Meeting on 17B traffic study tonight in White Lake

Meeting on 17B traffic study tonight in White Lake
var isoPubDate = 'May 15, 2008'

The state Department of Transportation will hold a public information meeting from 5 to 8 tonight at the Cornelius Duggan Elementary School to present the findings of the Route 17B Corridor Planning Study and gather comments about it and the needs of the corridor.

A formal presentation will also be held at 6 p.m.

The Route 17B Corridor Study was initiated by the DOT to address capacity and safety concerns along a 15 mile segment of 17B from Fosterdale in the Town of Cochecton to the Village of Monticello, through the towns of Cochecton, Bethel, and Thompson.

The primary goals of the study are to identify potential transportation improvements that would maximize the safety and efficiency of the highway and preserve safe and efficient traffic operations as development continues throughout the next 20 years.

The Cornelius Duggan Elementary School is located on Route 55 in White Lake. The presentation will highlight improvements and suggested strategies for future development outlined in the study.

Members of the community, who are unable to attend, but would like to comment on the project or who have questions, may contact the Project Manager, John Fitzgerald, by mail at NYSDOT Region 9 Planning Office, 44 Hawley Street, Binghamton, Room 1401, New York, 13901; by telephone at (607)721-8575; or by email at [email protected]

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NYRI rate reimbursement request kicked back

NYRI rate reimbursement request kicked back

var isoPubDate = 'May 14, 2008' 

Times Herald Record

WASHINGTON - The huge power line proposed for this region has suffered another setback in its application process.
New York Regional Interconnect’s request for rate reimbursement for its $2 billion line was deemed deficient yesterday by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which requested additional documents, work papers and project costs.
NYRI had also asked that its investors receive a return of 13.5 percent. The rejection comes weeks after the state Public Service Commission returned NYRI’s application for the second time. In another development, NYRI said yesterday that it will hire disabled veterans to build the line. It also pledged to create a $5,000 annual scholarship program for veterans.

LINK IS HERE:

http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080514/NEWS/80514007

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Outdoor groups defend NY tax support

Outdoor groups defend NY tax support

ALBANY — Several conservation groups with interests in the Adirondacks and Catskills are seeking to join the state's defense in litigation over tax payments.

The organizations want to assist the state in defending the practice of making state tax payments to local governments and school districts in areas in which the state owns large tracts of forested land. The case is expected to be heard in September by the Fourth Division of the Appellate Department in Rochester. The deadline for filing “friend of the court” briefs is May 19.

“Local governments provide road access to many preserve lands and many of the services needed by tourists,” said Brian L. Houseal, executive director of the Adirondack Council. “Local governments help fight forest fires and also arrest, prosecute and incarcerate those who steal timber and poach wildlife from the Forest Preserve.”

Last November, state Supreme Court Judge Timothy J. Walker overturned state laws governing state tax payments to local governments, which he characterized as “arbitrary.” The case, Dillenburg v. New York, dealt with a small tract in the Chautauqua County town of Arkwright. The town supervisor claimed the state acted unfairly in denying tax payments in the town even though it makes them elsewhere, most notably in the Adirondacks and the Catskills.

The ruling effectively voided all state tax payments to county and municipal governments across the state, though Judge Walker allowed the payments to continue until the appeal is resolved.

“It was inappropriate for the lower court in this case to lump the Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserves in with other state forest lands,” said Neil Woodworth, executive director of the Adirondack Mountain Club. “Tax payments on non-Forest Preserve lands were set up at different times for different reasons. The payments on Forest Preserve lands have received broad-based public support and have been upheld by New York's courts over the past 122 years.”

The state has been making tax payments to local governments in both the Adirondack and Catskill parks since 1886.

“All of the towns in the Adirondacks and Catskills have a more solid claim to state tax payments than the town of Arkwright … or any other town outside those two parks,” Houseal said. “If the Forest Preserve becomes tax-exempt, it will be seen as a burden to local taxpayers, not an asset. Some Adirondack towns are more than 70-percent state-owned Forest Preserve.”

The groups looking to join the suit are the Adirondack Council, Adirondack Landowners Association, Adirondack Mountain Club, Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks, Audubon New York, Catskill Center for Conservation and Development, Open Space Conservancy and Residents' Committee to Protect the Adirondacks.

LINK IS HERE:

https://www.thedailymail.net/articles/2008/05/14/news/news3.txt

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Gas drilling’s impact on environment being watched

Gas drilling’s impact on environment being watched

LINK IS HERE:
https://www.citizensvoice.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=19663675&BRD=2259&PAG=461&dept_id=455154&rfi=6
The Allegheny National Forest along the northwestern border of Pennsylvania is home to about 8,000 oil and gas wells, each of which sits on a third of an acre of leveled land and is serviced by a 1,250-mile network of gravel roads through the trees.



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The impact of those wells has not gone unnoticed by those who monitor and enjoy the forest and those whose livelihoods depend on people visiting it.

In a recently revised plan for the forest, the state Forest Service noted the extensive oil and gas drilling there threatens to displace visitors who will look to “other State or National Forests where remote, semi-primitive settings and experiences are more readily available.”

The fate of the Allegheny Forest, which has been splintered by conventional drilling, is on the minds of residents and environmental groups as a new, unconventional natural gas rush is sweeping into forests and farmland in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

On April 1, the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources reversed a five-year moratorium on new shallow gas wells in state forests and opened 75,000 new acres to deep-well drilling.

The change was motivated by a desire to access the natural gas trapped deep in the Marcellus Shale that, if tapped, could add trillions of cubic feet of natural gas to the nation’s reserves.

DCNR defended its move by saying deep wells are spaced farther apart than shallow wells so they have less of an impact on the surface. The department’s parameters allow two deep wells per square mile, compared to the 16 per square mile generally allowed with shallow wells, like those in the Allegheny National Forest.

But environmental groups argue that the deep wells’ larger well pads disturb up to five acres of forest and each new road cut into previously untouched forest increases erosion and the risk of introducing invasive species.

“These well pads for the deep gas wells are going to be enormous,” said Ryan Talbott, forest watch coordinator for the Allegheny Defense Project, an environmental group. “Those trees are going to be clear-cut, and nothing is going to grow on that site for decades if not much longer.”

As landowners — including state and local governments — plan how best to cash in on the newly accessible gas trapped in the Marcellus Shale, the disturbance on the surface is often described as a temporary or merely aesthetic scar.

Earle Robbins, the director of the Penn State Cooperative Extension in Tioga County, described a photograph of a well in the middle of a cornfield.

“If you aren’t really looking for them, you don’t even know they’re there,” he said.

Although drilling in the Marcellus Shale is too new to measure its long-term environmental impacts, drilling in other, similar shales offer hints of what the process of deep-well drilling might mean for the local landscape and the people and animals that live in it.

n In Texas, hydraulic fracturing — the process of cracking the shale with water, sand and chemicals in order to release the gas — has brought to the surface naturally occurring radioactive material, which, when concentrated, can pose a risk to workers on the drilling rigs.

n Texas cities are struggling with how best to get rid of the salty wastewater produced during and after the “fracing” process. Gas companies prefer to dispose of the water underground in injection wells, but on several occasions the wells have leaked.

n And in Arkansas, state environmental regulators have begun pushing for tighter drilling laws after they found the pits on several drilling sites — which are meant to hold mud, water and drill cuttings — had been used to dispose of oil and trash. The pits were often not lined with plastic to protect the wastewater from leaking into the ground.

In Pennsylvania, wastewater must be taken to a treatment facility approved by the Department of Environmental Protection. Currently, there are injection wells in western Pennsylvania, but none in the northeast.

When asked how DEP, which regulates the environmental impact of drilling, plans to

deal with any radioactive material produced by Marcellus Shale drilling, Ronald Gilius, the director of the Bureau of Oil and Gas Management, said he is “talking with our radiation protection division and coordinating the answer to that question.”

Terry Engelder, a geosciences professor at Penn State University and an expert on the Marcellus Shale, said the shale is relatively more radioactive than other geological formations, but the radioactive isotopes it produces are not much different than those people are exposed to in the sea or from the sun.

“This type of radioactivity is incredibly common, but it’s in such low concentrations that it does not bother anyone,” he said.

To extract the gas from the Marcellus Shale, companies must make small cracks in the tight rock formation that holds it. The hole drilled into the shale is only about a foot wide, but two to five acres have to be cleared to hold the drill rig; the pit for water, mud and drill clippings; and the dozens of tanker trucks used to bring water to the site.

In some leases, landowners agree to let drilling companies use their ponds or wells to draw fracing water. DEP regulates where companies can draw water from public sources.

“They just can’t go onto a headwater stream and dry up all the stream,” Gilius said.

One million gallons of water, sand and chemical additives are forced under high pressure into the bore hole to fracture the shale. After the water is extracted, the sand stays in the shale to prop open the new seams.

Once the well begins to draw the gas seeping out of the fractures, companies build pipelines to transport the gas to interstate transmission lines. They build tanks to capture salty water and other by-products, which have to be trucked off site to treatment facilities or disposal wells.

By state law, the sites have to be revegetated and regraded after the drilling is done.

At a recent workshop for landowners presented by the Penn State Cooperative Extension, Lycoming County educator Tom Murphy said companies would first begin this extraction process at a few, far-flung wells, then they would come back to put in many more.

“The idea is they’re going to try to maximize how many they have out there,” he said.

According to DEP spokesman Tom Rathbun, the department expects the distance between Marcellus Shale wells “will be much greater than every 1,000 feet,” but there is not yet a firm definition of how far apart the wells must be.

Environmentalists note the disturbance of the land caused by each proliferating well invites erosion, which can damage streams and wildlife.

Since 2005, oil and gas companies have not had to acquire federal water pollution control permits for the construction phase of drilling, but DEP mandates erosion controls for well projects.

According to Debbie Doss, chairman of the Arkansas Conservation Partnership, the risk of sedimentation from well sites is real. Last summer in Arkansas, where thousands of deep wells have been drilled to pull natural gas from the Fayetteville Shale, environmental regulators began to draw stricter laws after silt from drilling sites washed into nearby streams.

“People don’t realize what a serious environmental problem that is,” she said. “It basically smothers all the invertebrates in the stream, it kills fish.”

“There’s so much activity going on,” she added, “that the state just can’t keep up with all of it.”

In Pennsylvania, Gilius, said “erosion and sedimentation control is a primary concern” of DEP.

The natural gas companies, many new to the state, have kept the department’s 34 field inspectors busy: On the 34 new wells inspected since 2005 in Lycoming, Tioga, Susquehanna and Wayne counties, there have been 22 citations for companies with no erosion and sedimentation plans, inadequate plans, or plans that are not being implemented.

There were two citations for companies that discharged “industrial wastewater” straight to the ground and six for wastewater pits on the well sites that were impermeable or “not structurally sound.”

Barbara Arrindell, a member of a grassroots group based in Damascus that opposes natural gas drilling, said after-the-fact citations don’t protect residents from the environmental effects of violations.

“It’s already been done,” she said. “There’s no way to prevent that kind of thing from happening. You’ve got one chance at this.”

Joe Lambert, mayor of Decatur, Texas, a small city above a shale formation where gas exploration is booming, described the trade-off he has experienced between “the good and the ugly.”

In his city, it has meant a dramatically changed landscape.

“In the rural areas, they’re just dotted — pockmarked — with oil tank batteries,” he said, referring to the holding tanks for gas by-products that remain long after the drilling rigs are gone.

When told about gas exploration in Northeastern Pennsylvania, he said, “Jeez, you know, it can destroy your countryside when you’ve got beautiful trees and things like that.”

“There’s a lot of people absolutely becoming millionaires off this deal,” he added. “If you’re not one of them, you say, what are we doing here, because you’re screwing up your environment. You’re screwing up your natural beauty.”

[email protected]

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In the Catskill Mountains with Larry Gibson, Homestead School and Green Power Alliance


In the Catskill Mountains with Larry Gibson, Homestead School and Green Power Alliance

I am inspired.

As I write my first blog post @ KilowattOurs.org, I am resting in the gorgeous Catskill Mountains of New York/Pennsylvania/New Jersey. I was invited to speak here by the Homestead School, an amazing Montessori program for grades pre-K through 6. A student group calling themselves the Green Power Alliance organized this event, “Your Coal Connection,” to raise money and awareness for the the effort to stop mountain top removal coal mining. Larry Gibson from Kayford Mountain, West Virginia is also here to speak. I am so inspired by these enthusiastic, motivated and caring kids and their passion for making a difference. They are a delight and I feel blessed to meet them and their parents. These students recently took a field trip to Larry’s mountain and one of the students wrote the short essay about it. These kids also handed some mountain top removal literature to former President Clinton during a recent campaign visit to their community. The kids urged Bill and Hillary to help the cause.

Click here to read the entire blog post and its mention of Mountainkeeper

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Sullivan Renaissance: MUNICIPAL GRANT PROGRAM TO CLEAN UP 25 SITES

NEWS RELEASE: May 12, 2008

CONTACT: Helen Budrock at 845-295-2462; [email protected].org

 

[Photos of the structures to be removed are available electronically.]


Sullivan Renaissance:

 

MUNICIPAL GRANT PROGRAM

TO CLEAN UP 25 SITES IN COUNTY

 

Multiple partners to contribute over $50,000 in donated services

 

[LIVINGSTON MANOR] – Twenty-two derelict structures will be eliminated and three roadside areas cleaned up through matching grants awarded by Sullivan Renaissance through its Municipal Clean Up Grant Program.  [The list of projects and locations is available.]

 

The program was announced on May 12 at 52 Pleasant Street in Livingston Manor, site of one of eight buildings being removed as part of the Town of Rockland’s Flood Mitigation Program, and the subject of a planned controlled burn by the Livingston Manor Fire Department.

 

In addition to Sullivan Renaissance, partners in this collaborative program include: the Sullivan County Legislature and Division of Public Works (DPW); Taylor Recycling Facility LLC of Montgomery, NY; Waste Management of Beach Lake, PA; Weinert Recycling of Ferndale, NY; Thompson Sanitation of Rock Hill, NY; and Sullivan County First Recycling and Refuse of Woodbourne, NY. 

 

Now in its third year, the program assists municipalities with clean up of roadside dump sites and removal of derelict, unsightly and unsafe structures.  The number of projects has more than doubled over last year’s program.  Ten derelict structures were eliminated and three roadside areas cleaned up in 2007.  Three buildings were removed when the pilot program was first introduced in 2006.

 

“This program demonstrates that it is possible with combined efforts to clean up some of the unsightly locations that have been plaguing many of our communities.  We want to thank all our partners for helping us expand this cleanup program.  We invite others to join us in our overall effort to improve the appearance of Sullivan County,” said Sandra Gerry, who chairs the Sullivan Renaissance Steering Committee. 

 

Of the 27 applications that were received, 25 projects will be part of this year’s program.  Over 1300 tons of debris will be generated through this cleanup, but only 260 tons from seven projects will be disposed of in the county landfill.  Sullivan Renaissance will contribute just over $50,000 in grants, to be matched by the recipients.  Sullivan County’s in-kind contribution of tipping fees has a value of $32,500, and other partners will donate over $23,000 in services.

 

“Sullivan County is pleased to team up with Sullivan Renaissance and the business partners to remove these unsafe and unsightly structures.  Space in the landfill is a precious resource at this point in time, and this program is a great example of the worthwhile programs the County can participate in, as long as space remains available,” said Kathy LaBuda, who chairs the Sullivan County Committee on Public Works.

 

With limited space in the landfill, the program encourages the separation, reduction and recycling of C&D debris prior to disposal. 

 

New partners to the program this year include Weinert Recycling, Thompson Sanitation and Sullivan First Recycling and Refuse.  Weinert – known for its scrap metal business – will donate $10,000 in services to remove three metal trailers in Forestburgh, Thompson and Neversink.  Thompson Sanitation will donate four containers to assist with a clean up along the D&H Canal outside of Wurtsboro.  Sullivan First Recycling and Refuse will donate services to assist with Rockland’s flood mitigation program.

 

Returning again as a partner is the internationally-based Waste Management Corporation, which will assist with two roadside clean up projects – one in South Fallsburg and the other in Luxton Lake.

 

Also returning is Taylor Recycling, which will assist with disposal of two structures in South Fallsburg and one in Mountaindale.  “Taylor Recycling is proud to partner with Sullivan Renaissance again.  We started working with them last year to remove unsightly and unsafe buildings, and one could see a positive difference in Sullivan County,” said James W. Taylor, Jr., Chairman of Taylor Recycling.

 

Sullivan Renaissance is a beautification and community development program principally funded by the Gerry Foundation.  Additional funding has been secured by NYS Senator John J. Bonacic and Assemblywoman Aileen M. Gunther. 

 

Other programs include: three categories of grants based on the size of the projects; special awards for environmental impact, historic preservation, showing of flowers and project maintenance; mini-grants; environmental demonstration grants; seasonal community matching grants; internships; and scholarships to SCCC and other colleges.  The school program assists young people with beautification projects at their school grounds or in their communities. 

 

For information about Sullivan Renaissance, contact 845-295-2445 or www.sullivanrenaissance.org.

                                                           

 

ID

Municipality

Property Address

Grant

Landfill Tonnage

Notes

1

Delaware

5090 Route 52, Jeffersonville

$1,075

15

Waived tipping at landfill

2

Delaware

520 Old Taylor Rd, Kenoza Lake

$2,900

30

Waived tipping at landfill

3

Fallsburg

Avery Road Cleanup, South Fallsburg

$2,000

---

Waste Management donating 3 containers

4

Fallsburg

9 Post Hill Rd, Mountaindale

$3,000

---

Taylor Recycling donating first 25 tons

5

Fallsburg

Main St, South Fallsburg

$2,500

---

Taylor Recycling donating first 25 tons

6

Fallsburg

5242 Main St, South Fallsburg

$2,500

---

Taylor Recycling donating first 25 tons

7

Forestburgh

2677 Route 42, Forestburgh

---

---

Weinert Recycling donating trailer removal

8

Liberty

88 Chestnut St, Liberty

$1,950

25

Waived tipping at landfill

9

Liberty

Old Monticello Rd, Liberty

$5,000

75

Possible controlled burn with Liberty Fire Dept.

10

Mamakating

D&H Canal Cleanup, Wurtsboro

$2,000

---

Thompson Sanitation donating 4 containers

11

Mamakating

Town Park, Bloomingburg

$5,000

75

Waived tipping at landfill

12

Monticello

Dillon Rd, Monticello

$5,000

---

Taylor Recycling donating first 25 tons

13

Neversink

2 Roadside Dr, Grahamsville

---

---

Weinert Recycling donating trailer removal

14

Rockland

34 Pearl St, Livingston Manor

$5,000

25

Part of flood buy-out program (tipping waiver)

15

Rockland

58 River St, Livingston Manor

$1,000

---

Part of flood buy-out program (controlled burn)

16

Rockland

61 Covered Bridge Rd, Livingston Manor

$1,000

---

Part of flood buy-out program

17

Rockland

52 Pleasant St, Livingston Manor

$500

---

Part of flood buy-out program (controlled burn)

18

Rockland

54 Pleasant St, Livingston Manor

$500

---

Part of flood buy-out program (controlled burn)

19

Rockland

49 Pleasant St, Livingston Manor

$1,000

---

Part of flood buy-out program

20

Rockland

35 Motts Ln, Livingston Manor

$1,000

---

Part of flood buy-out program

21

Rockland

54 Motts Ln, Livingston Manor

$1,000

---

Part of flood buy-out program

22

Thompson

106 Harris Rd, Harris

$1,650

15

Waived tipping at landfill

23

Thompson

970 Old Route 17, Harris

---

---

Weinert Recycling donating trailer removal

24

Tusten

Luxton Lake Rd Cleanup, Narrowsburg

$2,000

---

Waste Management donating 1 container

25

Woodridge

14 Maurice Rose St, Woodridge

$2,750

---

Controlled burn with Woodridge Fire Dept.

 

 

Total:

$50,325

260

 

 

[Photos of the structures to be removed are available electronically.]

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$90,000 benefits groups in Greene County

$90,000 benefits groups in Greene County

CATSKILL - State Sen. James Seward has announced $90,000 worth of grants to various Greene County organizations to enhance the local quality of life and benefit tourism.

Seward, R-Milford, announced the six grants on Friday at the Thomas Cole Historic Site.

Of the $90,000, Seward said:

* $20,000 will be given to the Thomas Cole Historic Site for its exhibits and to create an introductory film to the Hudson River School of Art.

* $10,000 will go to the Heart of Catskill Association to promote its Second Saturday Strolls in the village.

* $10,000 will be given to the Athens Cultural Arts Center to help renovate its building.

* $10,000 will go to the Greene County Historical Society to repair the southern wall of the historic 1864 Bronck stone house.

* $20,000 will be given to the Greene County Council on the Arts to renovate its historic building.

* $20,000 will be administered through the county Council on the Arts to create a two-part television history of Greene County.

"Even in a difficult budget year, it was important to deliver funding back to the community for important local services and programs that enhance the quality of life and offer economic benefits in tourism," Seward said.

He said the grant money was included in the state's newly approved 2008-09 budget.


©Daily Freeman 2008
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DEC poised to ban all open burning in NYS

DEC poised to ban all open burning in NYS

link is here:

http://www.thedailymail.net/articles/2008/05/11/news/news1.txt

CATSKILL — Folks who live in rural counties like Greene and Columbia will no longer have the option of using a burn barrel or burning autumn leaves or conducting any type of open burning — with limited exception — after a proposed rule change is implemented by NYS Department of Conservation later this year.

The plan is to take a ban that has been in place since 1972 which prohibits opening burning in the more populated areas of the state — towns with populations of 20,000 or more — and make it effective statewide.

The full text of the proposed rule change is on DEC’s website at www.dec.ny.gov, under a link for “Proposed Regulations for Clean Air.” Follow the links for “Open Fires.”

The regulations have been posted for public comment, which is stated to run through July 10, 5 p.m.

However, the DEC, in announcing the changes, said the “formal” comment period runs 45 days from the proposal being printed in the Register, an official state publication of notices.

That printing occurred the same day as the press release, May 7 — and 45 calendar days from that date is June 21, almost a full three weeks before the conflicting July 10 date provided.

DEC spokesmen were unavailable at press time to clarify the discrepancy. However, it should be noted that all seven of the public hearings scheduled across the state for receiving verbal comment all fall between June 23 and July 2 — after the 45-day Register printing “formal” comment period ends on June 21.

There are several portions to the proposed changes, with the first being the definitions, or “express terms,” which has items for open fire, camp fire, agricultural lands, agricultural wastes, and similar terms.

It also notes that exceptions will be made for “barbecue grills, maple sugar arches (saphouses), and similar outdoor cooking devices when actually used for cooking or processing food.”

Also exempt are “small fires for cooking and camp fires,” as long as either only charcoal or untreated, natural wood is used.

There are also several other exceptions, including “ceremonial or celebratory bonfires,” religious ceremonies, and prescribed burns for fire companies.

The next part is a 12-page “Regulatory Impact Statement Summary,” which lists the proposal’s statutory authorization — DEC’s authority to do it under law; its legislative objectives — how it ties into the policies of the State Legislature; and its needs and benefits — why it’s necessary and the purpose of it.

The latter notes, “The primary benefit of the proposed rule, if promulgated (made official), would be a significant improvement in health and quality of life for those impacted by smoke from a neighbor’s burn barrel.”

It also addresses costs for the proposal, and provides a formula that yields an estimate of between $104 to $412 per household per year to stop using a burn barrel, which it later terms “minimal” and “inconsequential.”

It also noted that because of the increase of trash, debris, and leaves at transfer stations, “there will likely be a need for more employees, or employee hours, at rural solid waste transfer stations,” but does not provide an estimated cost.

The next section is the 14-page Regulatory Impact Statement itself, which reiterates and slightly expands the content of the Summary.

The next section is the 4-page Job Impact Statement, which concludes, “While there may be an increased opportunity for jobs handling solid waste, it is difficult to determine the exact number of jobs.”

“The amount of increase in solid waste to be handled is thought to be a small percentage of the existing amount.”

This section is followed by the 6-page Rural Area Flexibility Analysis, which notes the proposal would repeal the existing permit process for burning in Columbia County, since it would be replaced by the more strict statewide ban.

The last part is the 5-page Regulatory Flexibility Analysis for Small Business and Local Governments, which states the proposed revisions “will affect small businesses involved in agriculture, construction, and waste haulers.”

“Local governments may need to hire additional employees for their transfer stations, and there will be increased landfill costs associated with final disposal of a somewhat larger waste stream,” it states.

Of the overall proposal, DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis said Wednesday, “This is a public health and safety issue.”

“The trash we’re burning has become more complicated and damaging to air quality over the decades,” said Grannis. “From dioxins to furans to arsenic, numerous toxic chemicals can be released by open burning — worries we didn’t have several decades ago,” he added.

“Moreover,” said Grannis, “wildfires occur regularly from badly tended open fires.”

“This proposal,” he said, “will reduce the chances of that happening.”

In addition to health advocacy groups, the proposal has also won the backing of the Firemen’s Association of New York State.

FASNY president Michael Wutz said Wednesday, “Our main concern is the safety aspect of the open burn process.”

“But there are other concerns, too,” said Wutz. “Burn barrels can cause smoke — and that triggers fire responders, which can overtax personnel.”

“Also, open burning of household solid waste has been proven to also generate toxic pollution that undeniably contributes to public health risks,” he said.

The three closest public hearings are in Dutchess County and Albany.

The first will be an evening session in Staatsburg — between Rhinebeck and Hyde Park — at Margaret Lewis Norrie State Park, off Route 9, on Tuesday, June 24. It will be at the park’s Norrie Point Environmental Center, 256 Norrie Point Way, from 5-8 p.m.

The second will be in the morning of Wednesday, June 25, from 9:30 a.m.-noon, at DEC Central Office, 625 Broadway, Public Assembly Room 129, in Albany.

The third will be the evening session at that same location on that same day, and run from 5-8 p.m.

The contact person for submitting written comments is NYS DEC, Division of Air Resources, Attention: Robert Stanton, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-3254.

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Dreams of Fields, Real Estate in the Catskills from NYT

High & Low | Northern Catskills Farmhouses

Dreams of Fields

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Published: May 9, 2008

FOR an urban second-home buyer, the allure of a farmhouse in the northern Catskills has much to do with the setting. There, rolling pastures are bordered by blue-green mountains that rise from the edges of patchwork farmland; languid cows graze in meadows bordered by stone walls; and stands of sugar maples line winding roads where silos and red barns are commonplace. There are log homes, chalets and manufactured homes, too, but in Delaware County, it is the indigenous farmhouse that defines the regional aesthetic.

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HOW MUCH $749,000 WHAT 5-bedroom house WHERE Hardscrabble Road, Roxbury, N.Y.

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“Farmhouses have a special charm,” said Dorothy McArdle, broker and owner of Apple Tree Realty in Andes, N.Y. “For decades, second-home owners and artists have come and renovated them, but the greatest surge in this trend started in the 1990s.”

Today many farmhouses new to the market are fully restored.

“We get lots of calls from people who say they’ll take one even if it’s in serious disrepair, but so many of those have sold,” she said. “People are starting to look further north and west even though it will mean a longer trip from the city.”

Historical charm and pastoral views aside, farmhouse living isn’t for everyone. Most are over 100 years old with thin walls and little insulation. In Delaware County, where winters are long and cold, this means pipes could burst any time. Plus, indoors and out, even after renovation, these houses require constant maintenance.

Prices range from about $180,000 for an unrenovated farmhouse on two acres to about $1.3 million and up for a restored house on 70 acres or more. Ms. McArdle said most second-home buyers seek houses on 10 to 30 acres. In this category, the range is about $300,000 for a house that needs work to $800,000 for a renovated version.

Joe Massa, co-owner of the Roxbury, a motel in Roxbury, said guests he sees who are looking for real estate tend to fall into two main groups: 20-somethings, many of them artists and creative types, who are discovering the area for the first time, and urbanites in their 30s and 40s who remember the Catskills from their childhoods.

“Of course, they’re not all looking for farmhouses,” said Mr. Massa, who also sells real estate part time. “But the farmhouse remains a consistent draw. There’s just something about those houses that can’t be replicated. Efforts to create contemporary versions have failed —in appearance, certainly, but more importantly in how they feel.”

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Protect Our Land and Water

Dear Neighbors,

The River Reporter has done a good job of alerting us about gas drilling, and the devastation it’s wreaking in Pennsylvania.  You might not know it is here in our neighborhood.  It appears the 10 Mile Boy Scout Camp is selling, or has sold, drilling rights to their land for $3 million, plus $1 million a year if they strike pay dirt.  What does the Tusten Town Board know about this?  What rights do we people living in the area have?  Water and air don’t stay put.  Our children drink this water, and breathe this air.

There was an interesting article in the New York Times about it the drilling recently.  It says, in rather glowing terms, that if they were able to get every bit of the natural gas out of the entire Marcellus shale deposit - admittedly impossible, because some of it is 9000 feet deep, and, the article might’ve mentioned (but didn’t), PEOPLE LIVE ON IT - it would fulfill US needs (at the current rate) for… 2 years!  What happens when those 2 years are over?  There are so many things to say about this short-sighted article - how it blinds us with economics, and doesn’t mention human costs, how it ignores the fact that sand and water are NOT all the fracking process injects into the shale, but hundreds of toxic chemicals, which are making their way into our water and air.

Many of us have been concerned with environmental and human rights issues for a long time.  Some are fighting NYRI’s proposed high power lines now.  Some have become educated about how coal mining destroys the health and way of life of Appalachian people.  Most of us are against the bloody war for oil in Iraq.  We’re bowled over by the massive prospect of climate change.  And we’re connecting the dots.  We are learning about, and struggling to afford, more sustainable homes and livings, or to educate ourselves and others about renewable energy. 

I think this is all the same struggle.  The problem is our government’s misguided, short-sighted, and predatory energy policy, controlled by big business.  Specifically, the Bush/Cheney Energy Policy Act of 2005, which made big energy companies exempt from the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Safe Drinking Water Act.  This sneaky “law” (drafted by lobbyists and members of the industry themselves) is what we’re fighting in effort to keep power lines off our land.  The lack of these protections is what is causing kids to get sick in Appalachia, as runoff off from mining operations pollutes their wells.  If these laws don’t apply to the biggest polluters, who are they for? And what is the war in Iraq, if not a desperate grasp for control of remaining oil, as worldwide supply has passed the halfway mark?  How many people have died for it now?  Fossil fuels are extremely lucrative for some, but ultimately dirty and deadly for everyone.

The exploitation of natural resources (including humans) for financial gain didn’t start with Bush and Cheney, and much as we’d like to hope so, it probably won’t end with their departure in January.  We have to stand up.

We all have a right to clean air and water, and a responsibility to protect it.  Our health and our children’s health demand that we get smart about the human and environmental cost of the current energy policy.  Let’s get rid of a bad law.  Demand the repeal of the Energy Policy Act.  Demand the enforcement of the laws that were enacted to protect us, and protect our land and water for our children and grandchildren. The Clean Water Act, The Clean Air Act, and The Safe Water Drinking Act need to protect the water and air.  They must apply equally to everyone. 

Without these protections in place, I don’t want them drilling at the scout camp.  Once they pollute our groundwater, what will we drink?  Maybe people think they’ll sell out and move on.  Only to the gas companies.   That’s how they get ya.  If you are not desperate enough to leap for the dollars initially, and stand your ground, they’ll buy out your neighbors, and pollute your well anyway.  That’s what the coal industry has been doing in Appalachia for 30 years, probably more.  That’s how the gas drilling companies did it in Texas, and what they’re doing in Pennsylvania.  This is the prospect facing the neighbors of the Scout Camp now.  Don’t sell out.  Don’t believe that they won’t use toxic chemicals on your land.  The law doesn’t protect you.

Renewable energy is the only way that makes any sense going forward.  Demand the government subsidize it, so that we can all afford it.

Please, talk to your neighbors about this.

Carolyn Crosen

Cochecton Center, NY

A neighbor abutting the camp found this:  http://www.tenmilerivertrader.com/blog/2008/04/05/natural-gas-extraction-at-tmr/  

You can learn more about the drilling and its effects at:  http://damascuscitizens.org/

Article in the New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/08/business/08gas.html?_r=1&pagewanted=1&sq=natural%20gas%20&st=nyt&scp=1&oref=slogin

 

 

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