NY governor bans fracking

Submitted: Dec 19, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

And New York doesn't even have the San Andreas Fault to worry about. -- blj

12-18-14 

Huffington Post 

New York Gov. Gets Kudos, Scorn After Fracking Ban

By MICHAEL VIRTANEN

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/18/fracking-ban-new-york_n_6349336.html

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is getting heaped with praise by environmentalists and scorn by business interests for a planned state ban on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, even as he insists the decision wasn't his.

Residents statewide remain almost evenly split on the issue, and the divisions are clear, pollsters said Thursday. The decision announced Wednesday followed Cuomo's re-election last month, which the Democrat won easily as expected.

Quinnipiac University Poll's Mickey Carroll said the political impact is likely to be limited and the decision was predictable.

"One area where it's going to hurt old Andrew is in the Southern Tier. They wanted the money," Carroll said. "Andrew Cuomo, for all the baloney that's written about him, is a liberal Democrat."

Marist Poll's Lee Miringoff said the decision plays well toward a national Democratic constituency, if that was part of any calculation.

"Whether Cuomo is keeping an eye to that or not, it's anybody's guess," Miringoff said. "But certainly if you ever are considering taking the show on the road, you want to be on the side of fracking that he's on for Democrats."

Cuomo has said for two years he'd await his health department's analysis and let science determine the outcome.

Following his pledge again Wednesday to defer to experts on "this highly technical question," his health and conservation commissioners described analyses that identified contamination threats to water, soil and air, the absence of reliable health studies or proof that drillers can protect the public, as well as diminishing economic prospects.

"The time to do it is when gas prices are plummeting," Miringoff noted. "In the short term, this cushions the blow."

Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens said he'll issue the ban early next year. He said 63 percent of the state's 12 million acres with these possible gas deposits would already be off-limits because of protections for the New York City and Syracuse watersheds, other drinking water sources and certain other areas, while court rulings have recognized towns' authority to individually ban hydrofracking through zoning, further limiting financial prospects.

Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said 4,500 staff hours were spent reviewing health studies about the drilling method of extracting oil and gas from deep underground by pumping huge amounts of water, sand and chemicals at high pressures to break up rock formations. It's being done in many other states, including neighboring Pennsylvania.

Zucker said his counterparts in several other states told him they were not consulted before their high-volume hydraulic fracturing began. He said he wouldn't want his family to live near it, and suggested it could be like secondhand smoke, which studies eventually identified as harmful.

Cuomo was asked about the decision again on Thursday.

"If the state health commissioner doesn't want his kids living there, I don't want my kids living there and I don't want any New Yorker's kids living there," he said. "I am not going to put health at risk for jobs. I'm not going to make that choice."

Siena Research Institute's Steve Greenberg said only Cuomo himself can answer whether it was a political decision. He said if there was an advantage, it would have been in the fall when the governor was having trouble with the left side of the Democratic Party, making it easier for him to say now it was apolitical.

"The bottom line is supporters are going to be unhappy with this decision. Opponents of fracking are going to be happy with this decision," Greenberg said. "Those who are unhappy are going to say, 'See, it was a political decision.' Those who are happy are going to say, 'It was based on the merits.'"

 

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It's Yoo, don't UC?

Submitted: Dec 14, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

With the release last week of the heavily redacted 500-page executive summary of the US Senate Study of the Central Intelligence Agency's Detention and Interrogation, the name John Yoo has surfaced again. Yoo, as you remember, was one of two assistant US attorneys general who drafted the infamous "torture memos," (1)which legally justified the use of "enhanced interrogation" techniques employed against al Qaeda, Taliban, Pashtuns, and assorted Iraqis and others captured in the maniacal US "war on terror" still raging on.

Yoo's narrow view of what constitutes torture is inversely proportional to his view of the powers of the president. (2)

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The two voices of California agriculture: Bragging and Whining

Submitted: Dec 10, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Although these "articles" appear in mainstreem media outlets. their true audience is state and federal politicians, agencies and, in general, any public source of funding and any regulator who can be bought, rented or silenced. With the passage of state legislation to begin the process of regulation of groundwater, California agribusiness flakmeisters will be concocting tales of wonder and tales of woe about agricultural forever, as usual, when some public concern slightly impedes the forward march of their commodities' careers in the market. -- blj

 

 

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Merced County Board of Supervisors in their own words: Water Update, October 21, 2014

Submitted: Dec 06, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Once again and despite the severe drought, our supervisors are out of their depth. They have responded to the groundwater crisis like a concussed, four-man defensive line.

Reference: AB 1739: Groundwater Management, Dickinson, Chaptered Sept. 16, 2014. http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=2013... -- blj

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Present: Chairman Gerry O'Banion, supervisors Hub Walsh, Lynn Davis and John Pedrozo. Absent: Supervisor Deidre Kelsey.

 

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Unclogged with either denial or hustle

Submitted: Nov 30, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

  

Sometimes, we hope we are honest enough to admit, we are struck speechless by just how incapable our "elected" bought-and-sold government is to lead, leaving the comprehension of the situation to the ordinary citizen, who has a bunch of other more immediate matters on her mind. And it's rare to find anything written or broadcast that gives us the real hope only a piece of thought unclogged with denial and hustle can bring.

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"Buffalo likes Bergman"

Submitted: Nov 22, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 News of the recent extreme snowfall in Buffalo reminded one member of the Badlands editorial board and former resident of Buffalo of an hour in the early 1970's he once spent in a neighborhood tavern near the intersection of Delavan and Delaware avenues in that city.  He related that when he entered the tavern, about 8 p.m., snow was already nearly to the window sills. The group at the bar was talking movies, specifically those of the Swedish director,  Ingmar Bergman. This was not a crowd of university film majors, just ordinary working men in the predominantly Italian neighborhood. He became fascinated by their encyclopedic knowledge of the films as they went on and on describing to each other scene after scene.  At one point, he  asked what they thought of Fellini.

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Merced City Council notes, 11-17-14

Submitted: Nov 18, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Monday night's Merced City Council meeting featured two "presentations" ("reports" carry more legal heft: from Police Chief Norm Andrade and Director of Economic Development, Frank Quintero.

Chief Andrade emphasized that although the force has lost manpower and has had to place remaining personnel primarily in enforcement rather than outreach and prevention, Merced police officers remain highly trained and professional. He and some council members agreed that the city must commit to increasing funding to increase manpower. As for all that great technology out there for sale to police forces today, Andrade expressed the opinion that "the toys" still needed officers to use them.

Mayor Stan Thurston commented that the city ought to commit to funding at least one more officer every year for awhile.

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Probably not a surprise in Oildale or Taft bars

Submitted: Nov 14, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Not only are fracking economics "dys-economic" (1) but the process -- it can be revealed now for some reason -- is most harmful to the health of its own workers. The great boom in employment promised by all the promoters of this technology, toxic above and below ground, apparently comes at a high price...to the workers.

Note:

(1) "Wells run dry for frackers," Badlands Journal, Nov. 5, 2014

 

 

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Heads up for Tree Cities USA

Submitted: Nov 13, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 When they were planting the Urban Forest, did they ever imagine a really severe drought?

11-12-14

Ukiah Daily Journal

Heads up for Tree Cities USA

Trees may need extra care, officials say

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