Preble Takes a Stand

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A model for other Cortland Co. towns?  There are actually over 200 NY towns/cities/counties that have imposed bans or moratoria on various aspects of fossil fuel extraction, production, transportation and infrastructure.  Except for very specific bans on selling municipal water and processing fracking waste at the Cortland’s municipal treatment plant, this is the first ban in Cortland County and one of the most comprehensive state-wide.  This ban is based on the town’s comprehensive plan and on a revision of the zoning code,  local and external legal and technical consultation and extensive official and citizen participation.

Preble’s ban recognizes that the threats to its agricultural and rural character extend far beyond the drilling of gas wells because explosive fossil fuels require massive industrialization–pipelines, storage facilities, surface transportation by trucks and rail, compressors, etc.  Even if the NY hydrofracking ban remains in place, the fossil fuel infrastructure will continue to expand.

Concerns go beyond “worry” about water contamination, explosions, health dangers, economic boom and bust and destruction of existing economies.  Research from PA, CO, TX and other heavily industrialized fossil fuel production areas is providing proof that these impacts are real and significant.  This week’s fatal gas main explosion in New York City reminds us that continuing to rely on fossil fuels and our aging infrastructure is a dead end.

Preble Bans Fossil Industrialization

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1-Paul Connett: Why Ash for Trash is Bad for Cortland County – YouTube

1-Paul Connett: Why Ash for Trash is Bad for Cortland County – YouTube.

Millennium Changes Rte 81 Pipeline Plans twice in 2 days

Cortland Standard coverage of Rte 81 Pipeline Plan Changes 12/18/13

Plan to connect Millennium pipeline to Dominion pipeline in Cortlandville.

Statement of Joseph Heath, Esq. on Millennium’s tactics: Message from Joe Heath 12-20-13

On Monday, December 16th, a senior Millennium vice president
e-mailed me and said “Unfortunately, the markets (sic) participation
did not materialize in a sufficient quantity to justify pursuit of the
project at this time.”
However, by Wednesday, December 18th, the Millennium media
spokesman changed that position and told the newspapers “Based
on that initial response there was not sufficient demand to move
forward with the development all the way to Syracuse, so we are still
evaluating the southern part of that line.”
Their plan now appears to be consideration of constructing of a
large, high pressure pipeline from the Millennium east/west pipeline
in Broome County to connect with the Dominion pipeline in the middle
of Cortland County.
So, if we can’t trust their senior vp in charge of the project, how
can we trust their landmen when they come to our doors?
Rest assured that the Stop the I-81 Pipeline resistance group
will continue our work of educating landowners and our communities,
and that we will double down our efforts until everyone is protected.
Our research shows that building a 30 mile pipeline to connect
the Millennium to the Dominion makes no sense, because these
pipelines already cross near Horseheads, in Chemung County. On
September 9, 2013, the pro-fracking Marcellus Drilling News, ran an
article which stated:
The story of the northeast: Too much Marcellus
Shale natural gas, not enough pipelines to move it all
to market. More pipelines are on the way like the
Constitution, but in the meantime, how to move the
enormous amount of gas already flowing? 1
On Friday, the Millennium Pipeline, a major
transmission pipeline that transverses New York
State . . . announced a binding open season through
September 13 on a proposal to ship more Marcellus
gas by creating an interconnect between Dominion
Transmission’s pipeline and the Millennium at or near
Horseheads, NY.
We will need to continue to research how a corporation can
attempt to justify to FERC, or its shareholders, the much more costly
and disruptive 30 mile pipeline, rather than the interconnect in
Horseheads where the two lines already cross.
Unfortunately, the residents and landowners of our
communities cannot get reliable information from this corporation,
and so, we will continue our work, and our research which we will
share with our neighbors.
Landowners will never stop defending their property against
eminent domain by private corporations that seek to build
dangerous, redundant and unnecessary fracked gas infrastructure
across the landscape, bringing ruin to farms, destroying property
values, menacing air quality and drinking water. Millennium should
expect and will receive stiff, well-organized and well-researched
citizen resistance at every step.
Joe Heath
December 20, 2013
1 Here, the industry is openly admitting what we have known and said repeatedly: these
pipelines are only about moving fracked gas to increase corporate profits.
Page 2 of 2

Oldies 101.5 – – Local News

Oldies 101.5 – – Local News.

I-81 Pipeline meeting Homer 9-23-13

I-81 Pipeline Meeting (Homer) playlist

A public informational meeting about the I-81 Pipeline. Joe Heath, an experienced environmental and social justice attorney, and Craig Stevens, a sixth generation landowner with a pipeline, discuss impacts of pipelines on communities and the environment. Sept 23, 2013 at Center for the Arts of Homer. Video by Cris McConkey and Bo Lipari for

Links to individual segment pages (with comments):

1-Mary Menapace I-81 Pipeline Info

1-Mary Menapace I-81 Pipeline Info Session

 2-Joe Heath I-81 Pipeline Info

2-Joe Heath I-81 Pipeline Info Session

 3-Craig Stephens I-81 Pipeline Info

3-Craig Stephens I-81 Pipeline Info Session

 4-Q&A I-81 Pipeline Info

4-Q&A I-81 Pipeline Info Session

Natural gas shipper proposes new pipeline from Binghamton to Syracuse area |

Natural gas shipper proposes new pipeline from Binghamton to Syracuse area |

Taylor Valley Unit Management Plan

Taylor Valley Unit Management Plan.

I just received notification of a March  public meeting in Truxton to discuss the Draft Unit Management Plan for Taylor Valley.  I think it will be important to flood that meeting with concerned citizens from the area.


The following   action by the DEC  is proposed in  the January  2013 Draft Taylor Valley Unit Management Plan ( ).   Is the DEC anticipating a reversal of the decision not to allow surface activity associated with drilling in our state forests?     The final paragraph of page 60 says the following:


“This prohibition is subject to change if the Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Statements regarding Well Permit Issuance for Horizontal Drilling and High-Volume Fracturing to Develop the Marcellus Shale and Other Low-Permeability Gas Reservoirs is amended during finalization processes.”


Here’s a more extended quote from the Draft Unit Management Plan:


b. Consider future requests for oil and gas leasing using an open public process while protecting natural and recreational resources. Prior to leasing lands in this Unit, an open public process must be followed. This process includes coordination with the Division of Mineral Resources to determine: areas that can be leased with full rights granted (100% surface entry and no special conditions required); areas that may require special environmental and safety conditions; and areas that may be leased with no surface-disturbance/entry conditions (non-drilling clause). The following is a summary of the leasing process of State Forest lands:

Receive requests to nominate specific lands within the Unit for leasing of mineral rights, from interested parties.

Conduct tract assessments of nominated properties to determine where lands are able to support or accommodate related surface disturbance associated with oil and gas exploration, development, and extraction. Factors considered during the tract assessment process include the proximity to sensitive resources of the Unit. These resources include, but are not limited to certain management strategies, wetland, riparian zones, steep slopes, recreational trails and areas, unique ecological communities, habitat of rare and endangered species, archeological and cultural sites and scenic vistas and view sheds.

o Apply a hierarchical approach that classifies areas of each State Forest into four categories as part of a tract assessment to be conducted prior to leasing.

§ Category A ‐ Compatible with well pad, road, and utility development. These areas can be considered the least sensitive to surface disturbance and should be considered first for well pad development to limit the overall impact of development. Examples of Category A areas include open fields, conifer plantations, and even-aged management areas.

§ Category B ‐ Uneven-age Management Areas with one well pad per State Forest. These areas are being managed for species that require large blocks of un-fragmented (diameters of temporary openings in the canopy shall be no larger than 2.5 times the height of surrounding trees) forests.

§ Category C ‐ 250-foot stream and designated recreational trail buffers. Not compatible with well pad development; may be compatible with road and utility development.

§ Category D – Infrastructure Exclusion areas. Not compatible with well pad, road, or utility development. These include: ponds, wetlands, spring seeps, and vernal pools with appropriate 250-foot buffers; slopes greater than 15 percent; archeological and cultural concerns; and areas being managed as Natural Areas.

o Prohibit surface disturbance associated with high-volume hydraulic fracturing. This prohibition is subject to change if the Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Statements regarding Well Permit Issuance for Horizontal Drilling and High-Volume Fracturing to Develop the Marcellus Shale and Other Low-Permeability Gas Reservoirs is amended during finalization processes.



Is it a coincidence that there has been heavy logging in the state forest next to my home for the past two summers? Well-pad sized sections have been clear-cut or significantly thinned in Kennedy State Forest, and pipeline-width corridors have been cleared of debris.   It could be coincidence,  but this logging activity was well ahead of scheduled logging in the management plan for Kennedy State Forest  (according to conversations I had with the forester).    The clearing areas are congruent with the Department’s 2008(?) published maps of “Areas compatible with drilling. ”  Now the Draft Unit Management Plan  for Taylor Valley  shows that the DEC is planning for a possible reversal of the prohibition against surface activity associated with hvhf.  Has the DEC planned to allow drilling in the state forests all along  -despite claims to the contrary in the revised SGEIS?


Lifton lobbies for health study on fracking Assemblywoman seeking money in 2012-13 state budget for study of impacts

Cortland Standard .net.

Lifton lobbies for health study on fracking

Assemblywoman seeking money in 2012-13 state budget for study of impacts

Groton Group Focuses on Fracking.

Cortland Standard .net.

January 14, 2012

Groton group focuses on fracking

Groton Resource Awareness Coalition trying to shape local debate

GrotonBob Ellis/staff photographer
Mike Goldstein stands in his backyard in McLean on Wednesday. He is among about a dozen Groton-area residents who have formed Groton Resource Awareness Coalition, which aims to lobby officials in the town and village about the potential hazards posed by hydraulic fracturing. The group gave a presentation to the Groton Town Board on Tuesday and will appear before the Village Board on Monday.

Staff Reporter

GROTON — Facts and figures have run the gamut in local gas drilling debates, but the long-term impact remains unclear.
That is what more than a dozen Groton-area residents want their town and village officials to think about in coming months as they attempt to raise awareness of high-volume hydraulic fracturing, known better as hydrofracking.
The residents formed Groton Resource Awareness Coalition in September.
The group’s members have planned public forums, conducted polls and are working with town and village leaders as they pose the question of whether hydrofracking would be good for the community.
Groton town officials are gathering input about the issue. Groton is one of the last Tompkins County municipalities to enter the hydrofracking discussion. Towns like Dryden and Ulysses have already banned it, while Freeville imposed a moratorium, pending further study of the issue.
“What Groton does is going to affect all of downstream,” said Dyan Lombardi, a GRAC member. “Everybody should have a say.”
GRAC has posed a long list of questions for the town of Groton to consider.
Included in the list:
l Anticipated revenues from gas drilling activity?
l Necessary costs from gas drilling, including road maintenance?
l Noise level consideration?
l Will it be limited to areas already zoned for industrial activity?
The Groton Town Board has promised to gather as much information on the issue as possible.
“We want to make an informed decision,” Groton Town Supervisor Glenn Morey said.
GRAC has more than a dozen members, including Michael Goldstein, a Cornell University associate professor of psychology who has researched hydrofracking at length.
Hydrofracking involves injecting millions of gallons of water treated with chemicals deep underground into the Marcellus Shale formation to crack it and extract natural gas. The formation lies under much of Central New York and the Southern Tier.
The original process has existed since the late 1930s. But, Goldstein said, the current method of hydrofracking has only been used within the past decade.
“The long-term effects of this are simply unknown,” he said.
He presented some of his research to the Town Board Tuesday during its regular monthly meeting. The bottom line is that hydrofracking could dramatically change Groton, Goldstein said.
He and other GRAC members urged the town board not to underestimate that hydrofracking could industrialize Groton’s rural landscape. The group hopes Groton’s quality of life goes undisturbed.
If Groton allows hydrofracking, Goldstein calculated the town would see more than 1 million truck trips in the course of a gas drilling operation. Groton’s roads, not designed for that level of traffic, would be overstressed, he said.
“These are going to be long-term issues faced by the town,” Goldstein said.
Sixty-nine percent of land in the town is leased for gas drilling. And only 6 percent of Groton’s residents are doing the leasing, Goldstein said.
“You look at the map and say this is a done deal in Groton, but when you look at the data … you see it’s only a small percentage of the people behind it,” he said.
Groton town officials plan to hear a presentation from a gas company and a geological expert in the coming months, Morey said.
Hydrofracking supporters point to economic benefits, including the jobs drilling would bring to communities and income to leaseholders.
But many residents remain concerned about its overall impact in their community.
“What’s in it for us?” asked Groton resident Mike Morris, also a GRAC member.
GRAC follows the lead of other local hydrofracking groups pitching for more discussion, including Gas Drilling Awareness for Cortland County.
Landowners have formed their own coalitions.
Goldstein and GRAC members plan to give another presentation to the Groton village board on Monday.