RENewsletter | October 31, 2010


The Free environmental newsletter from

“Our Environment is changing: Keep up with the Change.”

[10/24/2010 – 10/31/2010]


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Anything else you're interested in is not going to happen if you can't breathe the air and drink the water. Don't sit this one out. Do something. You are by accident of fate alive at an absolutely critical moment in the history of our planet. -- Carl Sagan


*** The October 2010 Environmental Site of the Month Award goes to the “Rochesterians Against the Misuse of Pesticides (RAMP)”.    | Go to Environmental Award.



Opening Salvo | NewsLinks | Daily Updates | Events | Environmental Site of the Month | Take Action |



[Hyperlinks work by CTRL + click to follow a link]




Opening Salvo:  “The Memo”


The most salient point about the firing of Peter Grannis of the New York State Department of Conservation and the memo that got him fired is that our government still thinks something else comes before our environment.  Of course many individuals and various alleged media outlets think there are more important issues, but trust me:  if your environment fails, so does everything on your ‘to do’ list.

This reported justification for the firing of the DEC head was that he spelled out what the gutting of the DEC personnel will mean to the DEC’s ability to monitor and police our environment (which many probably see as merely a belt-tightening issue).  But this issue is really about maintaining the quality of our local environment in a time of economic stress.  There’s no other way to see this.  However this issue is spun in the press, the end result is compromising our environmental health by removing 209 more people who monitor and protect our environment.  When you short-change the DEC, there will be environmental abuses.

Leaked Memo Depicts Bare-Bones Regulatory Environment for NY Gas Drilling - ProPublica (10/26/20100 “The leaked memo that led to the dismissal of New York's top environmental official last week depicts a severely understaffed agency that has struggled to adequately perform its duties over the past two years and is ill-equipped to supervise natural gas drilling. All of the meat has been snipped free of the bones, and some of the bones have disappeared," wrote Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis in the memo. "Many of our programs are hanging by a thread."


As you read the memo (written as the result of a request from the governor’s budget commission) and leaked (not by the chief), you get a sense of what gutting the DEC further will be like.  For a moment, try not to see the memo as an indictment against anyone, but as a list from which to check as the DEC loses personnel whose job is to monitor and protect our environment.  If we had a responsible press, one that didn’t merely pander to what brings them money (sports news, political shenanigans, Hollywood start peccadilloes, etc.), they would scour the memo, investigate the allegations of Mr. Grannis, and report back to the public on their findings.   Here are some of what a responsible press might look into: 


“According to this memo, here are some impacts New York has already experienced and can expect to see more of because of cutbacks to the DEC budget:

·         The agency is cleaning-up fewer petroleum spills;

·         Inspections and enforcement activities have dwindled;

·         There is less oversight of mine safety and oil and gas drilling;

·         Efforts to plug leaking abandoned wells have been cut;

·         Backcountry patrols by rangers and conservation officers have been significantly reduced;

·         DEC's fish hatcheries may be closed, resulting in a reduction in economic activity supported and induced by fish stocking;

·         Cuts to the Minerals Division will mean fewer staff available to review applications and oversee activities related to Marcellus Shale;

·         Elimination of the DEC's voluntary brownfields program, will shift their focus to remediation only on State Superfund sites;

·         Clean-up and redevelopment of contaminated lands will take additional time;

·         Reviews and approvals of industrial, commercial, and residential development projects (especially [sic] in regional offices) have slowed; and

·         Priority infrastructure initiatives will be affected (such as a second Peace Bridge in Buffalo, high speed rail corridors and major renewable energy projects).”  DEC Memo Urges New York to Limit Cuts to Agency Budget - GrowWNY

This isn’t “Oh, boo hoo for the DEC, let’s get real; everybody is suffering in this recession.”  This is the profound insight that we need to adopt if we are to be a sustainable community:  We should not think our economy’s performance is in any way more important than the environment:


“The natural environment, encompasses all living and non-living things occurring naturally on Earth or some region thereof. It is an environment that encompasses the interaction of all living species” Natural environment - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


It would be fool hardy for a stricken traveler on a long journey in a scorching desert to gulp down the entire contents of his canteen; in the same way we must protect and preserve our environment, most especially when our economy is floundering.  (Click on my email for feedback)




NewsLinksEnvironmental NewsLinks – [Highlights of major environmental stories concerning our area from the past week]





UpdatesDaily Updates – [Connecting the dots on Rochester’s environment. Find out what’s going on environmentally in our area—and why you should care? Clicking on -DISCUSSION – will take you to my blog “Environmental Thoughts, NY, where you can add your comments.]





EventsRochester Environmental Events Calendar – [The most complete listing of all environmental events around the Rochester, New York area.]  If you don’t see your event, or know of a local environmental event, please send me the info: with (EV event) in the subject line.


November 2010



December 2010





ActionTake Action - Often, I receive request to pass on alerts, petitions, Public Comments on local developments, and environmental items needing action by the Rochester Community and around the world. I’ll keep Actions posted until their due date. 





AwardEnvironmental Site of the Month Award – [On the last Sunday of each month, we present an environmental award for the Rochester-area environmental web site or blog that best promotes the need to protect and offers solutions for our area's environmental issues.]


The October 2010 Environmental Site of the Month Award goes to Rochesterians Against the Misuse of Pesticides (RAMP).  Though this site has just recently come online, RAMP has been helping to protect our area’s environment for a long time.  RAMP represents the kind of watchdog group for our environment and our public health that every community needs. It would be great if we could trust our government to make sure there are high standards for industry for their products and how they operate, but we cannot.  And, it would be great if we could trust the media to keep us informed on how our environment is being compromised Industry’s production methods, use of their products, and discarding of their products.  But we cannot.  So, there’s RAMP.  (The webmaster says the graphics will be up soon and the site will be shipshape.)


Rochesterians Against the Misuse of Pesticides (RAMP) "RAMP's Mission is to advocate against toxic chemicals and pesticides risk on public health and the environment.   RAMP was established in 1987 by community members seeking to inform others of the potential dangers of using pesticides and toxic chemicals."