November 30, 2010

New York State Assembly Passes a Moratorium Bill!

Paterson Expected to Sign It!

In an historic vote, the New York State Assembly enacted a temporary ban on hydraulic fracturing which will remain in effect until May 15, 2011. The bill, A11443B/S08129B was approved by the Senate last summer and is now on its way to Governor Paterson, who is expected to sign it into law.

The de facto moratorium that has been in effect for the past two years can be attributed to Governor Paterson because he ordered the NYS DEC to prepare a new environmental impact statement to set standards for issuing permits for high-volume hydraulic fracturing and the DEC has yet to finalize its work. By signing this bill, Governor Paterson will cement his reputation as the first Governor in the country to protect his citizens from the precipitous onslaught of dangerous and poorly regulated shale gas extraction.

The vote in the Assembly caps an incredible two weeks for those of us who have been working hard to combat the corporations that intend to turn our communities into sacrificial energy zones.


On November 17th, the Broome County legislature rejected, for the second time, a plan to lease county lands for drilling. The 10-3 vote was an embarrassing setback for County Executive Barbara Fiala, who has recklessly been pushing fracking since landsmen first showed up in the county.
On the same day, Pittsburgh became the first city in the nation to ban drilling outright. Residents of that city already have had a taste of fracking – literally. Beginning in 2008 the city’s drinking water began turning smelly and brown after huge quantities of drilling wastewater were dumped into the Monongahela River, which supplies the city.

The day after Thanksgiving, Governor Paterson acknowledged the role ordinary citizens have played in defeating dangerous drilling saying “This is a very good example of public participation. Our DEC…originally ruled that hydrofracking would not affect the water quality in the area, but we’ve received additional information and have not been able to come to a conclusion as to whether or not this is a good idea… We’re not going to risk public safety or water quality… At this point, I would say that the hydrofracking opponents have raised enough of an argument to thwart us going forward at this time.”

Mother Nature lends a hand

On November 18th drilling giant EnCana announced that it was pulling out of Luzerne County, PA because its exploratory wells indicated that “wells were unlikely to produce natural gas in commercial quantities.” Is this the beginning of the unraveling of the much ballyhooed Marcellus Shale play, as predicted by Arthur Berman? Only time will tell…






required posts or presentations (10):

field trip #1 or alternate

natural history

dutch/english new york

revolutionary war (presentation)

hudson river school/19th century romanticism

working waterfront

hudson cities/rust belt (presentation)

interview with water or waterfront worker

nonprofit/advocacy group

new york city water system


The Access to the Region’s Core, or ARC, project is the largest federal transportation project in the entire country and it’s here in our backyard. On October 7th, NJ’s Governor Christie announced that the project would be shut down because the project will exceed its budget and cost the state millions of dollars. The very next day, on October 8th, Christie announced that he would reconsider this decision and would work out a deal with the transportation authority of NJ. Residents were upset about the cancellation because nearly 600 million has already been spent toward the project, and the citizens did not want $600 million in tax dollars to be spent on just a hole in the ground. The Port Authority of NJ and NY has pledged 3 billion and New Jersey has committed 2.7 billion toward the project. The tunnel has the potential to connect Manhattan and New Jersey in order to double the train use during peak hours in and out of the city. NJ Transit and Amtrak share a one hundred year old tunnel between Manhattan and New Jersey, but this plan would add two more tracks which would dramatically increase the number of commuters. The project has also created nearly 6,000 construction-related jobs and could create 40,000 when the project is completed. If NJ does not proceed with the project, they could have to repay half of the 600 million already spent to the federal government. The price tag for the project was 5 billion in 2005, but rose to 8 billion in 2008, and is now at 9 or 10 billion. I guess we’ll see what happens.

Works Cited:
Associated Press. “Christie Cancels 20-Year Hudson River Tunnel Project.”  Fox News, October 7, 2010.
Sherman, Ted. “N.J. Gov. Chris Christie Agrees to Reconsider Hudson River Tunnel Project.”  The Star Ledger, October 8, 2010.

As part of the effort to make the marshlands along the shore of western Brooklyn more usable, the Gowanus canal was constructed in 1848. The new canal fostered a thriving manufacturing and industrial district along it banks. Along with the occasional input of raw sewage from the canal’s CSOs this became the main source of pollution that we see in the canal today. After world war 2 the area slowly fell into decline with many of its buildings becoming neglected and abandoned. The Gowanus Canal Conservancy is an independent environmental 501(3)(c) nonprofit organization. It’s mission statement states that it strives to facilitate the restoration, preservation, and green development of the canal. They do this by creating volunteer based programs such as Clean & Green. This particular program focuses on clearing debris and rubbish from the street ends that meet the banks of the canal. The conservancy draws the majority of its volunteers from the surrounding communities of Redhook, Carrol Gardens, Park Slope and Gowanus.  The conservancy also organizes public informational meetings to keep those in the surrounding communities informed of the current happenings and new developments involving the canal. The GCC also relies on monetary support from its community members. These range from smaller local artisan and craft businesses to larger entities such as the Brooklyn Brewery and Brooklyn college. All stand to benefit from the clean up and invigoration of the canal.

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The Friends of Hunter’s Point South is a partner of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, which is a non profit organization that influences the development of waterfront, shoreline, and connected areas of the Hudson River upland of New York City.  The Metro Waterfront Alliance was started as a project by the Municipal Art Society in 2000, and emerged as an independent nonprofit in 2007.  It exists as a medium for unifying over 400 voices of the individual nonprofits that make up the alliance.

The mission statement of the Metro Waterfront Alliance states that it works “to transform the New York and New Jersey Harbor and Waterways to make them cleaner and more accessible, a vibrant place to play, learn and work with great parks, great jobs and great transportation for all.”  In short, they want to make sure that the waterfront is not blocked by highways and railings, and that what access exists presently and in the future isn’t exclusive to residents of luxury waterfront condos.

The Friends of Hunter’s Point South was founded this year as a community based volunteer group focused on making sure that future planned developments such as those outlined in Vision 2020 are carried out responsibly and in a way that enhances the access to open spaces along the waterfront.

Everyone should go sign their petition here to support their cause.

(They only have 19 signatures so far and it literally takes less than 90 seconds. Get on it!)

Waterfront Alliance

This is going to be a school!

This is going to be a school!

project proposal

November 22, 2010

For my project I plan on talking and interviewing the man that plans on designing a river in Beacon, New York. I remember Rob bringing up his name in one of the first few classes. I don’t have a lot more to write because I need to find his name before I can google and contact him to see what his project is all about. I just remember being extremely intrigued when I heard about the project. If this isn’t a good project I could also explore the ‘future of Bannerman’s Island and castle’.


November 22, 2010

Max Schupfer


“Riverkeeper is an independent, member-supported environmental
organization founded on the premise that citizens themselves must roll
up their sleeves to defend our waterways.”

Riverkeeper is an environmental non-profit organization aimed to protect
the Hudson River and is also the first “keeper” organization to be
founded under the Waterkeeper Alliance. The Waterkeeper Alliance is an
environmental umbrella organization connecting many movements working to
protect bays, rivers, lakes and so forth with the name “keeper” attached
to it, such as Riverkeeper and Soundkeeper. Currently the Waterkeeper
alliance is best known for its work concerning the April 2010 BP oil
spill with numerous member organizations working together.
Riverkeeper was founded in 1983 in response to careless industrial
pollution contaminating the river. Today Riverkeeper is fighting many
different issues in order to protect the Hudson and its surroundings.
The organization does this by investigations of industrial zones and
developmental projects, litigation, and regulation of water pollution.
Some of the polluters Riverkeeper defeated include General Electric, Con
Edison, Metropolitan Transportation Authority and New York State
Department of transportation.
Riverkeeper is considered to be a large non-profit organization and gets
all its contributions from 5,000 plus “private and public supporters”.
Some of the large supporters include Google, AIG, and Hess Foundation
Riverkeeper’s latest news includes two victories against the Entergy
plant in Indian point, New York, where the organization “successfully
fended off two attempts to dismiss critical safety issues” (Article link



final project proposal

November 22, 2010

Final Project Proposal: Raising of the Bayonne Bridge

For my final project I would like to research the raising of the Bayonne Bridge. Currently the span of the bridge makes it impossible for larger container ships to pass under its 151 ft clearance. I will research all of the current options for the bridge as well as the pros/cons on the environment and economy. After reviewing all the options I will come up with my own potential solution to the issue. I also would like to visit the site, interview people and take photos to put into my presentation.


Final Proposal

November 22, 2010

For my final I would like to focus on the Hudson River Park, which I became interested in after my last organization post. The park has many parts and different groups that look over it. I would like to come in contact with somebody from the Hudson River Park Trust or the Friends of Hudson River Park. The park would be awesome to explore and research and I think is a good choice considering it is still under construction. The park stretches miles down the west side of Manhattan and is open to the public. I would like to research the economy of the park and these groups and also any issues surrounding the park. There are also many businesses on the park that I would like to find out how they are incorporated or not, like Chelsea Piers.

Sunnyside/ Croton/ Kensico

November 21, 2010

We started our trip up the Hudson on from school. We drove up the westside highway through Manhattan and the Bronx. Towards the city limits the skyline began to dwindle as buildings were replaced with trees. Another 30 minutes up the Hudson and we stopped on the border of Irvington and Tarrytown to visit Washington Irving’s home, Sunnyside. We were met in the tour office by an old woman dressed in 19th century attire. She walked us down a hill to the banks of the Hudson where Irving’s home was. The home was humble, but cozy and covered with vines. The home once sat on a beach surrounded by two inlets where people could dock boats or fish, but a few years after Irving bought it, the railway was built. Irving complained that the trains were bad for his asthma.
The next stop was a drive through Tarrytown, Sleepy Hollow and Ossining. We drove passed Sing Sing prison, but couldn’t see anything over the walls. After taking some back roads, we ended up in Croton Point Park, which was once a landfill, but has since been turned into a public park. Somehow we found ourselves driving up a one-way gravel road to a small lodge. We knocked on the door and walked in and were greeted by a woman. She introduced herself and invited us to join her for lunch. The dining table was set with a whole chicken and left over cod she made earlier. We ate and talked to her about local environmental issues and her role in helping the county move towards a greener future. We drove east and up into the hills to Croton Reservoir and dam. The dam was a great site and a mixture of natural and manmade waterfalls. We drove to the top and walked across the bridge, where we got a great view of the landscape. We drove even further into the hills, where we got somewhat lost in some hunting grounds. Eventually we got back on the main road and headed south to Kensico Reservoir. This dam had a big park where children were playing and a large pool was carved out. It was built with large rocks and Ace and I climbed the dam up about 30 feet.
We then headed back towards the city passing through White Plains and other small towns before reaching the Bronx again. We wanted to get a view of a new filtration plant being built in Van Cortland Park, but it was very secure and hidden. We had to walk into the adjacent golf course to get a peak, but it was still hard to see. The plant has taken six years to build so far and will take another three. We finished our trip with a drive through the Bronx and Manhattan.

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