Water is our most Precious Resource

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Finally, a Deal Has Been Struck!

It's a victory, for sure. Although Governor Paterson declined the bill passed overwhelmingly by the House and the Senate, he instead issued an executive order which states that there will be a moratorium on Horizontal Well Hydrofracking until June of 2011.

The grandness in this victory is that we have become the first state - the first government - to legally obstruct hydrofracking, which is truly astounding. It is a great accomplishment.

Unfortunately, what Paterson did was to eliminate important restrictions concerning vertical drilling, in the name of the economy. It was vertical drilling that contaminated the water at Dimmock, PA. Although they have only drilled a few vertical wells so far in NY's Marcellus, the way is now open for more drilling.

So, this is the new fight.... to expand the restrictions on drilling to include ALL potentially dangerous forms of drilling.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Looking for Hope in a Dark World

Well, we all wanted to celebrate a few days back when the NY state senate voted to pass the resolution to put a Moratorium on Hydrofracking with a 2 - 1 margin. It was a huge, fabulous victory for those of us who have fought to stop hydrofracking in this state, which protects fresh drinking water for millions upon millions upon millions of Americans.


Governor Paterson failed to sign the bill into law. And this, AFTER he went on the record, on radio, saying that "The Anti Hydrofrackers have Won. They Taught Us How Dangerous this Practice Is".

Looks like there was some behind-the-scenes strong-arming by the gas industry, because if, in fact, this bill WAS signed into law, it would have preciptated a tidal wave effect throughout the country, allowing state governments to put a halt to the greed-feeding-frenzy of the natural gas industry. Which, by the way, we don't need because we already have enough at this point in time! Everything that comes up is now sold to CHINA!!!

So. I honestly can't blame Paterson for caving in to the pressure of the Gas Mafia. I'm sure their tactics are as dirty as it gets, and after all, he wasn't even elected into office.

So.... despairing for the place where I live, where I'm raising my son, I continue to look for hope in this darkness.

In Orange County, just down the mountains from us and out of range of the Marcellus Shale, they've just broken ground on a Biomass Plant, which would effectively turn NYC's garbage into it's power.

And it's based on this model, which has been hugely successful.

But it means that recycling is SOOOOO important, and I want you to take the utmost responsibility to make sure that you are recycling 100% and urging those around you to do the same. Perhaps we can combat these idiotic greedy fascists by surviving after they've killed themselves off.

Friday, November 5, 2010

I'm Gonna Go Out and Dance.

I'm feeling like someone kicked me in the stomach. I can barely breathe, or think straight. The sellout of our environment is weeks from happening. Obama has caved. Paterson has dismantled New York's environmental protection. The EPA is even telling people in NYC to not drink the water!!!

I don't know where to look to find hope, or strength. It looks to me right now like greed is gonna win, and I just don't know what to do or what to say.... so tonight, I'm going to go out and dance. Because what else is there, if we can't find the smallest joys in our lives?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Voting is IMPERATIVE!!!

I've certainly gone through different phases in my life - from being a political activist to completely apathetic - so I understand why people feel like not putting out the effort to vote tomorrow, given the state of politics. But I truly believe that we're at a turning point right now, and if we allow the far right to take over our political landscape, we will never be able to turn it back.

Tea Partiers are talking war and violence to get their way, and they sound just like crying little 3 year olds who scream to get their toys back. In the worlds of behavioral experts, like "Cave Men".

So, to go out and cast your vote for non-extremist candidates tomorrow is to vote for sanity, progress and democracy. To NOT vote is in actuality a vote for regression and the cultivation of a society based on fear, and fear alone.

It's a few minutes out of your day.... make those minutes count!

VOTE on Tuesday November 2nd!!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Why Should You Vote for David Sager?

Following is a letter recently posted that fully describes David Sager's agenda:

October 2010

Dear Friends and Supporters,

It's hard to believe it's already October with only two weeks to go until Election Day on November 2nd! The Sager for Senate Campaign is working hard each day, making huge strides in getting the word out to as many voters as possible about the reform platform of the Sager candidacy and the significant differences between David and his opponent, the ethically challenged John Bonacic.

It is becoming more and more obvious to people why they should vote for David Sager over an entrenched incumbent like John Bonacic but, we need your help to extend our reach. Your continued support and donations will help us to effectively execute our media plan through radio, print advertisements and mailings right up through election day.

David has traveled across the 42nd Senate District and has had the opportunity to meet thousands of wonderful and concerned residents. By now, many of you have had the chance to get to know David, and you have seen and heard what a great Senator he will be for us. The energy, passion, and issues he has defined as urgent prove that there is no substitute for hard work and integrity.

But, let's not kid ourselves. Forging a victory over an incumbent with a war chest the size of John Bonacic's won't be easy. We still have a lot of work in front of us reaching more voters.

In order to be successful on our road to the New York State Senate, we continue to need your help - It's as simple as logging onto and clicking the blue ACT BLUE button to donate on-line or please consider sending a donation to support David Sager for Senate. You can do this by mailing a check to: David Sager for State Senate, PO Box 295, Jeffersonville, New York 12748.

If you feel, as many New Yorkers do, that there is a difference between government as it is and government as it should be, then meet David Sager Democratic candidate for New York's 42nd Senatorial district.


David Sager has spent the greater part of his life in the 42nd State Senate District. He grew up in the Village of Monticello in Sullivan County, the son of a small business owner and an elementary school teacher. After graduating from Monticello High School in 1989, he went on to receive a degree as a Doctor of Chiropractic from New York Chiropractic College in Seneca Falls, New York, after which he returned to his roots in Sullivan County. It is in this rural agricultural region of Western Sullivan County that David lives with his wife Michelle and their two young sons, Owen and Dylan.

In 1999, David Sager became the youngest county-wide elected coroner in Sullivan County history and was overwhelmingly re-elected in 2003 to a second term. In 2007, he ran for the Sullivan County Legislature, where he has served for the past two and a half years. Now, in 2010, he is running as a Democratic candidate for the 42nd District Senatorial seat in Albany.


ETHICS REFORM - David Sager believes in the law, good government and its ability to work for everyone. David will fight for tougher laws that govern both individual behavior and conflict of interest thresholds by politicians and stricter laws to govern campaign finance. Sager's platform is based on proposal forwarded by the Brennan Center at New York University.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT - David Sager is an advocate for forward-thinking, and environmentally sound, regional growth. He believes in “smart growth” and development which both provides economic growth and appropriate and meaningful stewardship over our water and and land. He believes the 42nd Senate district can become an east coast Silicon Valley for alternative energy.

AGRICULTURE - As State Senator, he will work to make sure that farmers get the respect and compensation they deserve for the products they provide and vital role they play in our communities.

PROPERTY TAX REFORM - David Sager wants to fight to make significant changes in the way education is paid for through property taxes. He also wants to have an open discussion about the qualifications for tax-exempt status.

EDUCATION - David Sager believes that as global economic competition increases, education is paramount in providing our future generations with the proper tools for success. He believes we need to rethink some of our basic notions about what we teach and how we teach it. For instance, he asks, “Why are our schools not teaching Mandarin.?”

FLOOD MITIGATION/NYC WATERSHED - David Sager will work aggressively with the NYDEC to provide effective, lasting and environmentally sensitive flood relief to local residents while working with city and state officials, to bring everybody to the table in order to meet the challenges of providing safe water for everyone.

GAS DRILLING - David is willing to ask the most difficult questions not only about the environment and drinking water, but also about home rule and the right for towns to have a say in their destiny (including site plan review by local planning boards, infrastructure and road maintenance, and quality of life).

EQUALITY - David Sager believe in the rights of citizens to enjoy personal privacy and exercise their constitutional rights free from discrimination of any type, whether it be based upon age, color, creed, national origin, gender or sexual orientation is basic to every human being's right to secure happiness for themselves and those most dear to them. David supports marriage equality.

Vote for David Sager because Albany cannot change by itself!

Monday, October 18, 2010


Click Here to Watch the Video!

James Northrup tells New Yorkers exactly what to expect with hydrofracking, based on his career in the gas industry.

Fight Hydrofracking in the Voting Machine

The midterm elections are coming up very soon. This is one of our biggest opportunities to tell the New York Government: NO FRACKING WAY!! So make sure you know whether your candidates are funded by Big Gas/Big Oil, or are truly interested in representing YOUR health and safety!

I'll tell you right off: Jon Bonacic has flip-flopped on hydrofracking; he conveniently changed his position earlier this year but I can GUARANTEE you that he will flip back to the other side once these elections are over!!

On the other hand, David Sager is a die-hard "NO fracking unless you prove it's safe" candidate. He absolutely has our best interests at heart.

(If you're unfamiliar with the term HYDROFRACKING, please view my YouTube Channel which explains it, or watch GASLAND, an award winning documentary on this horrific practice which is all about GREED and annihilation)

Here's a critical issue. The Army Corps of Engineers has authority of the Delaware River Basin Commission, which is very quickly approaching a deadline where it will decide whether or not to continue a hydrofracking moratorium in the Delaware River area, which includes northern Pennsylvania and southern New York. The Army Corps of Engineer has said, "Go ahead and Frack." President Obama actually authorized this insanity! If you are one of 15 million people who rely on drinking water from the Delaware River (PA, NJ, NY), you need to take action NOW by following the steps below; your voice is critical!!

ACTION: Swamp the DRBC with postcards
Pick up 3 postcards from your post office and, AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, mail them with brief handwritten messages (suggestions below) to:
- Carol Collier, Executive Director, DRBC
- Mark Klotz (NYS’ Representative on the DRBC)
- Brigadier General Peter DeLuca (Federal Representative)
C/O Delaware River Basin Commission
25 State Police Drive
P.O. Box 7360
West Trenton, NJ 08628-0360

Hand-write short, simple messages on the postcards such as the following:
“Please do not allow gas drilling in the Delaware River Basin to threaten the drinking water for 15 million people and turn this protected waterway and its basin into an industrial zone.” 

“NYC and Philly have passed resolutions for an extended moratorium to study first before drilling.  That's 10 million people making this request!  Can you hear us now?”

“Dear DRBC: don't make the Delaware watershed an experiment.  Study first before drilling.” 

“Protect our drinking water.  Let science guide policy.  Secure the results of the EPA hydraulic drilling study and the US Geological Survey study first before devising appropriate regulations for drilling.”

“What's the hurry?  No shale gas drilling job is worth the harm to one infant's brain development or one person's organ damage caused by fracking contamination.  Do you want their health (deaths!) on your head?”

ACTION: Write the President
Below is a sample letter on this issue to President Obama for you to add your name, address, and date, or to personalize and revise.  The President must hear from us on this issue and understand that gas extraction is not the path we should pursue when wind and solar energy are the future. (See recent New York Times front page article on the off-shore (East coast) wind energy transmission system investment by Google’s founder:   

Renewable Energy Now!

Sample Letter:

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Obama:

I was deeply disappointed to read the article under the headline, “Obama Admin Rejects Timeout for Natural Gas Drilling in N.Y., Pa.” (New York Times September 22, 2010). Moreover, I was horrified to learn that Brig. Gen. Peter "Duke" DeLuca, commander of the North Atlantic Division of the Army Corps of Engineers, declined a request from Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.) to use the federal government's vote on the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) to seek a temporary ban on gas drilling in the Delaware Watershed until the Commission can complete the first cumulative impact study of drilling’s effects in the Basin.

This watershed provides drinking water to more than 15 million people who live in Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, and New Jersey — 5% of the country's population.

I ask for your commitment to (1) instruct Commissioner DeLuca to cast the federal government’s vote on the DRBC in favor of a gas drilling moratorium in the Delaware River Watershed until the EPA’s current study on hydraulic fracturing’s effects on drinking water, and a USGS cumulative impact study have demonstrated its safety; (2) work with Congress to sign The Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act (FRAC Act) into law to plug the “Halliburton Loophole” and restore EPA regulatory authority over hydraulic fracturing under the Safe Water Drinking Act; and (3) work with Congress to repeal all subsidies for oil and gas drilling and all forms of fossil fuels.

Many communities in Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, and Pennsylvania, among others, are already suffering from poisoned water supplies and severe air pollution caused by hydraulic fracturing. There have been numerous reports of serious health issues suffered by people in areas where hydraulic fracturing has taken place, and I am greatly troubled by the prospects for long term pollution and public health impacts from this hazardous practice. The majority of the toxic and carcinogenic fracking fluids remain in the ground to migrate potentially into faults, pristine aquifers, and our country’s water supplies.

This is unacceptable. The gas industry continues to tout natural gas a clean “bridge” fuel, even as evidence mounts that the flawed hydraulic fracturing process for extracting natural gas may actually be worse for the environment than coal. We must not sacrifice the health and well-being of future generations and our environment for an ill-advised, short-term energy fix. Instead, we should augment policies on which you campaigned that encourage energy conservation and provide incentives for the development of truly renewable and sustainable green energy.

Hydraulic fracturing and taxpayer subsidies to big oil and gas companies are important issues that have galvanized voters. I implore your Administration to prioritize the vital health and environmental interests of the American people over multi-national corporate drilling interests.



IF you can take the time to perform these 2 actions, you might just be making an extraordinary difference in the outcome of the Hydrofracking Fight!

Thank you for reading!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Momentum!

I was away for a while, playing a jazz festival in the land of Sardinia, which is smack in the middle of the Mediterranean. Truly a land of sun, wind, currents etc.... and yet there is very little sustainable energy production! The locals tell me that it costs too much money to install the infrastructure, and people are poor, and Sardinia is the "forgotten land" of Italy. And yet, there's a huge NATO base on the island where they drop who-knows-what-kinds of bombs all the time - wouldn't it make sense for NATO to pay for a renewable energy system in Sardinia in exchange for the loss in quality of life?

The other night, the last night before the first school night, there was an outdoor screening of Josh Fox's GASLAND Movie. I had the opportunity to meet Josh, and gave him one of my Demand It tee shirts. The movie is opening national on the 15th, and he's very excited!

Before the movie began, Maurice Hinchey spoke, and is doing amazing things on the federal level in regards to the Frack Act.

The turnout was excellent! And there was kettle corn and cotton candy for the kids, plus an excellent playground.... Although my attention was scattered by my son's exuberance (he was screaming "No Hydrofracking! No Hydrofracking" while ensconced at the top of the "Eiffel Tower" climby thingy), there were several speakers, not all of whom I was able to identify. I know that Janet Burgan sang a bunch of songs including a new one, "No Hydrofracking Way". And, there was a performance ensemble which represented the Industry and their Frackers. I'm sure that Mark Ruffalo spoke, and perhaps Wes Gillingham from Catskill Mountainkeeper.

 This was the 2nd time I saw the movie, and I found myself calling my son so he could see the scenes where they light the tap water on fire....

Biggest call to action right now: Call your state and federal reps to demand that drilling be stopped. Call the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) too. There's a September 15th deadline to extend an existing Moratorium on Drilling in the Delaware. CALL YOUR SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES AND DEMAND A MORATORIUM ON HYDROFRACKING!!!
NY - PA - NJ - WV

The New York EPA hearings are rescheduled at the Broome County Forum Theater in Binghampton, on Sept. 13th and 15th, 2010.  It's looking to be a huge day of activism - I'm scheduled to speak on the 13th and will be there with trumpet and video camera!!! Come out if you can!

One thing I keep hearing from people on the street, and through my YouTube channel, is desperation. People are feeling inadequate, or overwhelmed when presented with this issue. That's how I felt at first, too.... but then I saw people taking a huge, active part in halting the machine, I jumped right in - there is no "alone" in this fight; just give what you can, and make some fabulous friends in the process!

I'm living in NYC part time so I'm getting involved on both ends of the spectrum now. The first thing I realized is that hydrofracking is not the only potential problem with NYC's water supply! There are definitely OTHER issues.....

Gotta run!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Current Events Digest

Wow, there's a lot of stuff happening!! I'm going to attempt to promote the most important events and calls to action here, as posted by SACRED:

Firstly, since the NY State senate overwhelmingly passed the Fracking Moratorium 2 weeks ago, Governor Paterson has publicly expressed that he will not support drilling until there is “overwhelming evidence that nothing will happen” to harm clean water supplies. This is a dramatic departure from his policy previously, and I know that many people are relieved and ecstatic for this change of heart. Also, there is a possibility that the State Assembly will reconvene for a special session to vote on the Moratorium, so PLEASE call your assembly people and voice your support for the Hydrofracking Moratorium!!!

Next: I was driving home from Middletown the other day and saw my first anti-fracking billboard on Route 17 - THIS IS FANTASTIC!  I hear there's another one further up on 17 as well. BIG Thank you to all the organizations that pulled this together - SACRED, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy, GASLAND producer Trish Adlesic, and Earthjustice. 

Also, lawn signs are now available and it would be so powerful to start seeing them cropping up all over Sullivan county. You can get them through Catskill Mountainkeeper, Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy, and at the Bethel Farmers Market on Fridays. 

If you're in NYC, there will be a Town Hall meeting concerning the EPA study on Hydrofracking, on August 24th from 5-8 pm at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, 199 Chambers Street. Please RSVP to (212) 788-6871 or events@council.nyc.gov by Friday, August 20th. 

Other events happening soon (from SACRED):

Sullivan County Gas Drilling Forum at Monticello High School (third and final in the series), “Economic and Community Impacts” this Thursday, August 19th,  at 5:45PM

Sunday, September 5th, Picnic and Gasland screening at the Callicoon Youth Center, 8 Creamery Road, Callicoon, NY.  Picnic and music at 6pm.  The movie begins at 8.  Admission is free.  Director Josh Fox and actor Mark Ruffalo will speak.

The positive momentum to stop hydofracking is exciting, but is based on energy. Any little part you can do to make a difference is important! Please take a minute to call your assembly person! 

Some very good links:


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

David Sager's Prepared Speech of August 5, 2010

I have been given the right to reprint this speech, which was given on August 5, 2010 in Monticello. David has been at the vanguard of the hydrofracking awareness movement since 2008, when it first came to light.

Thank you all for taking time out of your busy schedules to come here today. 

As you are likely aware, the New York State Senate finally passed the S.8129B Thompson Bill at 12:17 AM early yesterday morning, which will, if also passed by the Assembly and signed by the Governonor, impose creating a moratorium until May 15, 2011 on the controversial technique of high volume hydraulic fracturing -- often referred to as "Fracking" --  in the natural gas rich Marcellus Shale formation that runs through much of our region.  First I would like to commend the State Senate for taking the first step toward our collective responsible energy future. Equally important,  I would like to personally thank the organizations represented here today who have, through their credible and tenacious advocacy, raised public awareness about this issue -- an issue that we must all face head on, making tough, information based decisions as we go, that will effect generations to come. To those standing with me today I say, without your lobbying and considerable efforts we wouldn't even be here today. It has been my privilege to work with you.
Many of you know that I have been one of the most outspoken elected officials in the region on this subject since it first came to light in 2008.  I have attended numerous conferences and forums on the subject and have been highly critical of DEC Mineral Resources Director, Brad Field, at several of those forums.  While the passing of this moratorium is an important first step in dealing with the massive industrialization of our landscape, watersheds and water table, as it stands now, the Thompson  Bill is an important, but modest and largely a symbolic gesture that may have delayed the actual issuance of permits by only a few months. It actually does little to provide anything other than a temporary halt of drilling not likely to start until May 15, 2011 anyway. I stand before you today to say loudly and clearly that this is simply not close to being enough.

Hydraulic fracturing utilizing vast amounts of water and numerous toxic chemicals would not even be possible in the United States were it not for the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which allowed for specific exemptions to the Clean Water and Air Act.  

Though the industry likes to say that fracking has been around and safe for decades, the reality is that horizontal hydraulic fracturing has only been in use for a few years and there are no objective, comprehensive, and credible studies to say that it is safe.  However, there have been thousands of fracking related incidents reported from numerous states where fracking is taking place. (Colorado and Pennsylvania to name two) There is a significant amount of anecdotal data from several states that suggests there are tremendous  threats to both surface and subsurface water, and considerable public health risks.   

The DEC Division of Mineral Resources has consistently proven that it lacks the initiative to objectively make honest scientific inquiry on this issue and it is simply shocking that the most recent GEIS does not address the substantial cumulative impacts posed by a dangerous, under-regulated activity that can never and will never, ever, be confused with anything having to do with agriculture.  As I said before, and make no mistake about this, fracking is industrial mining and the examples of the way this activity decimates the landscape, infrastructure and water is staggering.  

The NY State DEC does not have the resources necessary to properly regulate and oversee this industry in New York State.  A true sign of alarm is that the employee union representing some 2,000 DEC employees (many of whom have earth science and biology backgrounds) have stated publicly that they have serious reservations about the prospect of fracking as currently permitted, proposed and evaluated by the current New York State Generic Environmental Impact Study. They have called for more careful study and caution. In addition, I find it alarming, like many others, that funding and staffing levels have been reduced substantially over the past several budget cycles. 

The fact is, that after personally watching the State Senate vote, it is clear that there are many factors that are still unknown and which have not been researched by our elected officials and the regulatory agency charged with overseeing gas drilling. It appears, based on numerous statements appearing in the press, that many of our elected leaders have more faith in the DEC Division of Mineral Resources than many of us here today and in the public, who have been living with this issue for several years now.  

The moratorium  bill, if signed into law, provides no assurances to the residents of New York State.  It does not call for any comprehensive studies or independent scientific research.  It does not require the disclosure of fracking fluid chemicals, provide clarity on municipal authority or provide any number of other possible protections.  What it will do, however, is provide four and a half months, come the commencement of the next Legislative session, for the Legislature to do then what it failed to do now. As an elected official I have done my very best in Sullivan County to protect the greater good and demand honest, fact driven scientific answers to difficult questions. When elected to the State Senate in the 42nd district I pledge to be completely and intensely engaged in this issue. I call on the New York State Legislature to institute several laws and policies immediately as the current moratorium begins so that the residents of my region and throughout New York State have the protections they deserve.
As a citizen, as a County Legislator, and as a Candidate for State Senate I, along with all people clamoring for honest, independent research and transparency, demand that this ban on high volume hydraulic fracturing be in place indefinitely until the following actions are taken: 
    • The Frac Act is passed by Congress which restores all aspects of the Clean Water and Air Act and makes big gas companies expressly disclose all chemicals used and in what quantities.
    • The current EPA Study underway is completed and analyzed.
    • An objective, scientific and industry independent cumulative impact study be performed and analyzed which specifically addresses all environmental, public health, social, municipal planning concerns and economic concerns.
    • Appropriate treatment plants for fracking fluids are in place to permit for the environmentally safe disposal of all toxic fluids associated with the process.  We must be concerned about where the vast amounts of water are going to come from to engage in this industry, but we must be just as vigilant with the toxic cocktail that is the end by-product and how it is disposed.
    • There is adequate manpower and funding in place so that there is strict regulation and oversight of an industry that seeks to bring more than 80,000 well heads to our region.
    • There are appropriate windfall taxes in place so that our infrastructure demands do to industrial drilling are funded appropriately by big industry and those profiting. This should not become yet another unfunded state mandate that will cost us all even more in property taxes.
    • Local Towns must be given a say in their own destinies. Home Rule must apply here and towns must be allowed to plan and zone as they see fit. Towns should be allowed to require site plan reviews and be allowed to use the many planning tools that State Law affords their planning boards during review of subdivision and commercial projects.
    • The concept of compulsory integration must be completely analyzed and re-evaluated. The notion that a person who does not want drilling done on or under his land can have no say in the matter if he happens to live near a group of other land owners who favor drilling is preposterous. Plain and simple -- no property owner should be told his mineral rights will be harvested whether he likes it or not. Since when does our society make public decisions that affect us all based upon acreage and land ownership?
Lastly, I support and value farming. As State Senator I will do everything in my power to ensure that New York's farmers have a sustainable, safe, honorable and profitable way to earn a living that not only benefits them, but all of us as well. No one should have to sell their land off for hydraulic fracking because it is the only way out of hardship. 

All of us here today are truly concerned about the potential risks to our most sacred and life-sustaining commodity…water.  We want to see economic development in New York State, but we are not willing to sacrifice everything else we know in the name of what are yet to be proven economic gains.  We are concerned about the destruction of agriculture, tourism and home values in our region.  We are as concerned about the private wells of our friends and neighbors as we are about the reservoirs of the NYC Watershed and the Delaware River Basin which provide water supplies to millions of people in New York City, New Jersey and Philadelphia. We are concerned about the potential effects of known neurotoxins, endocrine disruptors and carcinogens on the short and long term public health of our children, families and friends.  We are concerned about the quality of life here in our region once the mass industrialization of our bucolic rural setting begins.   

To say that we are going to pause until May 15th of next year is a nice breath to take.  However, it is more important to enact meaningful legislation that addresses the many concerns relating to this untested and badly poorly regulated technology.  If those Senators who passed the moratorium Thompson bill are truly equally concerned with these issues, there is no logical reason for them to not also publicly demand the regulations I have suggested. 

Neither I nor anyone else I know wants to be part of a massive industrial experiment, a guinea pig. I  am not about to sacrifice the health and well-being of my wife and two sons or your family's  either.  I ask you to join me in demanding that our elected officials in Albany show the same concern and sense of urgency. 
Thank you.

Please visit David Sager's Website

EPA Hearings are Postponed

It's very hard to tell exactly WHY the hearings have been postponed, but there are a few facts: one is that the number of people expected had sharply risen from 1,000 to over 5,000; another is that Binghamton University raised their price from $6,000 to $40,000; and another is that anti-fracking protesters were expected to turn out in huge numbers. I have seen reports that there has been intense pressure from the gas and oil industry to prevent the hearings.

In any case, at this point they are estimating that the New York EPA hearing will take place in September.

Is the NY Moratorium on Hydrofracking Enough?

There was a brief moment of jubilation last week after the New York State Senate overwhelmingly voted to pass the moratorium on issuing permits for hydrofracking until May 2011. It was the first victory in what has already been a 2-year fight to educate the public on the perils of hydrofracking, and to prevent this unregulated, risky, and deadly form of gas extraction from taking place in New York.

The party was short lived. Last Thursday, David Sager (candidate for the 42nd district senate seat in NY) held a press conference at the Monticello Government Center to say, essentially, that this very short moratorium is the absolute LEAST that the senate could have done to protect our water, our environment, our health, and our infrastructure. Hydrofracking is essentially industrial mining, he said, and it needs to be treated as such. This bill doesn't even begin to address the real issues surrounding hydrofracking in NY. Mr. Sager is calling for new legislation to protect Sullivan County, which is the epicenter of the proposed 85,000 wells. He wants legislation that would support a ban until such time as:
- the national Frack Act is passed
- the current EPA study is analyzed
- a true cumulative impact study is performed
- there are appropriate treatment plants for the toxic wastewater
- there is adequate manpower for the regulation of the 80,000+ wells
- windfall taxes are in place to support the infrastructure
- there is support for home rule
- attention is paid to "compulsory integration" (meaning, those of us whose water supplies would be affected even if we don't sign leases)
- attention is paid to farmers who can't currently earn enough money to support their work; signing leases for hydrofracking should not be their only alternative.

Mr. Sager then turned over the microphone to Wendy Robinson of S.A.C.R.E.D, who said that this bill, although it's a step in the right direction, is purely symbolic.

Following Ms. Robinson was Bruce Ferguson of Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy, who is leading the way in lobbying efforts in Albany. So far, only 36 property owners in Sullivan County, out of 70,000 residents, have signed leases.

The last speaker of the day was Wes Gillingham of Catskillmountainkeeper.org, who applauded the state senate for passing the moratorium bill. He urged that hydrofracking should be the most important issue in elections this year.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

EPA Hearings in NY: August 12th

For any people who care to take the stand in front of the EPA regarding their experiences with hydrofracking, the big day is August 12th. The EPA wants to hear information that relates to key study elements:

* data & information on impacts
* chemical fate & transport issues
* case studies (site-specific nominations are welcome)
* monitoring needs pre, during, post drilling
* issues of well integrity

They are also interested in resources from organizations, and should be encouraged to use citizen-based science/data gathered on the ground.

For registration information, please go to

For more information on the meetings, visit:

Each person will get 2 minutes to speak, and if you can make it you really should, since the "other" side will do their best to fill the auditorium with loud, pro-drilling voices.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Extremes

Good news first, I guess. Today, July 28 2010, the United Nations voted to make Fresh Water a basic human right. I think this is a grand statement, and although (the last I heard) the US was set to OPPOSE this measure, I think it recognizes the importance of fresh water to the sustenance of all life on earth, and the fragility of this particularly important resource.

Such recognition is surely due, since here in New York our state government seems completely unaware of how precious water really is and too incompetent to protect it.

It should be stated that Hydrofracking is something that's been going on for many years. Why haven't we heard of it before it got to New York? Because those who sign leases are under a gag order; legally bound to keep silent, no matter what. I'm not sure how Josh Fox got those people to demonstrate flames leaping from water in his movie Gasland, but I sure do hope that those citizens will not suffer too horribly for their bravery in standing up to the Hydrofracking corporations and all of their layers of minions. (read: Helliburton)

Hydrofracking has become an issue in NY State because we have all the resources of New York City. We have Pete Seeger. And, New York has people with money who can afford to say "Hell No!" and do everything possible to prevent this disaster from happening.

That's why, suddenly, people are beginning to pay attention. It's a kind of snowball effect.

Which is a good thing, because New York is not the end of the line, by any means. There is gas under Europe - and as soon as they're finished fracking us, they'll frack Paris, and Stuttgart, and Barcelona too. Then North Africa, then.....

All because we continue to demand fossil fuels for our energy, our transportation, and our barbeques.

Recently I took a trip to the Gulf to see how the Great Oil Spill was affecting people's lives down there (enough people are already talking about the marine life). I found a real sad story. The oil was hitting as we drove by - the Florida Panhandle, the Alabama cost, the Mississippi Delta, Lake Ponchartrain. It was the 4th of July weekend, and the very last hurrah of people enjoying watersports and the beaches. But, there just weren't that many people. A few waitresses I spoke to along the way said that tourism was down by half compared to last year. In New Orleans, the Essence Music Festival was happening over the weekend so there was some vibrant tourism going on - but on Monday, it was empty. Unbelievably, achingly, empty.

We had the great fortune to meet a couple in the French Quarter on the 4th of July, when my son befriended their dog. It turns out, the woman grew up just 10 miles from where I live, so they very graciously invited us in for drinks, and we talked for hours. Her husband is Cajun, he talked to us about how that lifestyle on the bayous is going to be destroyed by the oil spill. She told me that the people of New Orleans have a cast iron will - they'll get through anything - but this oil spill is so much worse than Katrina; it's a real test of that iron will. After Katrina, they could pick up a shovel and rebuild. But with the Oil Spill, they are at the mercy of multinational corporations who they just don't trust to get the job done right.

And that's exactly how I feel about hydrofracking in New York, or anywhere - these companies are getting away with murder. Literally. And we "little people" are so blindsided by their lies and manipulations that we don't know what's hit us until it's way, way WAY too late.

I'm making a movie now, about fresh water, which I hope to have finished in a month. Actually, it's a kind of public service message... but in any case, there needs to be a call to action that reaches the 4 corners of the Earth. We have to put pressure on our governments to say NO to these "too big to fail" companies who are destroying our habitat all in the name of profit.

I've heard a bit too much talk lately about moving to Mars, but I'm just not interested..... I love my rivers and streams, my lakes and ponds, my oceans and seas.... I love my fish and birds, salamanders and toads, deer and critters. I love Earth. I want to make Earth work; not throw it away like a used condom.

Ah well, at least the first biosphere on Mars won't be ready in my lifetime. But it sure would be nice to grow old without worrying about where the water is going to come from to brush my teeth and water my garden.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Off to find Real News about the Gulf Oil Spill

Tomorrow I leave for the South, where I will be interviewing people about how the Gulf Spill is affecting their lives. I may or may not have time and access to post as I go, but you can look forward to what I call "Real News" in the weeks ahead.

Happy 4th of July everyone! Remember to grill Carbon Neutral!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Getting Involved is What Matters

It's so easy to be disillusioned; disheartened; disenfranchised when you look this oily beast in the eye; they've got more money than the rest of the world combined. But tonight, I heard a few people say some things that put steam back in my sails and made me feel like I'm a part of something incredibly important.

The event was a fundraiser for David Sager, who is running for NY State Senate against a longtime, popular senator who has recently changed his tune from "Drill Baby Drill" to "Maybe Drill Next Year". And at first intro, most people say "Oh, he doesn't have a chance" and they write him off, even if they wish he could actually win.

But the reality is that Mr. Sager has the power of believers on his side; people who are fighting tooth and nail with him to prevent New York from becoming a disaster area; to lessen the painful burden of property taxes; and to deal with issues that have been ignored on the state level for too too long.

I felt fortunate to be in this room of people who are fighting so incredibly hard to protect New York. People who have taught me everything I know about hydrofracking... people who know how to make waves, who are well-connected, and who's passion and love for this area is overflowing.

Mark Ruffalo, the actor, was in attendance tonight and in his short speech he said about disheartened people, "Obviously they're not writing enough letters to their senators". What a great get-off-your-behind call to action! And he's perfectly right. It's a simple, fast thing that anyone can do and it makes a tremendous difference!

When David Sager got up to talk he said that his campaign may not be well-financed like his opponent's; but he's on the side of "right", and he's got the "right" people behind him. Looking around the room at the array of people, I had to agree with him. Maybe, in this case, Right Makes Might.

I listened to a man who talked about puttiong his money into creating a farm powered by renewable energy, and about how excited he is for the future of his young son. There was lots of conversation about how to link up the fight against carbon to the renewable energy industry; how to expand the coalitions of the grassroots behind a unified voice.

And may people talked about Wind power - how it's so successful some places, and yet we're doing so little with it when we have such great wind resources.

So .... there is an army of people working tirelessly to save our habitat. Really extraordinary people; not drones. You don't have to feel alone or helpless in this fight.... just do whatever you can to make a difference, and think of all the other people out there who are doing the same.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

What is Carbon Negativity?

When you use carbon (ie, oil, coal, gas) you're called "Carbon Positive". People who are carbon positive drive cars, use oil for heat, propane for hot water and grilling, etc. When you don't use any carbon, you're called "Carbon Neutral". These tend to be people who live in net-zero homes, it's a very new concept. And, when you don't use carbon but offset it with renewable energy, you're called "Carbon Negative".

There's an island in Denmark which produces 150% the energy it needs, and sells back that extra 50% (of completely renewable energy) to the grid, netting $6 million per year. For a community of 4,500 people, that's not bad income!!! $1,333 per person per year to be exact.

Why isn't the US leading the pack in Carbon Negativity? It's not like we lack the resources, or the technology, or the manpower... why are we dying a slow, painful death of carbon overload when we could be doing the exact opposite? Like this tiny little community of Danish farmers?

It's time to get yourself off oil. And gas, and everything in between. I have a consultation business in which I help people to live more sustainably, and I can help you change simple things in your life to tread more softly on the earth. Please visit http://www.worldlyvibe.com/sustainability.html.

Isn't it time to change?

The picture above is of a Windmill Expanse in Andalusia, Spain. It's owned and operated by a German energy company, who brings the energy back to Germany. Not ideal - but a start. And that's what we need - someone with the guts to just start the process of changing our reality from a carbon-based energy system to a renewable energy system.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Can You Commit to Change?

Every person I talk to about the Gulf Oil Spill is just sick to their stomach. Horrified; despondent; at their wits end. To me, the back room deals between the regulators and the oil companies and the 3rd party outfitters (Read: Halliburton) are an example of the grandest theft our country has ever seen. Theft of our heritage; our economy; our natural resources. We all ask, "When will this end?" and yet .... nothing changes.

Just the other day, 6 weeks into the oil spill, there was a horrific hydrofracking accident in Pennsylvania which spilled ONE MILLION GALLONS of toxic, deadly hydrofracking fluid into the environment. It was reported in the local paper and that's it! Not a mention in any significant publications. Unthinkable irresponsibility on the part of the media, which of course is the norm.

Right now is a time to stand up and commit to yourself, your family, your country, that you will make a change. Switch from oil to wood heat. Trade your SUV for a Prius. Build a wood-burning BBQ pit. Stop using plastic. Talk to people... engage them in the fight. We have to take individual responsibility to reduce our fossil fuel usage NOW!!

I have been putting some time in helping a candidate for the New York Senate race who's main concern is how Hydrofracking will destroy our beloved state. His name is David Sager and he's running against John Bonacic in the 42nd district (who is pro-drilling). If you can imagine Barack Obama before he entered the senate, you might have a good impression of David - He's pure, he's got game, and his idealism is infectious! I urge you to visit his web site or Facebook page and catch him at any one of many events he'll be attending this year during his senate run.

It really IS time for change. Let's vote these fools out and usher in a new chapter of American history!!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

How Hydrofracking Works

I'm noticing more and more people taking a look at hydrofracking and what it will do to our beautiful Catskill mountains when (IF????) it happens. So here is a synopsis of how it has worked in Pennsylvania and other states:

One large gas company (Cabot, Chesapeake, etc) buys up leases on private land (or public, of the county administration is that gullible).

Once the state government issues the permits to drill, the gas company then subcontracts with drilling companies, construction companies, hauling companies, and cleanup companies, who bring in their teams from other parts of the country. (There are no local hires, and these teams live in what's called "Man Camps"; think prostitution, gambling, excessive alcohol and drug use).

Roads are built, forests are cleared, wellpads are built. Millions and millions of industrial-sized trucks will come in and out during the process, choking the air and ripping up our infrastructure.

These teams do their work, having no connection whatsoever to the place where they are working. If you search "frack dance" on YouTube you will find out what the Halliburton guys do during the day.

It becomes a process of industrialization, which destroys farmland, forests, schoolyards, hilltops, wetlands.... where ever they have a lease and permit, they drill.

They are issued permits to draw water for hydrofracking from local aquifers, lakes and streams. Each frack of a well uses 6 million gallons of water, and each well can be fracked up to 6 times. They are currently estimating 50,000 wells in NY state.

(I guess, who cares if they contaminated the water? There won't be any left for us anyway!)

When a water well is contaminated, or stream, or river, or lake, forever rendering it lethal - the gas company throws up their hands and says, "Hey, it wasn't ME! I subcontracted that job!" and the subcontract company throws up their hands and says, "Hey, I'm just doing my job, don't blame me!" And if that water well happens to be on the property of someone who didn't want hydrofracking in the first place, well, that's called "Collateral Damage". Sorry, Charlie!

After they've fracked the well as much as possible, they cap the well and leave the fracking fluid in a plastic-lined "pond", to evaporate and poison the air over time. 30% of the fracking fluid is left in the ground.

What does the fracking fluid contain? Carcinogens. Mutagens. Neurotoxins. and other highly poisonous, lethal elements.

Finally, what happens to that "Clean" gas? The Answer to America's Energy Independence Needs? Oh, right - it gets sold overseas! Bigger profits that way!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

David Sager for NY State Senate

Today in Monticello, in front of a large audience David Sager of Jeffersonville announced his intention to run for State Senate against John Bonacic. In the past year, Mr. Sager switch his affiliation from the Republican Party to the Democratic party, for reasons unrelated to this race.

In his speech, he noted his intentions to be a strong sponsor of legislature to address the following issues: Help end the disfunction of state government; Lower state and local taxes; Break the status quo in Albany; Enforce fiscal responsibility; Proceeding with gas drilling based on scientific evidence only; and Political ethics reform.

He believes that our district is an important link to NYC. To this end, he envisions revitalizing this district as a "green belt", leading the way with green technology.

He expressed strongly that religious organizations with large tracts of land who use local resources should pay for those services by taxation.

He clearly understands the concept of sustainability, and wants to make it easier for people to live more sustainably.

In a short conversation with him after the speech, I found a calm, intelligent, experienced man (he is currently County Legislator) who grew up in Sullivan county and knows exactly what we need to move forward. I wish him all the best!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Excellent Resource for NY Hydrofracking Current Events


A series of audios exploring the effects of hydrofracking on our water supplies. Well worth a listen!!

Also, on April 7 and 8, the EPA will be holding an advisory meeting in Washington DC concerning their Hydraulic Fracturing Research Plan.


Any public organizations are encouraged to make a statement.

Monday, March 29, 2010

EPA is studying the effects of Hydrofracking on Fresh Water

For anyone who's interested in learning what the federal government is doing at this time, here it is:


Hopefully, the Frack Act will start passing through Congress and stop this madness before it begins.

I heard recently - from Josh Fox, actually in the interview on PBS (he created "Gasland"), that it is not 10,000 wells that are planned, but more like 50,000 or 60,000 in NYState. It's so absurd as to be almost funny....

Gotta cut this one short....

More later!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

All the Good News!!

I'm so excited!

There's lots of rumbling on the national level about Hydrofracking. It's not just a NY issue; it's not just a Marcellus issue; it's not just a natural gas issue! There are actual plans to hydrofrack for OIL in the Dakotas and Montana now.

So, now to the good news:

Last week, on St. Patrick's Day, President Obama made a public statement that any company that wants to drill for gas or oil should disclose the ingredients used in the hydrofracking fluid.

Just from today's news in the Washington Post: "A federal judge has approved a first-of-its-kind settlement requiring the government to suspend 38,000 acres of oil and gas leases in Montana so it can gauge how oil field activities contribute to climate change."

That's GREAT!

Plus, the EPA now has $1.5 million to do a national survey of the cumulative impact of hydrofracking!! This is EXCELLENT news!!

In Sullivan County, last week the legislature voted unanimously to ban drilling on public lands. That's a strong show of what we think of hydrofracking in this county!

For those of you in NYC who are interested in attending public forums on drinking water protection, there is an important event coming up:

April 1: John Jay College (Gerald W. Lynch Theater) 899 10th Avenue @ 59th Street, from 7 - 9:30 pm. Several speakers will talk about the effect of Hydrofracking for gas in the NYC watershed.

The tide is turning. Now that the Healthcare bill has passed, the Senate will open up to do other work, and we hope that the Frack Act will come to the forefront soon!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

All kinds of ways to be involved

Perhaps there's never been a better time for making a difference in our world. I think I've said that before - but I'm sure it's been in the last year! If you are connected at all, you will hear about people taking action in so many different ways, and I am finding it so inspiring!

Yesterday I attended the first meeting of a group called "Women United for Sustainable Technologies" (www.we-must.com) in Honesdale, PA. Although the people who attended this first meeting are all "activated" by the threats to our environment from hydrofracking, the issue is much more broad than this single issue. Sustainable technologies are the future of our survival, and it is fundamentally true that digging for oil and gas are not included in that list!

It's a great time to take national action on this issue. If you are interested in learning more, or participating in any way, please visit their website to learn what you can do. The next meeting is scheduled for April 17, 2010.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

What Do Americans Really Know?

After talking to people at the library and the school and the supermarket and other general meeting places, I am coming to the conclusion that most people have zero idea about what's happening in the environment around them.

I compare this to when I was a kid in the '70s, and I think there was more awareness back then… and the education of the American citizens actually led to a big cleanup of rivers, parks, forests, etc.

But now, something different is going on. Maybe there's too much information, leading to an information overload. Maybe the chemical companies are doing a stellar job at advertising. Maybe people are numbed by what they're seeing on TV and in the movies. Life is hard right now, and I guess some people just don't want to expend energy on anything else aside from just surviving.

Compared to other first world countries around the world, Americans are not informed. The wool is being pulled over our collective eyes, and it's very hard to understand what the end game is. Our bodies are full of horrific toxins, we're addicted to a sedentary lifestyle, and what most people consider to be "news" is actually laser-crafted propaganda. Our country is completely fractured between the right and the left, and we're headed toward a bleak-looking future.

Corporate interests have taken over our government.

What does this mean? It means we have very little food choices compared to just 30 years ago. For those who pay attention and want to eat non-chemical food, the choices are almost nothing. For the rest, it means their bodies are being polluted by horrific chemicals without their knowledge. The head of the USDA, Tom Vilsack, is an advocate of industrial agriculture business, Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), and has always supported big business over local farmers who have tried to protect their own crops from cross-pollination with GMOs.

It means that our health care system is completely corrupt, even with this "change" that seems to be happening right now. Whatever bill passes into law will be more for the benefit of the health insurance companies and pharmaceutical firms, than for the citizens, because they are so powerful in government. If there are 40 million citizens who are now without healthcare, how do you think big business will profit if those people are forced to pay monthly premiums??? 40 million X an off-the-cuff figure of $400 per month = $16 billion extra per month!

In New York right now we are dealing with the oil and gas industries, who want to come in, industrialize our landscape, poison our water, in order to make trillions of dollars in profits. There is no attention paid to the fact that our fresh water supply is extremely limited, and that in reality, our water is much more precious than any gas to be extracted. There is no thought to the future of our standard of living. There is about to be huge scale hydrofracking for oil in the Dakotas soon, so this is not just a NY issue. No concern for global warming or renewable energy.

Everything in this century is about corporate profit. Our government is owned by big business, and the president and congress are literally hog-tied because of the huge financial investment that big business has in the government.

In a way, it's pretty simple to see what has happened since Reagan. Regulations were removed, companies did whatever they wanted to do, and now we're dealing with these huge companies that are "too big to fail" which essentially means that they're too big to bust apart, and too big to say "No" to.

And yet, despite these realities, I continue to fight for non-toxic products for my family, for clean fresh water and air. I'm still an idealist who hopes that we can turn it around and gain back control of our future.

What are your thoughts?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Kudos to Catskill Mountainkeeper

When I first moved to the Catskills in 2008, one of the first people I met was Ramsay Adams, founder of the Catskill Mountainkeeper. He and Wes Gillingham took a few minutes out of their day to introduce me to some of the issues facing the area, of which hydrofracking was high on the list.

Their research, education, organization and dissemination of information on the subject of hydrofracking in New York has been absolutely top notch, and because of their work, many other community-sponsored organizations have come to life in the Marcellus Shale area. The fundamental concept of keeping our pure water pure is at the heart of every statement, every lecture, every press release.

Wes Gillingham has been EVERYWHERE there has been a Hydrofracking conversation, and his intelligence, eloquence, passion and humor has given thousands upon thousands of people a real voice. Wes, you're a giant, and not just in height!

I just want to give these guys, and this organization, a huge THANK YOU for your tireless efforts and courage! The work you're doing is consummate, and VERY appreciated by so many people around the state!!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Panel on Gas Drilling, March 8, 2010 SUNY New Paltz

After the high emotions and uber-packed auditoriums of the DEC's community-based forums of Fall '09, tonight's Forum on the Future of Gas Drilling in New York State was relaxed, with an engaged crowd ranging from my 6 year old son to college students to concerned grandparents.

Presented by Jonathan Schein, of Schein Media, the forum was presented as a means of educating residents about the issues surrounding Hydraulic Fracturing (otherwise known as Hydrofracking, or fracking) to "liberate" natural gas from the Marcellus Shale formation in New York state, so that they can make an informed decision regarding the security of New York's energy, environmental, and economic future.

Noting that only .1% of the energy produced in 2009 came from Solar Energy, Mr. Schein pointed out that it might be two to three decades before renewable energy becomes a truly viable alternative to fossil fuels. However, he failed to mention hydropower, a huge resource in New York state, biomass, wind, or other forms of renewable energy.

His first question to the panel was, "Where does the leadership come from?" concerning hydofracking in New York.

Stuart Gruskin of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) responded that Governor Paterson has already said, "Think First, Drill Later" and to this end, the DEC is taking it's time to consider all potentially damaging aspects of hydrofracking. It is a scientific issue, not a political issue. New York State has a great reputation for protecting its environment, and that will not change.

Mr. Schein's second question was, "Is the Draft Supplemental good enough?" (The Draft Supplemental, aka "dSGEIS" is an 800 page document produced by the DEC in October 2009 which was supposed to set the standards for Hydrofracking in New York)

Scott Rotruck, VP of Chesapeake Energy, said that these forums have been imperative conversations in protecting the environment, and that drilling will be successful because of the process.

Kate Sinding, Senior Attorney for Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), responded that because of New York's unique position concerning its environmental review process, we have the opportunity to take our time examining and managing the risks before the first drill goes in the ground. The dSGEIS has significant gaping holes, and New York is legally required to fill in those holes before drilling.

Wes Gillingham of Catskill Mountainkeeper said that we need to realize that hydrofracking will be the industrialization of our landscape, and this inherently is an unstable process. Having looked around the country at how the regulatory process has been dealt with, he found only circular reasoning which benefits the gas industry. Cumulative Impact (the effect on infrastructure, public health, and the environment) may be difficult to predict, but we cannot afford to take a chance with it.

James Gennaro, Chairman of the New York City Council Environmental Protection Committee,
commented that truly, hydrofracking should be federally regulated.

Mr. Gruskin of the NYDEC responded to these criticisms by saying "that permits will only be issued when drilling will enhance and enliven both private property owners, the public, and the environment. The sDGEIS was designed as a context for environmentalists to come back to us and guide us. The DEC understands that they are beholden both to the laws, and the public acceptance standard. What's great about New York State, is that it has the ability to go above and beyond what the federal standards are in many different contexts. For instance, we can require that the drilling adhere to the Safe Drinking Water Act. There is a real need to be cautious, and it's early to say that the sDGEIS has failed."

Mr. Schein's third question concerned a major divide between upstate and downstate residents, concerning the rights of landowners in the NYC watershed to drill on their property.

Councilman Gennaro replied that the reality is, that these people are living in an area that provides water to 9,000,000 people. It is the only unfiltered water supply in the country that has any development whatsoever. Residents who want to drill need to respect that they are living in this unique situation.

Mr. Gruskin responded, saying that 70% of the NYC watershed is owned privately, and the state owns 4x as much land as NYC. The DEC expends great energy trying to make sure that the watershed is preserved. From the DEC's perspective, there are 2 things that need to be addressed: 1) how to develop a protocol to protect water from contamination, and 2) make a complete study of the effects of industrialization. The DEC has to take into consideration the people who own private land in the watershed as well as NYC.

Mr. Rotruck mentioned that Chesapeake Energy holds the only rights to drilling in the NYC watershed, and promised that his company would not drill in the NYC watershed, as "a business decision". He talked about how hydrofracking is the least intrusive way of obtaining energy. (However, he consistently refuses to address Chesapeake Energy's policy's on Cumulative Impact.)

Wes Gillingham stated that the important reality to remember about this whole conversation, is that it's about communities trying to take control of their health and safety. For instance, In Onondoga County, they have voted to ban drilling in their own watershed, and have petitioned Governor Paterson to ban drilling in their county.

Kate Sinding deviated from the question, and stated that there is still no mention of renewables in Chesapeake's conversation, or Wastewater or Cumulative Impact. Wastewater is heavily contaminated with NORM (naturally occurring radioactive materials), heavy metals, biological contaminants, and whatever chemicals are injected to begin with. Toxicologists call it the the “worst water ever seen” and it is generated in massive quantities. Something has to be done with it. How and where will it be treated?

Finishing the forum was Congressman Maurice Hinchey of the 22nd District of New York, who is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and the House Natural Resources Committee. He has served 30 years in office.

Congressman Hinchey educated us about a 2004 study by the Department of the Interior, the results of which "proved" that it is not necessary for gas drillers to disclose the chemicals they use to drill. The subsequent 2005 Energy Policy Act altered the Safe Drinking Water Act to exclude this industry from culpability. The purpose of this was to speed up the drilling process, and make it more profitable.

Mr. Hinchey is not opposed to drilling, as long as it is safe and secure. It needs vigorous oversight and regulations to protect the environment and public health.

The toxic chemicals in fracking water include agents which are toxic to human health, via water and air. The sDGEIS does not even begin to address this toxicity, as the DEC failed to conduct the required analysis. Consequently, this document should not be approved by the governor.

"We need to hold the gas industry accountable for its drilling practices," he said. To this end, he co-authored the The American Clean Energy and Security Act (aka the Frack Act), which would require Hydrofracking to be federally regulated, and would require drilling companies to disclose the chemicals used in Fracking water. This bill passed the House of Representatives in June, 2009, but is awaiting the floor in the Senate.

Mr. Hinchey strongly believes that the federal government should be increasing its investments and incentives for clean technologies, as he has been doing in New York. He estimates that he will have created 1,000 new jobs by the end of 2011 in the area of renewable energy.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


An interactive town hall meeting to discuss pros and cons of drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale deposits will feature U.S. Congressman Maurice Hinchey as well as New York City, New York State, and gas industry representatives.

The event will take place Monday, March 8 from 5:45 to 8:00pm
on the SUNY New Paltz campus.

The event features a panel discussion between James Gennaro, chairman of the New York City Council Environmental Protection Committee, Kate Sinding, senior attorney for Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), David Spigelmyer, vice president of government relations for Chesapeake Energy, Stuart Gruskin, executive deputy commissioner, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), and Wes Gillingham, program director, CatskillMountainkeeper. ScheinMedia founder and CEO Jonathan A. Schein will serve as a moderator of the panel.

The panel discussion will be followed by a town hall forum for the audience to pose questions for the speakers and a closing keynote by U.S. Congressman Maurice Hinchey.


Parking: Use Lot 2 for Lecture Center, located on the western edge of the campus off Fairview Ave. From intersection of Rte. 299/32 and Rte. 208, turn south on Rte. 208, then turn left (east) onto Hasbrouck Ave., turn right onto Tricor Ave., turn left onto Mohonk Ave. and finally right onto Fairview Ave. Alternately, park at Sojourner Truth Library lot. Visit: www.newpaltz.edu/map for campus map.

For further information about this event, contact Paul McGinniss at greenadvocate@scheinmedia.com or (845) 626-2999.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Email from Mayor Tillman of Dish TX

Unfortunately I was sick in bed on Saturday, and unable to hear Mayor Tillman speak in Calicoon, but his email kind of says it all! I look forward to meeting him next time around!

- Meg

From: tillman4council@
Sent: Tuesday, February 23, 2010 11:20 PM
Subject: My new friends in the Marcellus.

As I return from almost a full week touring the Marcellus, I reflect on all the people I met for the first time. Many of these people had spoke via phone or email with me on several occasions; however, most had never met me in person. These folks welcomed me into their homes as though I was a lifelong friend or family member, not a complete stranger, who lived thousands of miles away. I was impressed with the genuine values that my new friends possessed. I could not begin to try to thank everyone individually, so I will just say thank you to everyone I met on this trip.
Although I was invited, and a few worked extremely hard coordinating my packed schedule, this really was a vacation for me. My new friends just gave me a reason to see this new land, like I had not seen it before. It had been burning inside of me to see how other gas shale plays were being accepted, and if the companies acted better there than they did here in DISH, TX. Although, I spoke at a dozen events during this tour, meeting new people and sharing their experiences was the real joy.
It was purely amazing at how many people traveled across snow-packed roads, and got up early on Saturday morning to let me share our story. Also, there were dozens of public officials who opened their minds to listen to me speak. During five days of speaking, almost 2,000 people came to hear the story of DISH, TX. What further amazed me was that no matter where the event, the seats were full. Whether, the church in Oneonta, school in Downsville, or the movie theater in Elmira, the seats were pretty much full, all the way until my last talk in Callicoon, that was standing room only. It amazes me, that this many people came to share our stories. The crowds continued to grow, and I reached almost 1,000 people on Saturday alone. What was even more amazing was that even those who did not share my views were respectful and courteous. Some of my friends in the industry had went to great lengths to create a hostile environment for me in the Marcellus, and that simple did not happen. Even those who asked the hard questions, which I welcomed, were respectful.
I was further impressed by the convictions of my new friends to their cause. Many had turned down the opportunity for vast fortunes, and chose not to climb into to bed with the energy company landman. When approached with these prospects, they simply said "no". I am not sure that I have ever met such a large group of unselfish people in my life. Willing to forgo money to hang on to their way of life. I am not sure how to describe the respect I now have for my new friends.
My main purpose for this trip was to let people know that there was more to natural gas exploration than a signing bonus, and a monthly royalty check. It had been my hope to allow folks to make a decision with their eyes wide open, not their eyes wide shut. I think there were many that began to think about this for the first time after listening to the story of the town that was sacrificed for the good of the shale. There are some that will never listen, and only look for the one thing that can give them a reason to say "it won't happen here". For those, it would not have mattered what I would have said, their minds would not be clouded with the facts, it was already made up.
Another reason for wanting to take this tour, was to see for my own eyes how others were being affected by the shale boom. I have been trying to get stricter regulations here in TX and urged my new friends in the Marcellus to pursue the same. If this extraction of natural gas is going to take place, it must be tightly regulated. However, some of my new friends don't believe that it is possible to perform this safely, even with the tightest regulations. After visiting Dimock, PA, it was hard to argue with their logic. I got to meet the lady whose water well exploded, and tears filled my eyes when I heard the story told by another lady whose children would get sick after drinking the water from their once clean water well. I saw the tainted water from another poisoned well, and frankly, was not prepared for the emotions felt when we delivered fresh water to a family that had been refused this right by the drilling company. Some were getting water delivered by the company who poisoned the water, but a few were denied one of the simple rights that we should all expect as hard working Americans. Cabot Oil and Gas, has essentially turned this small neighborhood into a third world country, and won't even show those they are poisoning the courtesy of delivering water to them. These families would have surely been better off, if the shale had passed them by.
In DISH we have dealt with the air toxins, but unfortunately we have not given the water much thought. There certainly have been issues with water here in the Barnett Shale, but nothing like water wells exploding. However, that does not mean that we do not have water quality issues, it just means we don't know it if we do. No one knew six months ago that we had toxic levels of chemicals in the air surrounding several natural gas wells and production facilities, and therefore, we should think about our water here as well. This trip made me think about issues that I not previously thought about, and that was the greatest gift I received.
I have never been to a place where I received such a warm reception, and on some days I was passed through several people. By the end of the week, you would have thought, I had lived there my entire life. I even got to see the local hero Josh Fox, who put me in his now famous documentary GasLand. Some even went as far as to declare that I had been adopted as their own mayor. And though I missed my family something terrible, I was saddened to have to leave such a clean and beautiful place, and return to the dirty ole town. I can now see why my new friends want to maintain their clean air and clean water, and I hope to help them do it. I am glad to announce that I will be returning to the Marcellus Shale in April, to complete my tour, and see my new friends again. Thanks again for accepting that crazy mayor from Texas into you homes and lives. I hope it was a good for you as it was for me. Please post this on your blogs or pass on to your mailing groups.

Calvin Tillman
Mayor, DISH, TX
(940) 453-3640

"Those who say it can not be done, should get out of the way of those that are doing it"

Sign the Petition to Ban Drilling in New York State

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Effects of Gas Drilling in Dish, TX Live: Feb 20th

This Saturday, come on out to the Delaware Youth Center in Calicoon, NY. There will be a discussion with Mayor Tillman of Dish TX at 4pm.

Delaware Youth CenterAddress:‎
8 Creamery Road
Callicoon, NY 12723
(845) 887-5155

Thursday, February 4, 2010

January Action is STRONG!

On Monday, January 25th, about 600 anti-hydrofracking activists marched on the Capital Building in Albany to let Governor Paterson know that we are not about to stand by idly while the environment around us is destroyed. Several prominent politicians made their voices heard in harmony with ours, and in the afternoon about 300 of us lobbied state senators on the issue. The group I took part in was successful in helping to convince Senator Onorato from Queens to support S6244 which would regulate gas drilling in NY State.

What is S6244?

--It prohibits drilling within the NYC watershed, or within five miles of its boundary;
--It prohibits drilling within the Delaware River watershed or in any area where groundwater contributes a significant base flow to surface water sources of drinking water;
--It mandates that drilling shall be conducted in ways that do not contaminate drinking water wells; if contamination does occur, presumption shall be that the drilling is responsible for contamination unless convincing evidence shows otherwise;
-- It mandates that hydraulic fracturing materials must be disclosed;
-- It offers protection to other environmental and local resources;
-- It mandates that all groundwater withdrawals of more than 5,000 gallons a day for drilling purposes require a permit from the Department of Environmental Conservation and that withdrawal levels will not harm stream ecology or fishery resources;
-- It provides for regulation of permits and offenders of permits which must be monitored.

These are strong environmental standards that we truly need for the protection of our water, ecosystem, and wildlife. Please write to your senator and ask him or her to support S6244 as well!!

Also, there is a new hotline for anyone who witnesses hydrofracking mishaps or questionable practices:

You can email eyesondrilling@epa.gov, or call (877) 919-4EPA

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Very Sad Story

There is a valley in Pennsylvania that was absolutely destroyed this past year by Cabot Oil and Gas, who made a horrible mistake and some of the fracking sludge got into the water table. It killed everything it touched - plants, water wildlife, and anything that came in contact with the water. It had previously been one of the most bio-diverse ecological systems in the entire state.

Well, the people who have been affected by this disaster have fought long and hard to hold on to their homes. They've had water delivered to their homes and have dealt with the toxic air quality.

Cabot was only able to drill vertical wells at Dimock, which are not as effective at extracting the gas. So now they've brought in 20 'mini-compressors' to help with the extraction process. The noise from the compressors is so loud, it's like standing next to a very loud blender on full power, and they run 24/7.

The people of Dimock realize they have lost their battle, and will have to leave their homes.

It's a very, very sad story. My heart goes out to you brave, brave people who have fought so hard!!!!

PLEASE Help Protect New York from this fate!!!!!!! Call your state senator and representative and them them this story!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Gas Drilling Debate is Really Heating Up!

A lot of great stuff has happened in just the past few weeks.

Perhaps most importantly, the E.P.A issued a dire warning to NY State, saying, hydrofracking "would affect public health and the environment, and urged (NY) to undertake a broader study of the potential impact." You can read the full article here: EPA Advice to NY State

This past Monday, January 22nd, there was a well-attended rally in Albany to let our state government know that we oppose drilling. Even in the pouring rain, over 600 people converged to listen to a wide array of speakers, including legislators, who were eloquent and passionate. In the afternoon, about 300 of us lobbied senators to create a sense of urgency about the issue. There was some good press, but perhaps not quite enough. I know I learned a lot from the people who joined me from all across New York State. You can watch a video of the rally here: Albany Rally

One of the places that would be destroyed if hydrofracking were to go forward is Ithaca, perhaps one of the prettiest towns in NY. I just cannot wrap my head around the concept that the gas companies think it's okay to destroy an entire culture with their industrialization and pollution!

There was recently an article in the Wall Street Journal concerning hydrofracking in Louisiana, with a statement by Rex Tillerson (Exxon Chairman and Chief Executive): "We can now find and produce unconventional natural-gas supplies miles below the surface in a safe, efficient and environmentally responsible manner." This is an example of the extent to which the gas companies are willing to lie to get what they want. There is nothing that is environmentally responsible about forcing millions upon millions of gallons of toxic sludge into the earth, having the gas hauled off by tens of thousands of 100-ton diesel-spewing trucks, and leaving the toxic sludge in "ponds" to evaporate into the air.

In all fairness, the article also listed some of the results of toxic accidents.

I also learned from the Chief of the Onandoga (Iroquois) Tribe that the water under New York State represents ONE QUARTER of all the fresh water in the US!! ONE QUARTER!! And they want to destroy that to get gas? NO! THAT IS BY ALL DEFINITIONS TERRORISM!!

If all of us do not raise our voice in unison, we will lose our homes. Please contact your state senator and representative - who will be in their home districts during winter break - and let them know that you want to keep your water, your air, and your environment safe from hydrofracking!!!!

Love and Light -

Sustain the World

Friday, January 22, 2010

Day of Action in Albany - MONDAY!

This Monday at 10:30 am, there will be a rally in Albany to protest the proposed Hydrofracking in New York State. Hundreds of concerned citizens will converge to tell our politicians that we are not interested in losing our water to the gas companies. In the afternoon, groups of us will meet with legislators to drive home the important points surrounding this issue.

Of course, the gas industry got wind of it and will have their own rally at the same time. And since they have money, we assume it will be well-attended.

But we think that our rally will be better, as all of us are chipping in for the cost of the rally and taking this day out of our lives to make an important point.

If you can join us, we will be at the State building. There will be many speakers and a fabulous sense of comeraderie!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Loud Noise from New York

So, it's the new year.... the time for public comments is over... and we have absolutely no clue what Governor Patterson is going to do about hydrofracking in NY States Marcellus Shale.

For now, Absolute Silence from Albany. Except for the fact that legistators, activist and concerned citizens from all over the state have teamed up as a unified voice against the deeply flawed Draft Supplemental put forth by the DEC last year. If Albany thought that we were going to just disappear because they've closed the comment period, they have another thing coming.

I had a couple responses to my youtube commentary (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0d8hJzanUh0) from people who have had the WORST possible experiences with leasing their land.... one person had a well blow up while the drillers were out to lunch; another's house was condemned after the water started igniting in his kitchen. (Both people had to remove their comments because of fear of retaliation from the gas companies.)

I was just reading Nick Christof's blog today in the NYTimes about Costa Rica, which has made it's environment an absolute priority. Environment and education, which go hand in hand to creating a sustainable future for all. Consequently, Costa Rica is one of the happiest countries on earth!

What we're looking at here, concerning hydrofracking, is negligence of the highest order. Instead of preserving what we have left - meaning water, environment, and natural beauty - profit trumps all. In Patterson's fantasy life, anyway. Because there's no way NY State can come out ahead financially, when it will have to built umpteen water filtration plants and entirely new delivery system; fix infrastructures that are destroyed by the unbelievable truck traffic; and deal with the rash of illnesses that are caused by the contamination of water and air during the hydrofracking process.

Life is already so complicated and difficult and harsh. The US does not even have the storage facilities for natural gas at this point in time. There are so many reasons to NOT drill right now with this technology!

Governor Patterson, take a deep breath, and think about what really, truly matters.