Syracuse Prof Targeted in Effort to Discredit Drilling Research

How’s this for the pot calling the kettle black: A Syracuse anti-drilling attorney says a Syracuse University professor who co-authored a research report published in the peer reviewed journal Environmental Science & Technology is ethically challenged because the prof didn’t declare a “financial interest” with Chesapeake Energy. Chesapeake is the company providing years and years of data used as the basis for the study (the only available data of its kind). With advance apologies to our many lawyer subscribers…An attorney accusing a professor of being ethically challenged? If that doesn’t beat all! We highlighted the important Syracuse research study in March (see Syracuse U Study: Fracking Doesn’t Cause Methane in PA Water Wells). The lead author is Syracuse University professor Donald Siegel. Dr. Siegel’s good work comes to the “wrong” conclusion (for anti-drillers), so he instantly became a target. Apparently Siegel “has a contract” with Chesapeake and he makes a little extra coin on the side doing work for private companies like Chesapeake (a common practice among professors). Because Siegel didn’t declare the small fees paid to him by Chesapeake as a conflict of interest when filing his research report, he’s now being targeted for reputation assassination by an anti-drilling squad…
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Syracuse U Divests from Fossil Fuels, NYU Says “Irresponsible”

Silly (and frankly stupid) “green” students at universities who apparently don’t have enough homework to keep them busy have lately been protesting and attempting to get the schools their parents pay so much money to, to divest from any stock holdings in evil, filthy, nasty fossil fuel companies. No, we’re not making this up. These idiots, who believe in global warming fairy tales, are demanding, like the petulant undisciplined children they are, that universities pull out a gun and just shoot themselves in the head financially. And you know what? Syracuse University has just done it. They’ve just committed financial suicide by bowing to pressure from children and divesting any fossil fuel stocks from their $1.2 billion endowment. Forcing Coach Jim Boeheim to retire, and now divesting from fossil fuels? We’re officially no longer Orange basketball fans. Meanwhile, the divest from fossil fuels issue was extensively studied by New York University–and they concluded to do such a thing is nuts…
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Millennium Scraps Cortland-to-Syracuse Pipeline, Binghamton Next?

In May MDN told you about plans by the Millennium Pipeline to expand “south to north,” to haul Marcellus Shale gas from Cortland to Syracuse, NY, launching a non-binding “open season” to gauge interest (see The Irony: Millennium Pipeline Expanding in NY for More Shale Gas). The Cortland-to-Syracuse pipeline was part of a larger plan, to go from Binghamton-to-Syracuse. The Millennium’s plan is/was to build a pipeline from Binghamton to Cortland first, and then from Cortland on to Syracuse. The open season in May was to see if there would be enough interest for the Cortland to Syracuse leg. Apparently, there was not.

An article in the Syracuse Post-Standard yesterday says the Millennium has scrapped their plan to build the Cortland-to-Syracuse pipeline. And, even more surprisingly, the Binghamton-to-Cortland pipeline (where the Millennium would connect to the Dominion Transmission pipeline) is now ominously “under review.” Which sure looks to us like the entire project may be scrapped. Question: Did the ever-present opposition from anti-drilling nutters sink the Millennium project?…
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Syracuse Poll: 83% Say Frack Here, Frack Now

We think this is kind of funny. The Syracuse Post-Standard, a strongly anti-drilling publication, has done its best pejorative reporting on the issue of fracking in an attempt to whip up dissent in central New York. In their latest attempt to plant the seeds of FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) about fracking, they run a pro-drilling video created by the American Petroleum Institute on their website. In the introduction/setup for the video they remind people of a broken pipeline due to flooding. Then they ask people to fill out a snap poll asking whether or not fracking should be allowed here, in New York State.

The results of the poll (below) are astonishing. Although you might think readers of the Post-Standard would be largely anti-drilling, it’s quite the opposite. Out of 857 respondents (including yours truly), 83%, or 715 votes, say frack here, frack now. A paltry 86 people (10%) want it banned…
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Cowardly Cuomo Will Not Visit Syracuse/Binghamton with Obama

Gov. Andrew “Spineless” Cuomo–who laughably thinks he has a shot at one day being president–will not join President B.H. Obama when Obama visits the “hotbed” of fracking controversy in Cuomo’s own state–Syracuse and Binghamton, NY. Why won’t Cuomo be on the platform with his political idol? Fear of facing angry landowners and supporters of shale drilling. Cuomo knows he is loathed in shale country in upstate NY and doesn’t want to answer tough questions about fracking or risk being seen for what he is: indecisive and weak.

Cuomo has ended his own future political ambitions over the fracking issue and everyone knows it–except, apparently, him…
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Pompey, NY Votes to Ban Drilling, Bullies 2 Board Members

The Town of Pompey (Onondaga County), NY, near Syracuse, voted on June 3 to ban all fracking and shale drilling in the town. We’d like to take this opportunity to once again deliver a brief history lesson of how and why this is nothing short of mob rule and not classic democracy in action.

First, the news from Pompey and how three town board members (Carol Marsh, Greg Herlhy and Victor Lafrenz) bullied two other board members (Carl Dennis and Craig Smithgall) into not voting, and how those three individuals unilaterally snatched away the property rights of 15-20 landowners in the town who already have gas leases, with a single vote…
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Flags at Half-Staff Again – Another NY Town (Stupidly) Bans Fracking

Lower the flags at town halls across the state to half-staff once again to mourn the fact that another small misguided group of people have destroyed any chance their neighbors will be able to lease their land and allow safe drilling for natural gas. This time it’s happened in the Town of Otisco, NY. The vote to strip away landowners’ rights was unanimous by five people–we list their names below and when their terms expire just in case you want to vote against them next time around…

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Irony: Marcellus, NY Votes to Ban Marcellus Shale Drilling

It’s a sad and ironic day: The town for which the Marcellus Shale is named, Marcellus, NY (Onondaga County, near Syracuse), has voted to ban the Marcellus—as in no Marcellus Shale drilling will be allowed in the township.

By a 5-0 vote last night, the town board illegally stripped away the Constitutional property rights of all of its citizens in contravention to New York State law…

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Town of Onondaga, NY Votes to Permanently Ban Fracking

so happy todayIn a purely political move, the Town of Onondaga, NY (Syracuse suburb) voted last night to permanently ban hydraulic fracturing—even though a) the Syracuse watershed area, which Onondaga is part of, is expressly off limits for drilling in the DEC’s draft drilling rules, and b) such a permanent ban may not be legal (two similar cases are on appeal in NY courts).

The town had previously passed a temporary ban. Last night’s vote makes it “permanent”—although Onondaga’s ban will be ruled null and void if the two aforementioned cases are decided in favor of landowners (look for a decision in Spring 2013).

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Town of Onondaga, NY Votes to Extend Fracking Ban 1 Month

The Town of Onondaga, a bedroom community for Syracuse, NY, voted on Monday night to extend the fracking moratorium they previously enacted. The vote continues the moratorium for another month until board members meet again Dec. 3 and will presumably vote at that meeting to either further extend the moratorium or let it die.

From the Syracuse Post-Standard:

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Alec Baldwin Takes Aim at Fracking in Syracuse Appearance

Alec BaldwinOn Saturday night, a B-list actor with anger management issues (who used to be A-list), Alec Baldwin, was joined by one-trick pony Josh Fox to show Josh’s masterful propaganda film, Gasland, to a small gathering at the Landmark Theatre in Syracuse, NY.

Alec has found yet another cause célèbre—defeat fracking in New York. (Oh, and Alec’s mom lives in Syracuse, so that’s why he was really in town.)

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Syracuse Bans Fracking Inside City Limits

In a purely symbolic gesture, the Syracuse (NY) Common Council yesterday voted to ban the use of hydraulic fracturing inside city limits to drill for natural gas. It’s symbolic because new drilling rules, if ever released in New York, specifically prohibit drilling in the Syracuse watershed area. But politicians like Democrat Kathleen Joy, the driving force for getting the ban adopted, don’t let facts get in the way of political grandstanding.

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Skaneateles High School Airs Both Sides of the Marcellus Drilling Debate

Kudos to the Skaneateles High School Environmental Club for the public meeting they held on hydraulic fracturing on January 23rd at the High School auditorium. Yes, the members of the club are no doubt anti-drilling and they had several speakers who presented the anti-drilling viewpoint. And yes, they showed the biased anti-drilling “documentary” Split Estate.

But to their credit, the Environmental Club also balanced it with someone who presented the pro-drilling side of the argument. That person was David Palmerton, a geologist and environmental consultant, and someone who’s actually developed oil and gas wells.

With regard to the likelihood that chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing will pollute water aquifers, Mr. Palmerton said:

“I can tell you as a geologist that putting water in 7,000 feet down, which is some 6,500 feet below any possible water supply, is not going to reach that water supply,” Palmerton said. “It’s trapped by the pressure of the rock.”

A question was also raised about what is done with the “frack fluid” once it is reclaimed.

Palmerton agreed with [Onondaga Nation General Counsel Joseph] Heath’s earlier point that there were not enough facilities to treat the wastewater.

“But, once it’s clear that oil and gas development can proceed, companies will come in, will develop those facilities,” he said. “There’s a lot of money that’s out there that’s ready to be invested in those facilities.”*

Some common sense words. Let’s hope the young members of the Environmental Club were listening. Hats off to them for airing both sides.

*Skaneateles Press (Mar 8th) – Fracking finds supporters, opponents at SHS