MORATORIA, BANS, and RESOLUTIONS
New York, Pennsylvania and a Sampling of Municipalities and Key Organizations from Varied Locations Opposed to Hydrofrack Drilling
New York State
214 Communities Protected, (48 of these are in the NYC/Syracuse Watersheds) and 90 Municipalities Staging for Passage of Draft Legislation –
304 Municipalities as of 7/7/14
2,562,000 New Yorkers Protected
Letter from Joe Hoff:
Recent Independence Day Celebrations reaffirmed for many that ours is a beautiful country with a rich heritage of highly patriotic citizens… citizens who both at the inception of our nation’s birth and today still stand tall for what they believe.
Here in the Empire State of New York a resounding call for strong local municipal home rule was registered when NY’s highest court decided once and for all that it is legal for NY towns to ban fracking inside their borders through well-constructed zoning ordinance. The decision affirmed the rulings of the lower courts, which had ruled in favor of the towns. The New York State Constitution established the right to home rule more than 120 years ago.
In this precedent-setting ruling that could have wide implications on the future of shale-gas drilling in New York, the state Court of Appeals ruled 5-2 in favor of the towns of Dryden, Tompkins County, and Middlefield, Otsego County. The two towns had been embroiled in separate, three-year-long legal disputes over the validity of their local fracking bans. An out of state oil-and-gas company and a Middlefield dairy farm had challenged the bans, contending that New York law gives full power to the state to regulate the industry. Their view did not prevail!!
It is now incumbent on those towns who awaited the decision… those towns who used their rightful prerogative of home rule to enact a moratorium against natural gas and oil hydrofrack drilling… and those towns who cautiously viewed the legal happenings of the past three years to take action to protect the health, welfare and safety of their municipalities’ citizens by enacting a BAN against said practices.
All municipalities are called to their best selves by following the lead of the towns and cities on the attached list in enacting a prohibition of the devastating practice of HVHF and its related activities and infrastructure. We are all downstream from tainted waters and downwind from toxic air. It is essential that a total ban be enacted in our state and in every municipality for the benefit of current residents and generations not yet born. A unified approach is in the best interests of all municipalities.
The advertising claims of oil and gas interests are fallaciously argued… without substance. The bubble of their false promises has been burst. Recent polls indicate that the majority of New Yorkers desire to keep fracking and fracked gas infrastructure out of New York.
The Governor of New York and his minions in the DEC are well advised to heed the wishes of our citizens and the mounting scientific proof by vetted research that the destructive effects of HVHF drilling, transport and storage must be kept out of our borders. The quality of the pure water we drink, the air that we breathe and the sanctity of our economy are not political chips to be frivolously bartered for the incorrect notion of short-term benefits.
Sincere best wishes,
Joe Hoff, Chairman
Keuka Citizens Against Hydrofracking
ADDITIONAL NEWS TO CONSIDER…
- Overseas, Germany plans to adopt regulations that will rule out shale fracking for the foreseeable future. The government wants to ban hydraulic fracturing in shale rocks and coal beds at depths less than 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) and prohibit all types of fracking in water protection areas. The country has long recognized the benefits of moving away from fossil fuels and has a track record of increasing success using wind, solar and geo-thermal sources of energy. They now generate 37 percent of their daily electricity from wind and solar and analysts predict that number will rise to 50 percent by 2020. A recent “record” was set (for a day) when 74% of all electricity generated in the country was produced by these alternate sources.
- The US Navy appears to have achieved the Holy Grail of energy independence – the process pulls carbon dioxide (the greenhouse gas driving Climate Change) out of the ocean. The new fuel is initially expected to cost around $3 to $6 per gallon, according to the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, which has already flown a model aircraft using the fuel.
One of the less well-publicized aspects of Climate Change is that the ocean acts like a sponge for CO2 and it’s just about reached its safe limit. The ocean is steadily becoming more acidic from all of the increased carbon dioxide. This in turn poisons delicate ecosystems like coral reefs that keep the ocean healthy.
If we pull out massive amounts of CO2, even if we burn it again, not all of it will make it back into the water. We could even pull some of it and not use it in order to return the ocean to a sustainable level. That, in turn will help pull more of the excess CO2 out of the air even as we put it back. It would be the ultimate in recycling.
- In Texas, the Denton City Council is expected to consider a petition for a local ban on fracking. Denton has 270 gas wells within its city limits, but 2,000 residents have signed the petition to ban more. And Texas law is deferential to local authority over land use.
- In Colorado, on the other hand, the state’s highest court now says local bans cannot pre-empt gas development. But the state legislature could still step into the long tug of war between local and state authority over drilling rights that has pitted the towns of Lafayette and Fort Collins against the governor and triggered a statewide voter initiative.
- The faith-based organization, Unitarian Universalists, consisting of more than 1,000 congregations, has divested from investment dollars in fossil fuel companies. “We are encouraged that the UUA can continue its longstanding successes in shareholder advocacy while helping to lead the divestment movement with the approval of today’s fossil fuel divestment resolution,” said David Stewart, co-chair of the UUA’s socially responsible investing committee.
- According to a recent study a dramatic jump in the number of earthquakes in Oklahoma to a rate never seen there by scientists before, appears to be caused by a small number of wells where wastewater associated with oil and gas production is injected into the ground.
NEWS FROM SENECA LAKE… (Thanks to Joe Campbell)
Here in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, Houston-based Crestwood Midstream intends to store — in abandoned salt caverns located beside 635-foot-deep, trout-filled Seneca Lake — 2 billion cubic feet of compressed natural gas (methane) and 88 million gallons of liquefied petroleum gases (propane and butane). According to Joseph Campbell, of Gas Free Seneca,
“It’s tantamount to burying giant cigarette lighters along the shorelines of paradise. But apparently Crestwood doesn’t care that Seneca Lake is a world’s top lakeside destination. As promised to shareholders, the corporation intends to turn the Finger Lakes into ‘an integrated natural gas storage and transportation hub for the Northeast’.”
• In September, a 2.0 earthquake struck the area, raising questions about fault lines running through the salt caverns — including one whose roof collapsed in the 1960s.
• In January, on the grounds that it threatens public safety and provides no evacuation plan, a group of Schuyler County health professionals called for a halt to this project.
• In March, on the grounds that brine pits, pipelines, compressor stations, flare stacks, and massive truck traffic will devastate the area’s wine and tourism industries, more than 100 local business owners denounced the plan. Their efforts were joined by luminaries in the world of wine who seek to develop vineyards along Seneca’s lakeshore: Paul Hobbs (“the Steve Jobs of wine”) and his partner, Johannes Selbach.
• In May, on the grounds that accidents would imperil drinking water, the Geneva City Council passed a resolution opposing the project. In so doing, the City of Geneva joined the towns of Waterloo, Ulysses, and Fayette, and three counties surrounding the lake (Ontario, Seneca, and Yates), all of which have condemned Crestwood’s plans.