Next FLG Meeting, Wed., Nov. 26, 2014, 7:00 pm, telephone conference call.
Winter 2014 Elections
All current Sierra Club members are eligible to run for the Group ExCom and help organize our activities. We would like you to become active with us! Five candidates have been nominated by the Finger Lakes Group Nominating Committee for five open seats on the Finger Lakes Group ExCom.
Frank Potter, Big Flats
The Nominating Committee invited Club members to nominate themselves and urged qualified candidates to run. Petitions from petition candidates are due November 6, 2014. Click here for instructions. Click here to read the candidate statements. For general information about the election process, click here.
Winter 2014 Newsletter
Articles for the 2014 newsletter should be mailed to Newsletter Editor Erin Riddle by Oct. 30 at the above address or emailed to email@example.com. Questions about articles? Email or call Erin at 607-372-5503.
Winter 2013 Newsletter
Click here for a PDF copy of the Winter 2013 Group Newsletter.
Black Oak Wind Farm, by Marguerite Wells, Project Manager
Protecting Our Water: The New York Water Sentinels, by Bill Mattingly
Hard Water! by Gene Stolfi
Tell the DEC to Ban Radioactive Gas Drilling Waste
In spite of our successes to keep the drill rigs at bay in NY, tens of thousands of tons of radioactive drilling waste pour over the border every year from Pennsylvanian fracking sites into NY landfills, threatening public health and water quality.
There are two pending proceedings in which landfills in Allegany and Chemung counties are seeking to expand their capacity to take possibly radioactive Marcellus Shale drilling waste from Pennsylvania. Take action on each!
Tell the Chemung County Legislature to Consider the Impacts of Accepting Radioactive Waste in Chemung Landfill
The Chemung landfill is one of five landfills in New York currently accepting shale gas drilling wastes from Pennsylvania. In the past two years alone more than 300,000 tons of drilling fluid waste and cuttings have entered NY waste facilities according to data released by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. The Chemung County legislature is considering a draft EIS on a proposed expansion of the Chemung County landfill. The expansion will more than double the amount of waste accepted at the Chemung landfill to a total of 417,000 tons annually from its current limit of 180,000 tons of municipal solid waste and 20,500 tons of construction debris. See an article about the expansion in the Corning Leader. The landfill's 2012 annual report shows that all leachate from the landfill is taken to the Chemung County Sewer District Elmira Waste Water Treatment Plant . The Elmira WWRP discharges into the Chemung River, which is a primary aquifer.
As lead agency under SEQRA, the Chemung County legislature has an obligation under SEQRA to take a hard look at the environmental and health impacts of their proposed action. But instead of addressing radiation issues in the EIS, the legislature says on p. 12 of their Revised Final Scoping Document, that "issues relating to radiation, radon and/or acceptance of materials from the Marcellus" were not incorporated into the scoping document because they "were examined in a prior environmental review before the NYSDEC, and/or are not environmentally significant based on the composition of Marcellus shale waste materials that are currently being deposited at the landfill." In fact, radiation issues were raised at an earlier proceeding, but were not decided. See the Commissioner's ruling stating, "The ALJ concluded that issues concerning Marcellus Shale wastes are not relevant to a decision on the County's application to raise the maximum waste acceptance limit at the landfill (see Issues Ruling, at 38). I concur." In a SEQRA proceeding all relevant environmental and health issues are required to be considered.
Written comments on the Draft EIS will be accepted until 4:30 p.m. on March 4, 2014. Comments should be addressed to Linda Palmer, Clerk of the Chemung County Legislature, John H. Hazlett Building, 203 Lake Street, 5th Floor, Elmira, NY 14902-0588, Phone: (607) 737-2066. The DEIS and the scoping documents are posted at http://www.chemungcounty.com/index.asp?pageId=574 .
The Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter has prepared a form to make it easy to comment on the failure of the Chemung County legislature to consider radioactivity issues in the Draft EIS. Please share the link with your friends.
Tell the DEC to Ban Radioactive Gas Drilling Waste in the Hyland Landfill
There is a pending application before the DEC to expand the Hyland Landfill in the Town of Angelica in Allegany County, NY, dramatically increasing the amount of drilling waste this facility can accept. Send a message to the DEC telling them New York should not be PA's dumping ground!
The Hyland landfill is one of five landfills in New York currently accepting various types of shale gas drilling wastes from Pennsylvania according to data released by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP). Some have estimated that as much as 30% of Pennsylvania’s shale gas drilling waste is coming to New York. In the past two years alone more than 300,000 tons of drilling fluid waste and cuttings have entered NY waste facilities.
Incredibly, NYS DEC is allowing solid waste and C&D landfills in New York to accept this waste despite the fact that the black shales that underlie New York and Pennsylvania are known to contain uranium, radium, radon and other radioactive elements. None of New York's landfills are properly equipped to safely handle or dispose of this waste.
Tell the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to ban the dumping of gas drilling wastes in New York landfills, and study the environmental and public health impacts of this waste stream. Click here to send an online message to the DEC and Governor Cuomo.
Organizing A Chemung County Task Force
On October 3, 2013, an organizing meeting was held at the Steele Memorial Library in Elmira to form a Chemung County Task Force. The task force will join with other Sierra Club members in Chemung County to brainstorm ideas and goals for events and activities in order to "explore, enjoy and protect" our local environment and natural areas in Chemung County. For more information about the task force or the Sierra Club in general, contact Erin Riddle at 607-372-5503 or erin.riddle at sierraclub.org.
About the NY Sierra Club Water Sentinels Program
In April 2013, Bill Mattingly, the coordinator of the Painted Post (Steuben, Chemung, Allegany, Schuyler, Yates area) Water Sentinels Group of the NY Water Sentinels program gave two presentations about the program, one in Bath and one in Corning. A video of Bill's presentation in Bath is posted on YouTube.
Winter 2011 Newsletter
Organic and Robotic: An Alternative to Dairy Farm CAFOs by Patrick Brown
Liquid Fear: Creative Non-Fiction by Naomi Burnett
Empowered Documentary by Annie Koreman
Pipe Dreams? by Gene Stolfi
Overlooked Dangers of Drilling, by Gene Stolfi
Sierrans Have More Fun! by Jim Trondsen
Winter 2009 Newsletter
Grass Pellets as a Sustainable Home Heating Fuel, by Patrick Brown
Marcellus Shale —To Drill or Not To Drill? by Gene Stolfi
THE SAFE Center from My Perspective, by Gene Stolfi
Draft SGEIS on Gas Drilling
On September 30, 2009, the NYS Department of Environmental of Conservation released its draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement for horizontal drilling and high-volume hydraulic fracturing to develop the Marcellus Shale. The public comment period was open until December 31, 2009. The Department is currently evaluating the approximately 15,000 comments received.
Forum on the Effects of Marcellus Shale Gas Drilling on Local Water Sources
On June 22, 2009, the Finger Lakes Group of the Sierra Club joined with the Steuben County Environmental Management Council, the League of Women Voters of Steuben County, the League of Women Voters of Chemung County, and the Bath Peace and Justice Group to sponsor a public forum on the Effects of Marcellus Shale Gas Drilling on Local Water Sources. The program was held at the Fire Hall in Bath and was attended by 114 people. The remarks of the three outstanding speakers at the forum were taped by Wilton Vought of True Colors Video and are posted on his website, http://essentialdissent.blogspot.com/2009/06/marcellus-shale-gas-drilling-and-water.html The speakers were:
Ron Bishop, lecturer in chemistry and biochemistry at SUNY Oneonta, gave an overview of natural gas extraction technology and explained how water contamination can occur during the gas drilling process.
Steve Penningroth, Executive Director of the state-certified water testing laboratory at the Community Science Institute in Ithaca, described how to test private and municipal water wells so that landowners and municipal officials can discover problems and have solid scientific baseline water data that will stand up in court should contamination occur.
Andrew Beyers, a farmer/botanist from Newfield who has been studying gas drilling issues, talked about the work of the Shaleshock Citizens Action Alliance, and described how community members can take action on gas drilling issues.
Earth Day Survey
An informal survey on environmental issues was conducted by Gene Stolfi, Katie Stroman, Robin Stroman, and Jim Trondsen at our Sierra Club Finger Lakes Group table at Corning Community College's Earth Day event on Wed., April 22, 2009. Robin De Lill Stroman, our FLG Zero Waste Chair, designed the survey and compiled the results. Interestingly, while most people think global warming is real and are worried about the harm human activity is causing the planet, most people also believe that the United States is doing enough to confront the problem and believe that global warming can be reversed. Click here for the detailed results.
District Office Lobby Day
The Finger Lakes Group participated in the Sierra Club's District Office Lobby Day on Fri., Mar. 6, 2009. We met with staff members of Senator George Winner and Assemblymember Tom O'Mara in Elmira, and with Assemblymember Barbara Lifton in Ithaca. We have a follow-up meeting scheduled with Assemblymember Lifton in May to discuss restoring authority to local governments to regulate oil and gas drilling in New York by repealing the 1981 amendments to the Environmental Conservation Law removing that authority.
Lee Hersh, Gene Stolfi, Rachel Treichler and Jim Trondsen were elected in the 2009 group elections to two year terms on the Finger Lakes Group Executive Committee. They join Kate Bartholomew, Susanne Brown and Annie Koreman. At the group meeting on Feb. 18, 2009, the following officers and committee chairs were elected for 2009: Kate Bartholomew, Chair and Chapter Delegate, Annie Koreman, Vice Chair and Alternate Delegate, Susanne Brown, Secretary/Treasurer, Robin Stroman, Zero Waste Committee Chair, Annie Koreman, Energy Committee Chair, Jim Trondsen, Water Committee Chair, Lee Hersh, Environmental Education Committee Chair and Carolyn Kreisel, Elections Committee Chair.
Forum on New Gas Drilling Techniques
On Sun., Feb. 1, 2009, the Finger Lakes Group sponsored a public forum on the health and environmental impacts of new gas drilling techniques in Corning. For more information about the forum, click here.
Winter 2008 Newsletter
Many thanks to our newsletter team of Annie Koreman and Kate Bartholomew for an excellent new issue of the Finger Lakes Sierran, and to our authors:
Our New Geothermal
Heating and Cooling System by
Annie Koreman, Energy Committee Chair