▶ Local elected officials, concerned ratepayers speak out in Albany – YouTube

▶ Local elected officials, concerned ratepayers speak out in Albany – YouTube.

Controversial Power Plant Decision Seen As Bellwether for State Energy Policy

Local elected officials, concerned ratepayers speak out in Albany
NOVEMBER 14, 2013

Will New York State be a leader on energy issues or revert to short-sighted, reactive policies? That’s what a group of elected officials and concerned ratepayers asked Governor Andrew Cuomo and regulators at the Public Service Commission (PSC) today in a visit to the state Capitol.

At issue is a controversial, precedent-setting decision: whether to repower the uneconomic coal-burning Cayuga and Dunkirk power plants with natural gas—a plan that would lock the region into continued use of fossil fuels and hike electricity bills for people and businesses across a 20-county region in western and central New York, or take the plants offline and instead upgrade the transmission lines—a cleaner and far less expensive option.

While in Albany today, the group attended the monthly PSC meeting and delivered a letter and list of recommendations calling on the Governor to set a wise precedent by steering his PSC toward transmission line upgrades (Read both documents.)

“New York State is facing an important decision,” said Tompkins County Legislator Carol Chock. “As Governor Cuomo defines his new energy policy, the PSC must not miss this opportunity to start us out on the right path to protect ratepayers, the environment, and future generations.”

Chock, along with Town of Caroline councilmember Irene Weiser, are representatives of a group of elected and public officials from an eight-county region that have officially intervened in the PSC repowering proceedings to register concerns about the proposal.

The cost of repowering the two plants could cost as much as $1.5 billion—a cost that would fall to ratepayers. Upgrading transmission lines would accomplish the same goal for under $100 million.

“Repowering these uneconomic plants amounts to a corporate bailout that costs ratepayers, destabilizes the competitive market and misses an opportunity to set the state on a course for a renewable energy future,” Weiser said.

Weiser, Chock, and a busload of their constituents attended today’s PSC meeting—which could be the final meeting before a decision is reached on whether to repower the Cayuga plant. The process has been marked with a troubling lack of transparency, starting with the PSC issuing massively redacted documents for public comment.

It’s not the first time the agency has come under fire for backroom dealing. Earlier this year, the agency was criticized by the Moreland Commission on Utility Storm Preparation and Response for locking the public out of its decision-making process.

The decision comes amidst an increasing number of proposals before the state requiring investment in outdated fossil fuels and related infrastructure—including the repowering of a coal-fired power plant in the Hudson Valley, a host of natural gas pipelines, and a controversial gas storage proposal in the Finger Lakes.

“In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, Governor Cuomo spoke out swiftly and strongly about the need to combat climate change. A year later, it’s time for the deeds to match the words,” said Earthjustice attorney Christopher Amato, who is representing the group of elected officials in the repowering proceedings before PSC. “Judging from the current list of proposals before the state, it’s clear that without bold leadership from the top, New York will find itself painted into a corner and indefinitely locked into fossil fuels.”

Kathleen Sutcliffe, Earthjustice, (202) 384-7157
Carol Chock, Tompkins County Legislator, (607) 227-0006
Hi all,
Attached is a list of stories from last week’s visit to Albany and below is a list of places where the AP story appeared. As others have noted, it’s significant that this story got picked up outside of New York. Also significant is the fact that we are gradually shifting the narrative on this fight – casting it as one of statewide importance. And I can’t think of a better group of people to tackle this fight than you all. Thank you all for making the trip to Albany and for all that you do. I am so inspired by your courage and commitment.

Comprehensive ban in Town of Caroline

I think its important to clarify that “No Gas Here” does not mean that Bans are not needed.

As Chip has said succinctly-  The “reward” of gas drilling has been grossly overstated, but the risks remain unaddressed.
Here’s some things that Caroline’s ban prevents in addition to actual drilling.
Natural Gas And/Or Petroleum Exploration Activities – Geologic or geophysical activities related to the search for natural gas, petroleum or other subsurface hydrocarbons, including prospecting, geophysical and geologic seismic surveying and sampling techniques, but only to the extent that such activities involve or employ core, rotary, or any other type of drilling or otherwise make any penetration or excavation of any land or water surface in the search for and evaluation of natural gas, petroleum, or other subsurface hydrocarbon deposits.
Natural Gas And/Or Petroleum Support Activities – Shall mean and be any one or more of the following: (a) Natural Gas Compression Facility; (b) Natural Gas Processing Facility; (c) Natural Gas And/Or Petroleum Extraction, Exploration Or Production Wastes Disposal/Storage Facility; (d) Natural Gas And/Or Petroleum Extraction, Exploration Or Production Wastes Dump; (e) Land Application Facility; (f) Non-Regulated Pipelines; (g) Underground Injection; or (h) Underground Natural Gas Storage.
Natural Gas And/Or Petroleum Extraction, Exploration Or Production Wastes Disposal/Storage Facility – Any of the following: (a) tanks of any construction (metal, fiberglass, concrete, etc.); (b) impoundments; (c) pits; (d) evaporation ponds; or (e) other facilities, in any case used for the storage or treatment of Natural Gas And/Or Petroleum Extraction, Exploration Or Production Wastes that: (i) are being held for initial use, (ii) have been used and/or are being held for subsequent reuse or recycling, (iii) are being held for treatment, or (iv) are being held for storage.
Natural Gas And/Or Petroleum Extraction, Exploration Or Production Wastes Dump – Land upon which Natural Gas And/Or Petroleum Extraction, Exploration Or Production Wastes, or their residue or constituents before or after treatment, are deposited, disposed, discharged, injected, placed, buried or discarded, without any intention of further use.
Natural Gas Compression Facility – Those facilities or combinations of facilities that move natural gas or petroleum from production fields or natural gas processing facilities in pipelines or into storage; the term shall include equipment for liquids separation, natural gas dehydration, and tanks for the storage of waste liquids and hydrocarbon liquids.
Natural Gas Processing Facility – Those facilities that separate and recover natural gas liquids (NGLs) and/or other non-methane gases and liquids from a stream of produced natural gas, using equipment for any of the following: cleaning or stripping gas; cooking and dehydration; residual refinement; treating or removing oil or condensate; removing water; separating NGLs; removing sulfur or carbon dioxide; fractionation of NGLs; and/or the capture of CO2 separated from natural gas streams.
Underground Natural Gas Storage – Subsurface storage, including in depleted gas or oil reservoirs and salt caverns, of natural gas that has been transferred from its original location, whether for the purpose of load balancing the production of natural gas or for any other reason, including without limitation short-term, long-term, or intermittent storage for product quality, processing, or transportation purposes, or because of market conditions. Without limitation, this term includes compression and dehydration facilities, and associated pipelines.
Hope this helps clarify why we still need Town Bans even if there is not a profitable amount of gas to recover in Tompkins County.  Without a ban, you town is still susceptible to all the above risks from drilling in neighboring areas.
In addition, your Towns should enact Road Preservation and Aquifer Protection Laws.
Irene Weiser
Brooktondale, NY


PSE Comments on Cayuga coal fired power generating plan in Lansing, NY.

Lansing Middle School Auditorium, 6 Ludlowville Road Lansing, New York 14882.

Good news! The Public Service Commission has finally announced the time and location of the public hearing and extended the public comment period until August 16th

The Public Hearing will be on Monday, July 29th at 7pm (following an informational session which starts at 6). The hearing will be held at the Lansing Middle School Auditorium, 6 Ludlowville Road Lansing, New York 14882.

It is still crucial that everybody writes public comments. We have been told that the PSC carefully reviews them and will take them very seriously (unlike the DEC who recently “lost” 200,000 fracking related comments!)

To learn more about the repowering proposal before you write your comments or speak at the hearing, Come to an informational session  about the proposalThis Thursday, July 18th at 7 PM in the Unitarian Church of Ithaca. This informational session will be followed by a Q&A session, and delicious refreshments will be provided! Help us promote this event by attending on Facebook and inviting your friends: https://www.facebook.com/events/542653555801212/

If you can’t attend Thursday’s session but are still interested in writing a comment, we put together a guide to help you do this: http://bit.ly/1b4xxA8
Otherwise you can use this simple form letter from the Sierra Club:  http://bit.ly/177neqf

You can also contact your town board about submitting a resolution or write comments to the Public Service Commission on behalf of an organization or group that you represent.


With everybody working hard, submitting comments and speaking at this hearing we will shut down this power plant and usher in a lower-carbon future for Cayuga Lake! 


Developing Road Preservation Local Law and Road Use Agreements: A Half-Day Forum

Tompkins County Council of Governments

And Cornell Local Roads Program


Developing Road Preservation Local Law and Road Use Agreements: A Half-Day Forum

Tuesday, May 8, 2012 Location: New York State Grange

100 Grange Place, Cortland, NY 13045

Does the prospect of more truck traffic than your municipal roads are accustomed have you worried?

How can you protect the highway infrastructure and the taxpayers?


7:15 am           Doors Open

7:45 am           Welcoming Remarks

8:00 am           Road Structure and Allocating Damage Costs Equitably

Lynne Irwin, Director. Cornell Local Roads Program

9:15 am           Options for Managing Truck Traffic

Michael Kenneally, Esq. Associate Counsel. Association of Towns of the State of New York

10:00 am         Break

10:15 am         Strategies for Negotiating Road Use Agreements

Mark Sweeny, Esq. Whiteman Osterman and Hanna, LLP

11:15 am         Moderated Panel “Questions and Discussion”

12:00 pm        End of Program with live demonstration of Falling Weight Deflectometer


For Registration Contact: Michelle Pottorff at MPottorff@tompkins-co.org

Come prepared with any specific questions or concerns

you would like our panelists to address! Questions may be emailed in advance to MPottorff@tompkins-co.org

Gas Drilling Taskforce-Tompkins County Council of Governments

Gas Drilling Taskforce. Tompkins County Council of Governments

The TCCOG Task Force on Gas Drilling seeks to network municipalities within Tompkins County, New York to manage the large amount of information surrounding drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus and Utica shales using the technique called hydraulic fracturing. The Task Force will explore avenues for municipalities to exert local control over gas drilling activities that affect the health, safety and well-being of their residents and resources. The Task Force refers to itself as TANG (Tompkins Addresses Natural Gas). Click here to view meeting dates for 2012.

Municipal Tools re Gas Drilling

Municipal Tools re Gas Drilling.

Tompkins County, NY

TCCoG_Community_Impact_Assessment_12-15-11 Final.pdf (application/pdf Object)

TCCoG_Community_Impact_Assessment_12-15-11 Final.pdf (application/pdf Object).

Gas Drilling Tools for Municipalities

Gas Drilling Tools for Municipalities.  Tompkins Co. Planning

Click on “Municipal Tools” for a comprehensive list of measures that municipalities need to take to address impacts of shale gas drilling.


Jobs and BusinessRural ResourcesWater ResourcesNatural FeaturesEnergy and ClimateCommunity PlanningPlanning ToolsAdvisory BoardsStaff

Municipal Tools for Addressing Potential Gas Drilling Impacts

The information presented here is the result of a yearlong collaboration between the Tompkins County Council of Governments (TCCOG) and Tompkins County Planning Department.  The TCCOG Gas Drilling Task Force has met regularly since May 2010 and has been discussing how municipalities can address issues related to gas drilling.  An additional planner position, supported by Park Foundation funding, was added to the Planning Department staff to assist with this effort.

Even though NYSDEC regulates the well pads and drilling processes, there are a number of other uses that could only be regulated by municipalities including such uses as truck terminals that may cause traffic congestion, dust, and so on.  Municipalities can require such uses to be located only in industrially zoned areas or use the site plan review process to ensure compatibility with adjacent uses.

In order to begin to understand the potential impacts that natural gas extraction and ancillary uses might have on  communities, we encourage municipalities to take the following steps:

  • Educate your municipal board and the public on the HVHF process and potential land use impacts.
  • Determine how and where the DEC will permit gas drilling based on the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement.
  • Assess where gas drilling could take place in your community based on lease patterns, although this could change over time.
  • Utilize the Municipal Tools list and prioritize a review of current plans, laws and regulations or the adoption of new plans, laws and regulations, as applicable to your community.

Scroll through the Municipal Tools and you’ll find these topics:

  • Review Your Comprehensive Plan
  • Review Zoning Ordinance
  • Review Site Plan Regulations
  • Apply Special Use Permits to Certain Uses
  • Roads Protection
  • Designate Critical Environmental Areas (CEA)
  • Aquifer Protection Regulation
  • Wellhead Protection Regulation
  • Noise, Lighting and Air Standards
  • Viewshed (or Scenic Resource) Overlay District
  • Tree Preservation
  • Adopt Pipeline Regulations
  • Manufactured Home Park (MHP) Regulations
  • Subdivision Regulations
  • Floodplain Regulations
  • Extractive Mining Regulations
  • Construction and Post-Construction Stormwater Runoff Control
  • Illicit Discharge Detection and Elmination Regulations
  • Wetlands
  • Fees

The Capitol Pressroom for July 29, 2011 | WCNY Blogs

The Capitol Pressroom for July 29, 2011 | WCNY Blogs.

The Capitol Pressroom for July 29, 2011

We continue to monitor the concerns of the tiny Tompkins County Council of Governments Task Force on Gas Drilling Assessment and Land Valuation Subcommittee.   Chair person Carol Chock joins us; she and other Tompkins County officials worry that even as the state is pouring over the 1000-plus page SGEIS, Tompkins County is unable to obtain information on properties with leased wells.  Chock and mortgage lender Greg May, Vice President, Residential Mortgage Lending, Tompkins Trust Company, both join us with the latest, and how they plan to move forward. 

 And… the reporter roundtable tackles the shake-up in public authorities and economic development. 





Tompkins town drilling regulations | The Ithaca Journal | theithacajournal.com


Tompkins town drilling regulations | The Ithaca Journal | theithacajournal.com.

Tompkins town drilling regulations


Town drilling regulations

Here’s a look at the actions related to gas exploration adopted and under review by Tompkins County towns.

Ithaca: Adopted Road Excavation Law; Studying Road Use Preservation Law; Considering Critical Environmental Areas Legislation; Considering a zoning law to ban gas drilling in the town.

Dryden: Added industrial noise ordinance to new zoning code: Considering a zoning law to ban gas drilling in the tow:; Considered Critical Environmental Areas Legislation; Considering a zoning law to ban gas drilling in the town: Considering Aquifer Protection Ordinance; Contract with engineering firm to conduct Road Use Assessments for possible Road Use Preservation Law.

Lansing: Conducting Road Assessments with highway staff for Road Use Preservation Law.

Ulysses: Considering a zoning law to ban gas drilling in the town: Created a Citizen’s Advisory Board on Gas Drilling: Contract with engineering firm to conduct Road Use Assessments for possible Road Use Preservation Law: Funding stream monitoring by the Community Science Institute for water quality data: Passed legislation prohibiting town water from being used for gas drilling purposes.

Enfield: Adopted Road Excavation Law: Conducting citizen survey on attitudes toward gas drilling: Considering contract with engineering firm to conduct Road Use Assessments for possible Road Use Preservation Law.

Groton: The town is considering a road use assessment, and citizens are forming a landowners’ consortium to negotiate with drilling companies regarding leasing.

Newfield: Adopted Road Excavation Law: Contract with engineering firm to conduct Road Use Assessments for possible Road Use Preservation Law;

Danby: Adopted Stormwater Management Law: Adopted Road Excavation Law: Contract with engineering firm to conduct Road Use Assessments for possible Road Use Preservation Law: Working with first-responders to prepare for gas drilling accidents/emergencies: Researching possible noise/light protection ordinances: Considering Critical Environmental Areas Legislation: Citizens preparing petition for gas drilling ban.

Caroline: Adopted Road Excavation Law: Considering conducting Road Use Assessments for Road Use Preservation Law.

Two Caroline Town Board members, Linda Adams and Peter Hoyt have placed a resolution on the agenda of the June 14 board meeting that would prevent the town from taking any action to prohibit high-volume hydraulic fracturing.