Caroline Council Tables Resolution

The Marcellus Effect: Caroline Council Tables Resolution.

Video by Cris McConkey.  CC Attribution/Non-commercial. Playlist duration ~ 3-1/2 hrs: Rally; Privilege of the Floor and Reading of Resolutions; Presentations; Public Hearing; Vote on the resolutions.  Downloads.

Brooktondale Community Center, June 14, 2011

Two hundred or more people attended a Caroline Town Board meeting about a resolution to prohibit the Town from taking any action to enact a ban on hydraulic fracturing. Two of the three proponents of this resolution (Toby McDonald and Pete Hoyt) have gas leases and a third (Linda Adams) is the head of the Tompkins County Landowners Coalition. Of the 40 people who spoke, 35 were against the ban and 5 were for it. Since the resolution was apparently in response to the news that local citizens had gathered more than 900 signatures on a petition asking the Town Board to ban high-volume hydraulic fracturing in the Town, many people stated their anger that the board was trying to stifle democracy. Many pointed out the conflict of interest issue, as well, and some asked board members with conflicts to recuse themselves from any vote on this issue. Another theme was the preservation of Caroline as a safe, tranquil community. People asked the Town Attorney, Guy Krogh, and Town Board not to put the avoidance of a lawsuit higher than protecting residents. Guy Krogh indicated that a ban might be possible if crafted carefully and thoughtfully after much analysis of state law. Most of the speakers did a very good job of voicing the concerns of Caroline residents who were dismayed that this resolution popped up on June 7. Local attorney David Slottje, of the Community Environmental Defense Council, spoke eloquently and passionately against the resolution. It was tabled at about 10:45 PM.


Supervisor Barber opens Priviledge of the Floor; Comment on resolution before board in support of New York State Senata and Assembly bills S.3472 and A.3245 “home rule” 0m0s
Comment regarding statement made by town’s attorney at the April 12th board meeting in regard to Adams’ and Hoyt’s resolution. 2m36s
Response by Councillor Hoyt and reading of pertinent parts of the minutes which were not approved in a timely fashion to notify the public. 4m41s
Reading of resolution is support of 90-day public comment period after DEC promulgates new rules upon completion of its review of the SGEIS follwed by discussion and vote. 8m8s
Introductory remarks regarding Public Hearing 12m24s
Reading of resoution “Clarifying the town’s role regarding gas development based on current Environmental Conservation Law” 18m02s
Reading of Resolution in support of A.3245 / S.3472 19m15s


Linda Adams, Town Councillor 0m0s
Bill Podulka, Resident and Chair, Residents Opposed to Unsafe Shale-Gas Extraction (ROUSE) 3m51s
David Slottje, Attorney with Community Environmental Defense Council 12m49s
Guy Krogh, Attorney for Town of Caroline 26m18s

1-9 Public addresses Caroline Town Board

1 Pat Brhel 1m47s
2 Sandy Podulka 4m25s
3 Jim Raponi 7m40s
4 Ann Boehm 9m52s
5 Bendidt Pauli 13m44s
6 Anna Gibson 18m31s
7 Elisa Evett 19m56s
7a Councillor Linda Adams 23m57s
8 Karen L. Allaben 26m06s
9 Rita Rosenberg 28m20s

10-18 Public addresses Caroline Town Board

10 Kim Knight 0m0s
11 Irene Weiser 2m12s
12 Todd Schmit 7m02s
13 Tony Tavelli 9m32s
14 Bruce Murray 14m33s
15 Rebecca Dewit 17m05s
16 Michele Brown 20m42s
17 David Kauber 22m20s representing Steve Kress & Elissa Wolfson
18 Nelly Farnum, former Town Councillor 25m36s

19-27 Public addesses Caroline Town Board

19 Jonathan Comstock 0m0s
20 Bert Cooley 3m37s
21 Mary Alyce Kabler 10m52s
22 Leanne Avery 14m25s
23 James Burlitch 17m46s
24 Elliot Swarthout 20m01s
25 John Reed 21m30s
26 Frank Verret 22m14s
27 John Confer 26m16s

28-39 Public addresses Caroline Board

28 Sue PK 0m0s incomplete
29 Milt Taam 1m51s
30 Cyrus Umrigar 5m12s
31 Glen Robertson 9m13s
32 Picilla Timberlake 10m28s
33 Aaron Snow 13m12s
34 Bob Andeson 14m55s incomplete
35 Barbara Lynch 15m34s
36 Ellen Harrison 16m57s
37 Phillip Shapiro 20m20s
38 Bill Crispell 22m31s
39 Beth Hollier 25m09s

Public Discussion on Resolutions and Vote by Board duration: 18m57s


Philip Ellender: The Kochs’ unlikely enforcer. Politico June 14, 2011

Philip Ellender: The Kochs’ unlikely enforcer.

Philip Ellender’s career got started working for Democrats and environmental groups in Louisiana. Now he’s co-president of Koch Companies Public Sector, set up in 2009 to handle government, public and legal affairs for the Kochs’ privately held oil, chemical and consumer products empire. Politico

Deep Drilling, Deep Pockets Expenditures of the Natural Gas Industry in New York to Influence Public Policy Part II – Lobbying Expenditures A Report by Common Cause/New York April 2011

CC_REPORT_FINAL.PDF (application/pdf Object).

Common Cause/NY Releases Report Reflecting Large Infusion of Money to Influence Policy Decisions on HydrofrackingPro Industry Lobby Groups Outspend Those Opposing

Gas Drilling by 4-1


Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause/NY:  “New York State’s policies regarding hydrofracking will have a profound impact on the future of our state.  It is imperative that those policies are not unduly influenced by large infusions of special interest dollars. The fact that natural gas special interests outspent environmental groups 4-1 last year underscores the need for the public to monitor the state’s decision-making process and raises serious questions about our elected officials’ ability to remain independent and impartial.”

The proposed use of hydraulic fracturing technology, also called hydro-fracturing or, more commonly, hydrofracking, to drill for natural gas in New York State remains highly controversial.  Industry and some upstate landowners continue to press to be permitted to use hydrofracking, particularly to unlock the natural gas found in the Marcellus Shale, citing job creation and the need for new energy sources, while environmental groups and others urge caution, pointing to potential risks to New York’s water, air and natural resources. To assist the public in monitoring this difficult decision and how it is made, Common Cause/New York has continued and expanded its analysis of lobbying expenditures by those who seek to influence this critical decision.

Today, Common Cause/NY released the results of that analysis in their report, Deep Drilling, Deep Pockets, Lobbying Expenditures of the Natural Gas Industry to Influence Public Policy, Part II, which provides a detailed analysis of the presence of a large money push to influence New York State’s public policy decision-making process in regards to natural gas extraction policies.

The report’s analysis of lobbying disclosures shows that it is not only the natural gas industry that is seeking to influence the state’s policies regarding natural gas exploration.  A powerful consortium of business groups has allied itself with the natural gas industry to oppose the moratorium on hydrofracking.  That consortium, made up of energy companies, business and professional associations in addition to natural gas companies, spent a total of $2,869,907 lobbying last year, grossly outspending those that lobbied in support of the bills by $2,143,525 or four to one.

Much of this was due to substantial amounts spent for advertising by Chesapeake Appalachia, the nation’s second largest producer of natural gas and the biggest spender among industry advocates of hydrofracking. In the first half of 2010, Chesapeake spent an astounding $836,386 on advertising to the public via billboard signage, television advertisements focused on the benefits of natural gas, and even a short film production.

New York State’s policies on hydrofracking will have a profound impact on the future of our state. It is imperative that those policies are not unduly influenced by large infusions of natural gas industry dollars. The uneven balance in spending on lobbying and advertising by pro- and anti-moratorium groups  reflects the massive resources at the disposal of natural gas interests and is indicative of  the growing need for special interest money to be countered by the grassroots involvement of an informed public.

To prepare Deep Drilling, Deep Pockets, Lobbying Expenditures of the Natural Gas Industry to Influence Public Policy, Part II, Common Cause/NY accessed and obtained copies of the bi-monthly lobbying reports filed by the companies we had previously identified in our July, 2010 lobbying report. In that report, we analyzed the lobbyist expenditures of three natural gas companies from the year 2005 through the first half of 2010, as well as expenditures by five environmental groups. This report brings earlier data up to date with full year 2010 figures and expands our analysis to look more fully at lobbying expenditures spent lobbying in favor or opposition to two moratorium bills introduced last year. We examined the bi-monthly lobbying reports available for 2010 on the NY Commission for Public Integrity website in detail to compile the lobbying data for each company and entity identified as having lobbied on the moratorium bills introduced in the previous legislative session, S7592/ A10490 and S8129B/A1143B.






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March 7, 2011

A Fracking To-Do List

Last week, Environmental Advocates of New York rolled out our “fracking to-do list” for state leaders and lawmakers at a briefing in the state capital. Hydraulic fracturing, often called “fracking,” is an environmentally dangerous technique used to extract natural gas from underground shale deposits. We’re worried about all phases of the drilling process—the impact of the withdrawal of millions of gallons of water from area lakes, rivers, and streams, the toxic chemicals used in fracking fluids and their potential to leach into drinking water, and the state’s ability to treat and dispose of fracking wastewater, particularly when it’s radioactive.

Fracking has poisoned waterways from Wyoming to Pennsylvania. Our to-do list is comprehensive and designed to safeguard the health and safety of New York’s drinking water. Here’s what we want state leaders to do:

  • Pass legislation that will protect water resources and establish a regulatory permitting program to oversee large water withdrawals statewide.
  • Regulate fracking fluids by requiring the gas industry to disclose the chemical components in fracking fluids and prohibit the use of fluids that pose a risk to human health. New York’s environmental regulator shouldn’t be allowed to issue drilling permits until such regulations are adopted.
  • Close the hazardous waste loophole in current state law and require that all fracking wastewater that meets the definition of hazardous waste be considered hazardous for the purpose of transport and treatment.
  • Revise the state’s draft drilling plan and release it only when it’s ready and not a minute before. An Executive Order requires the Department of Environmental Conservation to update their draft plan on or about June 1st of this year.
  • Improve the plan so it updates and revises drilling regulations and include a cumulative impact analysis that addresses the worst-case scenario of up to 2,500 wells per year.

At the briefing, Susan Christopherson, the J. Thomas Clark Professor of City & Regional Planning at Cornell University, discussed the potential economic impacts of fracking for New York’s communities. Professor Christopherson’s research on fracking shows that individual New Yorkers may stand to benefit, but that the costs to local government are significant. Depending on the pace and scale of drilling, local governments may not have the capacity to respond to new demands.

New York is a battleground in the national debate about natural gas drilling and fracking. Drilling-related accidents across the country have contaminated drinking water, created air quality hazards and violations, and polluted streams.

Click here to see our own Katherine Nadeau interviewed about our fracking on Your News Now

Click here to read The New York Times‘ recent groundbreaking series, “Drilling Down,” on the dangers of fracking.


Road and Land Use Forum Apr 9, Cooperstown

Road and Land Use Forum-How to Apply Local Controls to Shale Gas Industrialization

  • The DEC may issue rules on horizontal hydrofracking of shale as soon as this summer.
  • Then the frack trucks will come to town.  Your town needs to be protected.
  • Come to the forum and learn how to protect your town, your roads and your property values.
  • Hear what other towns are doing to protect themselves.

Saturday April 9th 2-4 PM Otesaga Hotel, 60 Lake Street, Cooperstown


1. “Why Local Controls Should Be Applied to Regulate Industrialization”

Helen Slottje, Attorney

2. “Land Use Plans To Protect Your Town From the Hazards of Industrialization”

Nan Stolzenburg, Land planner

3. “How to Protect Your County and Town From Heavy Truck Traffic”

Mike Wieszchowski, Laberge Group

4. “Land Use Ordinances to Prohibit Heavy Industry in Your Town”

Michelle Kennedy, Attorney, Cooperstown

5. Panel Discussion Q&A – Moderated by Erik Miller  Director of OCCA

  • This forum is intended for county and town officials, planning committees, land use and road use activists.
  • Protect your town, roads and property values under New York law. Come learn how from the experts.

Sponsored by the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce

Ommegang Brewery and Otsego County Conservation Association (OCCA)

Seating is limited.  Kindly RSVP if you plan to attend or send a representative.

Darla M. Youngs, Administrative Director

Otsego County Conservation Association

101 Main Street, PO Box 931

Cooperstown, NY 13326

(607) 547-4488;

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Libous pushes N.Y. role for gas-drilling industry | Press & Sun-Bulletin |

Libous pushes N.Y. role for gas-drilling industry | Press & Sun-Bulletin | Feb. 18, 2011

BINGHAMTON — Sen. Thomas W. Libous has seen the region’s economic future: Drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale.

The era when Broome County could lure significant economic development to the region from other states is over, the senator told members of the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce on Thursday during a chamber-sponsored legislative dialogue with state elected officials.

“This is an opportunity,” Libous said of drilling in the Marcellus Shale, a portion of which lies beneath Broome County. “Let’s not blow it.”

Libous, along with Assemblywoman Donna A. Lupardo, D-Endwell, and Assemblyman Clifford Crouch, R-Guilford, were quizzed Thursday on a variety of topics, including a state-proposed 2 percent property tax cap, pension reform and a proposal from Gov. Andrew Cuomo to create statewide Economic Development Councils.

Libous, a Binghamton Republican who is also deputy majority leader in the Senate, said about 88,000 jobs connected with gas drilling have been created so far in Pennsylvania. Libous said he recently spoke to a trucker from Texas who he met by chance at Greater Binghamton Airport.

Joseph Martens Nominated DEC Commissioner

ALBANY, NY (01/04/2011)(readMedia)– Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the following appointments and nominations to senior positions within the state government.

Joseph Martens will be nominated to serve as Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation. Since 1998, Mr. Martens has served as President of the Open Space Institute, directing and overseeing land acquisition, sustainable development, historic preservation and farmland protection. Previously, Mr. Martens served as Deputy Secretary to the Governor for Energy and the Environment from 1992-94 and before that Assistant Secretary from 1990-92. He is the Chair of the Olympic Regional Development Authority, which operates the 1932 and 1980 winter Olympic venues in Lake Placid and Wilmington, NY and Gore Mountain Ski Area in Johnsburg, NY. He also chairs the Adirondack Lake Survey Corporation, which continuously monitors Adirondack lakes and streams to determine the extent and magnitude of acidification in the Adirondack region, Mr. Martens studied Resource Economics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and received an M.S. in Resource Management from the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse University.

“Joe’s lifelong experience of fighting to protect and preserve our environment will bring the highest level of stewardship to our state’s beautiful natural resources. Joe knows how to strike the critical balance between defending our natural resources from pollution and destruction while at the same time fostering a climate of economic renewal and growth. His experience and record as a competent and productive manager will breathe life into this vital agency.” Governor Cuomo said.

“Joe is an outstanding choice to lead such a vital agency at such at an important time. We are at a crossroads for the environmental movement in New York State and I know that Joe will continue to be a leader in the fight to preserve our great state’s landscape, environment, and natural resources. I look forward to working with Joe and commend the Governor for making this nomination,” said Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

“Joe Martens’ experience, judgment, and temperament make him the right person at the right time to meet the challenges that DEC faces. He has the support and key relationships with the business and environmental community that will allow him to hit the ground running. The Governor’s selection of Mr. Martens reflects his strong belief that protecting New York State’s environment goes hand in hand with advancing the state’s economic goals,” said Ashok Gupta, from the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“Joe knows that one of the keys to not only preserving our environment, but creating good paying jobs is expanding the production of affordable and reliable energy across the state. He has both the hands on experience and also the bold vision to transform the DEC, steering it in a direction that strikes the critical balance of protecting our natural resources and our economy,” said Gavin J. Donohue, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Independent Power Producers of New York.


Joe Martens as DEC commissioner seems promising.  While it’s been taken off of the OSI website in the last fifteen days, there’s a google-cached version of a statement he made on hydrofracking earlier this year:

“OSI President Joe Martens spoke about the issue recently in a speech he made at Union College on the 40th anniversary of the creation of the DEC:

This morning you heard about drilling in the Marcellus Shale. Of all the daunting environmental challenges that DEC has faced during the past 40 years—criteria pollutants, hazardous waste, acid rain, even climate change—hydrofracking in the Marcellus may be the most difficult and daunting of them all.

As a nation, for a decade or more there has been a near-universal call for energy independence. If we could just wean ourselves from foreign oil, the argument goes, we would not be in the middle of two wars in the Middle East and sending billions of dollars to nations that don’t like us and, potentially, might do us harm.

And, as a state, we have been turning increasingly to natural gas to fire our power plants and heat our homes, because it’s less polluting than either coal or oil. I heat my home with natural gas (and wood!). Further, the state’s budget is in bad shape, unemployment is high and it just so happens that we have this huge rock formation under our feet that the gas industry has found a way to exploit and we even have a terrific new gas pipeline that could bring that gas to millions of nearby customers.

If nothing else, it seems to me, the Department should go slow. The tragedy of the Deepwater Horizon operation in the Gulf clearly demonstrated that the unexpected can and will happen. It is also clear that the gas industry has not been as candid as it should have been with regards to the potential for problems. That suggests to me that our fate—and the need to separate objective science and environmental assessment from industry rhetoric—is in DEC’s hands, and the stakes could not be higher.

The gas industry, and even DEC, is quick to point out that gas drilling and fracking are not uncommon in New York State and that, so far, there have not been any significant problems. However, what is relatively new and different is the combination of fracking and horizontal drilling. And it’s the potential scale of drilling within the Marcellus Shale that is the real concern. If DEC decides to give the gas industry the green light, there could be thousands of new gas wells drilled in the Catskills and the southern tier. Given the quantity of the chemical-laced water that would be used in fracking (up to 8 million gallons per well), and the quantity of wastewater that would need to be treated, the number of roads that would need to be constructed, the number of trucks that would travel back and forth to drilling sites, and so on, the potential for problems multiplies dramatically with each well that is drilled.

New Yorkers created the Adirondack and Catskill state parks more than a hundred years ago to protect the water resources within them. New York City has committed hundreds of millions of dollars and has spent years protecting its watershed so that more than 9 million people can drink unfiltered water. I see no reason to rush to judgment on a decision as monumental as hydrofracking in the Marcellus.

Given the huge budget cuts that DEC has been forced to endure over the last couple of years and in light of the way the EPF’s commitments have been abandoned, I think there is a real question about DEC’s capacity to ensure that everything involved in the drilling process goes according to plan—from water withdrawals, to wastewater treatment, to pipeline construction. Clearly things did not go according to plan in the Gulf of Mexico.

The EPA has initiated a $1.9 million, two-year study of the impact of hydrofracking on health and the environment. What’s the downside of waiting for the results?

In the meantime, while DEC and others continue to explore this issue, wouldn’t it be great if we had a national energy policy that did more than pay lip service to energy conservation, efficiency and renewable sources?  A few statistics for you to ponder:

  • The United States makes up 5 percent of the world’s population but consumes 20 percent of its energy;
  • Eighty-four percent of the energy consumed in the United States comes from non-renewable sources—about 8.5 percent from nuclear power and 7 percent from renewable sources (2006 data);
  • Twenty-seven percent of the energy consumed in the United States is used in the transportation sector;
  • And, the most troubling statistic of all: per capita energy consumption in the United States has been relatively consistent from 1970 to today.

Although no energy source is perfect or without problems, shouldn’t we be doing everything possible to reduce energy consumption and do everything possible to increase the use of renewable resources before we make a major decision to exploit the Marcellus Shale and possibly damage, perhaps irreparably, the land, air and water resources that sustain life itself?

DEC has a heavy burden to bear here. For the past 40 years they have addressed a variety of environmental challenges with remarkable success. I’m hopeful, based on that 40-year record that they will continue to do so.

Great Lakes Law: Michigan Supreme Court rules that citizens have the right to sue state agencies for issuing permits, and that diverting contaminated water from one river to another is unlawful

Great Lakes Law: Michigan Supreme Court rules that citizens have the right to sue state agencies for issuing permits, and that diverting contaminated water from one river to another is unlawful.  Dec. 30, 2010