RENewsletter | July 17, 2011


The Free environmental newsletter from

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

[7/10/11 – 7/17/11]


* Got news? | Go to my blog: Environmental Thoughts - Rochester, NY or Tweet me @!/FrankRrrr   On Twitter, I post local environmental events, news, and commentary as soon as it happens.  If you think this newsletter, which continually informs our community on our local environmental news, events, actions, is worthwhile, please encourage others to sign up.  


The great conundrum of our times is that in a time of rapidly occurring Climate Change and a rapid disintegration of the environment that we need to thrive and survive, mainstream media still marginalizes environmental concerns. [Check often for this continually updated list on the possible consequences of Climate Change in our region--supported by facts.] If there isn’t a quick and substantial change in how environmental concerns are reported, edited, and chosen in mainstream media, the public will continue to believe that environmental concerns are merely special interest matters, issues they can avoid if they choose.  How can we inform the public and monitor our environment without abridging our Freedoms--in enough time to safe ourselves?


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


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



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




Opening Salvo:  “Hydrofracking in NYS through the lens of Climate Change”


Although our governments, politicians, business community, and even our environmentalists do not (or will not) connect the dots of hydrofracking with Climate Change they cannot be isolated from each other.  Natural gas, however extracted, is a greenhouse gas (GHG) when burned and it must be addressed as such.   


Because of the scale of our energy issues, the scale of the gas to be extracted (some have referred to the Marcellus Shale and Utica Shale boon as comparable to two Saudi Arabia’s worth of fossil fuels) and the scale of our Climate Change crisis, now is the time for the media and our government officials to connect natural gas with greenhouse gas emissions.  The gravity of our accelerated Climate Change crisis, where there will be many likely changes to our region’s environment, compels us to view all environmental issues through the lens of Climate Change.  This isn’t my expression; this is the language of the US Fish and Wildlife Service: 


“As a Service, we are committed to examining everything we do, every decision we make, and every dollar we spend through the lens of climate change, fully confident in our workforce to rise to this challenge and to lead from in front and from behind.” page 5, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Rising to the Urgent Challenge, Strategic Plan for Responding to Accelerating Climate Change


Addressing Climate Change must be our primary objective from now on, not just when it’s convenient.  Not just when a few organizations get together and decide to install florescent light bulbs.  Climate Change needs to be addressed when a major boon for extracting and then burning more fossil fuels is on the table.  This is the time to stand up and connect the dots.  Until that is done, the public cannot truly believe their government or environmentalists are serious about Climate Change.


Granted, this is going to be hard to do as New York leaps towards something akin to the heady days of the Texas oil rush.  Everyone with gas under their land can be a zillionaire—just like the Beverly Hillbillies.  So, all sorts of benefits are dangled before the eyes of New Yorkers: more jobs in a bad economy; farming isn’t paying like it used to so leasing your land to drilling can help compensate; New York State has very tough drilling regulations and we’ve learned from other states’ issues with hydrofracking; and the clincher, hydrofracking in NYS will make us energy independent so we won’t have to go to war over oil anymore.  Hydrofracking is being presented in the media as a panacea that will resolve all our energy problems—except water issues.


The downsides of hydrofracking presented in mainstream media are mostly water issues: it might contaminate our water supplies; it draws a considerable amount of water from our lakes and streams, and more including our drinking water might catch on fire.  But, nowhere is it mentioned that hydrofracking and burning more natural gas will exacerbate Climate Change.   It’s just not talked about—even though it is impossible to refute. 


What if we connected the dots and admitted that this rage for natural gas will warm the planet further?    It would look like this: We would drop hydrofracking altogether.  We would strip away subsides that we give to the oil industry (in the billions) and give these incentives to wind, solar and geothermal power.  Along with battery storage improvements, smart grid technology, energy efficiency, and conservation, we could do without the havoc that is going to be caused by hydrofracking.  And, there’d be jobs galore.  And we might just cool down the planet.


The study that the New York State Department of Conservation (NYSDEC) just released on hydrofracking does mention the mitigation of greenhouse gases.  But it only addresses escaping GHG during the drilling process.  It doesn’t talk about natural gas being a GHG—even though the NYSDEC OFFICE OF CLIMATE CHANGE helped write the report: Preliminary Revised Draft SGEIS on the Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Regulatory Program (July 2011) - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation  


The truth is that we are not serious about the Climate Change crisis.  The press won’t include Climate Change in their daily reporting.  The government won’t include Climate Change in their drilling regulations.  Environmentalists won’t use Climate Change when talking about hydrofracking.  The public won’t talk about Climate Change at all—unless it’s something vague and fortuitous.  Through the lens of Climate Change hydrofracking is a continuance of an energy option that will ensure a further acceleration of atmospheric warming.  There’s nothing in our collective present activities to suggest that we are able to move on the scale needed to actually reverse the human release of GHG.  This present hydrofracking issue in NYS is a clear example of how we go about avoiding our generation’s responsibility.  (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.


July 2011



August 2011



September 2011





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.]