RENewsletter | November 20, 2011

 

The Free environmental newsletter from RochesterEnvironment.com

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

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[11/13/11 – 10/20/11]

 

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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]

 

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Opening Salvo:  “How can anyone think Fracking is a good idea when they understand Climate Change?”

 

Many who argued for hydrofracking (Fracking) at the Dansville public comment secession yesterday (11/16/2011) seemed to be talking about the need for energy and prosperity for farmers--on a planet that isn’t warming up.  Though, even if our planet’s atmosphere wasn’t warming up with Likely Changes already coming to New York State, there are still myriad reasons why we shouldn’t be tearing up our land and troubling our fresh waters for more fossil fuels.  

For example, here are some of the short-coming of the Revised Draft SGEIS on the Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Regulatory Program (September 2011) - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation: Does not ban fracking chemicals that are known to be toxic and carcinogenic. Does not offer solutions to disposing of toxic fracking waste fluids. Does not close regulatory loophole declaring that drilling wastes can never be considered hazardous. Banning of open waste pits is temporary. Water protection standards are inconsistent. Impacts on public health are ignored. Analysis of DEC staffing or enforcement issues is omitted. Cumulative impacts from multiple wells, long-term or short-term are omitted: we need full build-out modeling. Regulations are being created before the SGEIS is complete. Outdated information for global warming assessment was used. Analysis of Pennsylvania groundwater contamination incidents is inadequate. Protection of agricultural land is inadequate. Impact on infrastructure and disturbance of other surfaces is ignored.  

But Climate Change is here already. Don’t just take my word for it, check today’s local news:

 

Scientists: NY must prepare for climate change now - Canandaigua, NY - MPNnow ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Devastating floods like those caused in upstate New York by the remnants of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee are among the climate change effects predicted in a new report written by 50 scientists and released Wednesday by the state's energy research agency. The 600-page report called ClimAID, intended as a resource for planners, policymakers, farmers and residents, says New Yorkers should begin preparing for hotter summers, snowier winters, severe floods and a range of other effects on the environment, communities and human health. It was written by scientists from Cornell University, Columbia University and the City University of New York and funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.  (November 16, 2011) Home - Canandaigua, NY - MPNnow

 

Someone speaking at the public forum said something to the effect that in twenty years because of Climate Change we in New York State will be moving quickly away from fossil fuel as an energy option and all those hydrofracking drill sites will go abandoned and ugly across our state.  This person gets it.

The public needs to connect the dots between Climate Change and hydrofracking. We cannot continue to have a conversation about Fracking in New York State and not talk about Climate Change.  It’s absurd.  Most arguments for Fracking are statements that are merely a slavish devotion to the fossil fuel industry or economic points that can be solved without warming our planet. 

At the risk of boring you to death with Climate Change predictions, read on about this new report:

 

“The study predicts average annual temperatures in New York state will rise by 4 to 9 degrees by 2080 and precipitation will rise by 5 to 15 percent, with most of it in the winter. It predicts that along the seacoast and tidal portion of the Hudson River, the sea level will rise by 1 to 5 inches by the 2020s and 8 to 23 inches by the 2080s. If melting of polar ice caps is factored in, sea level is projected to rise 37 to 55 inches by the 2080s, the report says.

Among the specific regional effects predicted in the report are:

— Native brook trout and Atlantic salmon will decline, but bass will flourish in warmer waters.

— Great Lakes water levels will fall.

— Apple varieties such as McIntosh and Empire will fare poorly, but vineyards will benefit.

— Milk production will decrease.

— Coastal wetlands will be inundated and saltwater will extend farther up the Hudson River.

— Adirondack and Catskill spruce-fir forests will disappear.

— Invasive insects, weeds and other pests will increase.

— Electrical demand will increase in warm months.”  Home - Canandaigua, NY - MPNnow

 

How can anyone think Fracking is a good idea when they understand Climate Change? 

Here’s the three-minute statement I made to the DEC at Dansville.  Now, it’s your turn.  You can submit written comment or attend one of the remaining public comment forums.

 

New York State High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing Comments

 

“New Yorkers are Working on Many Fronts To help minimize risks from climate change.  New York State has set two goals:

·         Reduce emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases by 80 percent from 1990 levels, by the year 2050 ("80 by 50"), and

·         Improve resilience to climate change in all the state's communities.

Changing Climate Will Cost All New Yorkers | Already in New York:

·         Winter snow cover is decreasing and Spring comes, on average, a week or so earlier than it did a few decades ago.

·         Even when the weather is cold, nighttime temperatures are measurably warmer.

·         Sea levels are rising, increasing the risk of flooding.

·         Summers have more super-hot days.

·         Diseases typical of warmer climates are appearing.

·         Intense precipitation events are occurring more often.

Scientists and economists say that as the earth gets warmer, undesirable climate change effects will significantly outweigh apparent benefits, both in economic cost and in damage to our way of life.”

The above material comes from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Climate Change web page.  So, I remind the DEC of its commitment to reduce greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.  The “2011 Revised Draft SGEIS document” includes measures to mitigate greenhouse gases, like methane, from escaping during the drilling of natural gas in New York State by the process of hydrofracking.”  However, mistakes will be made: EPA Finds Compound Used in Fracking in Wyoming Aquifer - ProPublica (November 10, 2011)

Also, should the DEC allow drilling for more fossil fuels in our state in the first place?  Because of the pervasive character of hydrofracking, drilling through the Marcellus shale and Utica Shale with tons of our fresh water, through the naturally occurring  fissures in the shales, and a myriad of undisclosed chemicals, the SGEIS document cannot possibly “ensure that high-volume hydraulic fracturing do [sic] not result in significant adverse impacts relating to climate change.” (Page 24.)  

We had a chance to become a state that favored renewable energy, but The New York State Power Authority dropped the Great Lakes Off-shore Wind Project (GLOW) which could have vastly increased renewable energy development in our state.  Instead, because the fossil fuel industries see a natural gas boom in New York State, Fracking looms over New York. We can dismantle wind turbines if they don't work out, but we can't un-contaminate our freshwater after the fact.

The DEC should put as much effort energy and money and people into adapting and mitigating Climate Change in NYS as it is putting into Fracking, which will accelerate GHG.  I am worried that the DEC has been so side-tracked by Fracking that they may not be able to accomplish their mission: “Conserving, improving, and protecting New York’s natural resources and environment.” 

 

FrankRegan@RochesterEnvironment.com  (Click on my email for feedback)

 

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

 

 

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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.]

 

 

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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: FrankRegan@RochesterEnvironment.com with (EV event) in the subject line.

 

November 2011

 

 

December 2011

 

 

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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. 

 

 

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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.]