Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Renewable Path at the NY Crossroads is the correct path

June 17 is extremely important for getting the message out that an immediate path to renewable energy is absolutely necessary, and that high volume horizontal and vertical fracking, pipelines, compressors and LNG stations are inexcusable, false bridges to a renewable future. Many New Yorkers concerned with our energy future are meeting up on the Albany East Capital Lawn, on Monday June 17 from noon to 3 pm, and sending out the message that attention must be paid to this urgent NY Crossroads.

The influence of the gas industry is endemic in the New York government and media. NY Governor Andrew Cuomo suggested to the gas industry that they deliver nice messaging about how safe and good fracking is to New Yorkers.

Empire Energy Forum, in cahoots with the Independent Petroleum Association of America, are blanketing New York's Southern Tier (the front line fighting fracking in the state) with robo-calls and flyers. Here is a sample of what Big Gas is sending out.

A resident of  Madison County has received  flyers from Empire Energy, each different.  One represents a purported toxicologist and mother of 5 from Maryland, NY (Otsego County).  "She claims there is no documented incident of groundwater contamination caused by hydraulic fracturing in NY or anywhere else…  Inside is a diagram of drilling and the “precautions” taken by the gas industry to ensure safety.  (It is entitled “Shielding ensures safety”).  It lists 3 “facts” – (1) NY already has strict oil and gas regs which are being strengthened and that there is community input, (2) the casing and cementing precautions and (3) drilling wastes will be captured in tanks (never being put in ponds and never touching the ground).  Reuse and recycling of wastewaters and solid wastes.  On the back 50,000 new, good paying jobs, $6M to over $2B in new revenue, reduction in utility bills, vital local support for schools, police and fire protection and public services through oil and gas production revenues.  Then it lists NYS Dept of Environmental Conservation, SGEIS and then Empire’s web page." 

A quick fact check makes it easy to learn of the blatant lies in this mailer. The regulations, which have not been approved, are not strict and use arbitrary setback distances and amounts of dangerous substances allowed. Citizen input is gathered with reluctance and obstruction to ability to report concerns. There are no good safety measures regarding casings; for that fact there are no good safety measures, period. Dumping of vertical fracking waste is done openly by gas companies. Fracking contaminates the water used and there would be little safe reuse of this water.

Occupy the Pipeline is calling for a BAN on HVHF as opposed to accepting a moratorium. A statewide moratorium would leave the matter open. In the US the fossil fuel industry appears to have a free hand in building the infrastructure of their drilling and pipelines and compression and LNG apparatus, even without final approval. An outright ban would prevent this. A moratorium would allow extension of a number of land leases which would soon expire. Some environmental groups are advocating collaboration with the gas industry to have "strong" regulations that would only allow "safe" fracking.

Please be clear. There is no such thing as safe fracking. There are no safe pipelines or compressors. There will be no safe LNG terminals.

Beside explosions, harm from high volume horizontal fracking includes:

  Contamination of ground and other water.

  Millions of gallon of fresh water used and poisoned by each drilling of a well.

  Atmospheric leaks of greenhouse gas methane (much more potent than carbon dioxide) and radioactive
  Marcellus Shale radon.

  Devastation of land and land value, along with the possibility of a gas company deserting a well and leaving 
  the land owner and holder of the land lease liable for liens on the gas company.

  Destruction of public recreation areas by allowance of HVHF on this land set aside for the use of citizens.3

  Exacerbation of  climate change and corresponding erratic weather patterns.

The The New York State Assembly passed a two year HVHF moratorium in early March this year. Thanks to fossil fuel lover Senator Tom Libous and his ilk, the NY Senate has stalled the bill in its chamber. The gas industry insists that local town/village fracking bans and moratoriums are illegal because a few of them have been successfully overturned. Remember that these are local initiatives and can't be judged as a group.The gas industry is backing pro-fracking members of the New York State government to push for an easy in for HVHF.

All this while Mark Jacobson and Mark Delucchi of Stanford University have given us a plan for all of New York State to run on renewable energy by 2030. And this sustainable plan would be at a lower cost for the entire state than the $20 billion dollar climate change disaster relief plan (while still retaining addiction to fossil fuels and making worse the climate change disasters the plan is relieving) NYC Mayor Bloomberg just released. Indeed in 2010 Stanford drew up a plan for the entire world to go renewable in 30 years. The cost of renewable energy has decreased over the last decade.

The time is NOW. Please meet with fellow concerned citizens, business leaders, faith leaders, health professionals, students, farmers and more and let New York know - we want renewable energy, not more fossil fuels. Say No to fracking in Albany on June 17.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Poland Farmers Stand Up Against Chevron to Fight Fracking

At times one's own local attempts to stop the use of fossil fuels and move to renewables may overwhelm. Taking a look out, we see friends all over the state, nation and world standing up to big fossil fuel corporations.  In Zurawlow, a small rural community in Poland, a group of approximately 150 farmers has been standing their ground for the last week against multinational Chevron. People are sleeping in fields overnight and blocking areas with cars and trucks. Some farmers are reported injured. Of major concern is the potential contamination and loss of water in this farming area, as well as contamination of the farmland.

Chevron fenced off an area for which they hold a lease for drilling. Some media reports say Chevron owns the land. According to the farmers the right to drill was reversed and further regulations considered two years ago, due in part to protests by the citizens of this and three other areas in Poland where Chevron has leases. The Polish Ministry of the Environment had granted Chevron the right to perform seismic studies on leased land as tests before the actual hydrofracturing took place, but there is no right to fence the land.  The link below are from a French news and a French Environmental website.

Farmers fear that Chevron will start fracking operations although that is not allowed without civil hearing and granting of local permission.  They state that all activity must be declared and approved; Chevron has not completed this process per the farmers.  The lease contract is subject to ongoing legislation regarding regulations of public work. Local government appears to be leaning to Chevron's side. The farmers have been entertaining themselves with music and plan to write and record an anti-fracking song. they have also been watching Lech Kowalski's film "Drill Baby Drill."

Poland's government has been very fracking friendly to various gas companies, in an attempt to become "energy independent" from Russian imports. Hmm, sound familiar? There are plans to limit fracking protests to groups that are at least a year old, limiting the legal reach of groups in newly endangered areas.

Poland's fracking enterprises are troubled in that wells already fracked have not produced according to expectation of this being a particularly rich deposit area. The government is contemplating increased taxes on profits and the severity of regulation appears that it will be greater than expected. Several gas companies have already given up and left Poland, including ExxonMobil, Marathon and Talisman.

Gas corporations are not happy that Poland plans to have a state owned company involved in the gas drilling mix. How dare the country have anything to do with its own natural "resource."

Sadly, the media is not all over this. The farmers are protesting against Chevron's attempted drilling for everyone in Poland. French media seem to have more interest than Polish. Of course, we are familiar with this problem. Occupy Chevron says No Fracking in Poland. Ban Fracking Now in Poland and Everywhere! Let's stand in solidarity with Poland!

Monday, June 3, 2013


Gas. Oil. Pipelines. We keep hearing the pipelines, the fossil fuels are inevitable. Gas and oil are not the only choice. Renewables will sustain us. The fossil fuel industry has been lying to us for years. It is time to stop believing the hype. It is time to tell our representatives that this outdated rush to poison the world must stop. It is time to heed actual science.  Mark Jacobson and Mark Delucchi of Stanford provided a plan to move the world to renewables in 2009 and in 2013 have provided a New York plan. The European Union has legislated renewable energy goals which have been a success. The US should drive its energy policy to sustainable energy sources instead of damaging fossil fuels.

President Obama was elected in 2008 and reelected in 2012 as environmentally friendly. His track record on reducing fossil fuel use is not good. Consider Keystone XL, which is urgently important. If Obama ok’s this pipeline, the game is as well as over.  Canadians don’t want these tar sands piped through their country; why should we have to accept this tar sands bitumen pipeline?

Obama’s new Energy Secretary, Ernest Moniz has close ties with the fossil fuel industry. He touts natural gas as a bridge fuel and does not exhibit any concern over the harmful effects of High Volume Horizontal Fracking. Under Moniz there is no doubt the billions of dollars of subsidies to the fossil fuel industry will continue, and there is no sign he will make a push for total renewable, sustainable energy.

The Keystone XL is only the steroidally largest pipeline in the works here. There is a massive network of pipelines moving natural gas and oil.  We know of the big spills but there are many smaller spills and explosions. The industry is jonesing to extend this further, “expand(ing) US supply glut” of natural gas, as Bloomberg puts it. There is also the push to start processing Liquified Natural Gas for export. Government representatives are lobbied like mad to continue legislation in favor of the fossil fuel industry pipeline population growth.

We don’t need more fossil fuels. We need to totally concentrate on renewable energy now. Our government representatives are not going to be the leaders in moving us to renewables. We have to spread the word - Renewable, sustainable energy is so right and fossil fuel pipelines are so wrong.

Friday, May 31, 2013

OTP's at the Left Forum next weekend! Come join us!
Panel Discussion: The Necessity of Direct Action
to Prevent Expansion
of Gas and Oil Infrastructure

Pace University, New York City
Room: E321,
Time: Saturday, 8th of June 03:40pm-05:20pm

Because of fracking, New York State is on the front line of a war for the future of the planet. Climate change is escalating. The fossil fuel industry is hell-bent on permanently destroying the environment. Our government is either passive or complicit. No one can save us but ourselves. This panel is an examination of how to get that done.

In this discussion, we’ll cover:

  • A Map of the Problem: Specifics about the various pipelines, compressor stations, cracker distilleries, sand deposits, gas storage areas, water withdrawal areas, etc. criss-crossing the region covering the Marcellus Shale.
  • Activist Cross-pollination: The importance of symbiotic relations between the larger NGOs and the smaller grassroots orgs and groups. 
  • Activist Tools: Since New York State is a backwater and a world capital and everything in between, resources vary at each locale. We must alter our tactics to fit the situation. Tools include: bans and moratoriums, direct actions of many types, social media campaigns, the NYC mayoral race, reconfiguring municipal charters, and many, many more.
  • The Real Solution: An outline of the actualities of renewable energy, conservation, and the demand for a change in our lifestyle. 

Chair, Speakers: Dave Publow -- Occupy the Pipeline (, Patrick Robbins -- Occupy the Pipeline , Pramilla Malick -- Stop the Minisink Compression Station (, Monica Hunken – Occupy the Pipeline, Eric Brandenburg -- United for Action

Left Forum is the largest annual conference of the broad Left in the United States. Each spring thousands of conference participants come together to discuss pressing local, national and global issues; to better understand commonalities and differences, and alternatives to current predicaments; or to share ideas to build social movements to transform the world.

This year's theme of Left Forum is "Mobilizing for Economical/Ecological transformation.”
Speakers include Noam Chomsky, Oliver Stone and Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera

*** Please forward widely **** 

Monday, May 27, 2013

TPP - Stop the Pipeline to Ultimate Corporate Power

Fossil fuel corporations exhibit an insatiable quest for profit. Pushing for High Volume Horizontal Fracking wherever there is any shale underground, planning for a vast serpentine network of pipelines across the US to move fracked gas and oil, fighting governmental regulation, insisting their activities are safe and clean even as there are continuous “accidents” spilling oil or causing explosions.  The world is now facing the prospect of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Mother of all trade dreams for gas and oil corporations, as well as all other Big Corps. TPP covers all manner of trade and if passed it will set corporate interest above the interest of citizens and their governments (except for the monetary interest of representatives who’ve been paid off.

The early history of the TPP harkens back to the Bush 2 years and Obama took this baton from W and after a brief wait he has run like mad with it. There have been 17 rounds of meetings between the dozen or so countries now involved and the open ended nature of the agreement would allow countries to continue to join after the pact is agreed upon and the seal is set. Obama has expressed a requirement for TPP to be "fast tracked" without the normal path to ratification and implementation, with minimal debate and lack of amendments it would be hurried through with the usual hype that it is good for America without revealing that it is bad for consumers and many aspects of their lives.

The negotiations are as secret as possible. Even the Senate Chairman in charge of the committee with jurisdiction over the TPP is not allowed to read the proposals to the agreement; but the corporate agents have full access. Some parts of the TPP have been leaked, revealing the extensive powers sought for big corporate interest in this agreement.  As noted in a blog post in the Daily Kos, “This document is about reducing the regulation a sovereign entity may apply to an investment to the point that any investment is almost certain to pay out whether by actually carrying out the investment or through reimbursement for not being able to carryout the investment”  Here are some links to get more overall information on the TPP.

TPP passage could place the rights of fossil fuel corporations above current and proposed US laws.  As little consideration FERC and the DOE now seem to have for the public good, TPP would gut concern for citizen and environmental matters. State and local moratoriums against HVHF and any regulations could be considered barriers to gas and oil profits. Compulsory integration is now used in some areas to frack land whose owner refuses to sign a land lease but around which land leases have been obtained.  TPP could allow fracking land without this eminent  “justification.”

The Halliburton Loophole exclusion from the Clean Water Act requirement of listing of toxic chemicals used in fracking will seem insignificant as corporations could claim that restriction of harmful chemical use will restrict their anticipated profits. The world is seeing a fossil fuel pipeline building frenzy, no doubt in anticipation of passage of TPP and other “trade” agreements with only corporate interests addressed. Gas and oil pipelines could be allowed to take citizens’ and public land in the interest of fossil fuel profits.

While it is distasteful to direct anyone to a 1% publication, please hold your nose and read Forbes analysis of why fossil fuel pipelines are so plentiful, necessary, poverty-solving (?) and clean (!?!). This is the type of propaganda faced by world citizens who are concerned about the future. Big money is striving to riddle the world with pipelines and to extract and ship oil and natural gas to every pinch of the globe and the TPP would give unlimited power to profit from this.

There are many reasons to object to passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Granting super power to the fossil fuel industry with the resultant harm to people, animals and the environment is an important reason. Please research the TPP on your own and spread the word. What is not known about it is due to intentional secrecy. The worst thing for TPP is sunshine and transparency. Discuss with everyone you know and find a way to speak out against the TPP. In NYC, on May 28th at 6:30, find out what you can do about the TPP at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church at 1157 Lexington Avenue, between 79th and 80th Streets in Manhattan.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Greenwashing-est Night

The New York League of Conservation Voters is hosting a Spring Gala tonight, May 20, 2013, honoring New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg for being environmentally friendly. While Bloomberg has some green policies, there is a big non-green blot on his record. Bloomberg's push for NYC buildings to convert from #4 or #6 oil to fracked natural gas and the attendant plethora of gas pipelines (built while waiting for permission to be built) including Spectra's on the Gansevoort Peninsula, all touted as Eco-friendly while actually bad for the environment and potentially very dangerous.

If the oil conversion were truly a sustainable plan, various forms of renewable energy would have been forwarded as replacement options as opposed to the extreme push for gas. The methane in natural gas is at least 25 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

Lack of black smoke billowing from chimneys doesn't mean the climate change danger is gone. Natural gas is a fossil fuel and fracked natural gas from the Marcellus Shale contains radioactive radon. 

The proposed network of pipelines pose a threat to the people and property in New York City as well as the area covered in transporting the gas. A quick Google search will reveal the history of accidents with gas pipelines; imagine an explosion in building dense NYC. Consider also that gas boilers have only one possible supplier, Con Edison, which anticipates ever greater profits under the gas push. Interesting point is that natural gas demand has actually decreased in the last decade, but gas industry push for Liquified Natural Gas Terminals to store and export gas have increase dramatically.

Please make note that several of the patrons of the NYLCV fund raiser are organizations involved in pushing for High Volume Horizontal Fracking in New York State. The gas industry and its friends greenwash their product with millions of dollars spent nationwide advertising the clean niceness of gas with no factual or scientific backup for the green claims.

Fossil fuels are exacerbating climate change and erratic weather patterns. Extraction of fossil fuels from the Earth is a tortuous, polluting process that contaminates our water, air and land and causes health problems and even death for people and animals. There are better answers to our energy needs than fossil fuel use. Please see the benefits of renewable energy sources here.

The misleading perception that NYLCV's policies are environmentally friendly is manipulative because its "Eco-partners" include fossil fuel companies and companies linked to it. NYLCV should divest of these partners
Please find a list of sponsors for the Gala here

and the NYLCV partners here

Please contact NYLCV and tell them to return funds accepted from fossil fuel companies and to separate from such partners in the future.

The way to a green tomorrow is total investment in renewable energy now. It is possible. Please research the fossil fuel hype; natural gas is not a "bridge" to renewable energy but a crutch for fossil fuel continuation. Here you can check out Stamford University's studies to convert NYS and even the world to renewable energy within 2 to 4 decades.

Renewable and sustainable energy is the only path to the future.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

500 in the street yesterday!

Here's the bulletin that has been circulating through the Tar Sands coalition about yesterday's march. With this kind of energy, there's no question we can win the battle for clean energy. Check it out:

Yesterday evening, over 500 people gathered in New York City to greet President Obama as he arrived at a House Senate Victory Fund dinner at the Waldorf Astoria. Activists turned out to remind President Obama of his climate commitments and to show the public opposition to Keystone XL and several local natural gas pipelines (Editor's note - Like the Rockaway Pipeline and the Spectra Pipeline!). Citizens from communities impacted by Hurricane Sandy were there to speak to the toll climate change has already taken on New York.
The event was locally led and was co-sponsored by a broad coalition of local and national environmental and social justice organizations, including Sierra Club, Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter, 350 NYC, 350 NJ,, 99Rise, Brooklyn For Peace, Coalition Against the Rockaway Pipeline (CARP), CREDO, CUNY Divest, Food & Water Watch, Friends of the Earth, Global Kids Inc., Green Party of NY, Human Impacts Institute, NYC Friends of Clearwater, NYU Divest, Occupy the Pipeline, Occupy Sandy, Restore the Rock, Sane Energy Project, United for Action, World Can't Wait, WESPAC, and You Are Never Alone (YANA). 
Activists gathered in Bryant Park, where Reverend Billy of the Church of Stop Shopping kicked off the event, and then the group marched down Sixth Avenue and rallied in front of the Waldorf Astoria hotel.