed assertions and conspicuous lack of knowledge and understanding is an insult to every dairy farmer in our state. I’ve been a dairy farmer in Steuben County for 45 years and I have never witnessed a single cow harmed as a result of hydraulic fracturing. The petroleum industry has been active in Steuben County for years, on my property and within a few miles of my farm. In fact, the natural gas industry has done more to help small dairy farms than Ms Steingraber and Ms Bamberger can imagine. We are losing small dairy farms all over the country, not because of the natural gas industry. The average age of a dairy farmer is 62 years old and they’re still farming because of their financial condition, which generally isn’t good. Some smaller farms are being bought up by larger farms. Farmers are selling heads of cattle to neighboring farms to earn money to feed the rest of the herd. The price of feed is escalating while the price of milk per hundredweight is dropping. This is not sustainable. If a farmer is fortunate enough to have harvestable shale formations under their land, the revenue from the lease and royalties is a godsend. It means the core business can be sustained. A family farm can stay in the family for another generation. The farmer may decide to sell his herd if his health is declining or use the extra revenue for newer, safer equipment or structural upgrades. These are all investments in New York state’s future because of the natural gas industry and wise choices by farmers. By drilling a well, America becomes more energy independent, another American solider is safe at home and another family farm is saved in New York State. Neil C. Vitale