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OCCA ECO-BULLETIN

September 9, 2011

ECO-BULLETIN FROM OTSEGO COUNTY CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION

September 9, 2011: Vol. 4, No. 21

Eco-bulletin headlines this issue:

DEC BEGINS 90-DAY PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD ON DRAFT HYDRAULIC FRACTURING STUDY

AUTUMN WALK AT BETTY, WILBUR STATE PARK IS THIS SATURDAY

OCCA SEEKS CONSERVATIONIST OF THE YEAR NOMINEES

SRBC MAY EXTEND PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD ON PROPOSED RULEMAKING ACTION

ANNUAL DINNER TO FEATURE SILENT AUCTION

DEC BEGINS 90-DAY PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD ON DRAFT HYDRAULIC FRACTURING STUDY: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation opened the public comment period on its revised draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement on Wednesday, September 7. In addition, the agency will issue its proposed regulations governing high-volume hydraulic fracturing in early October. The public comment period for the revised draft SGEIS concludes Dec. 12. In a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens, OCCA had asked that DEC extend the original 60-day comment period on the dSGEIS to ensure a transparent and accessible process with ample time and opportunity for the public to weigh in on this important document. The public comment period for the regulations will begin in early October and will run concurrently with the SGEIS public comment period. DEC plans to hold four public hearings during the comment period for the SGEIS and regulations in November. The hearings will be held in counties within the Marcellus Shale region, as well as New York City. Exact dates and locations will be released in early October. In addition to an extended public comment period, OCCA also asked DEC to consider additional public hearings in Otsego and neighboring counties, where public interest has been shown to be high. Under the public comment schedule, the public will have more than 150 days to review the proposed environmental mitigation measures in the draft SGEIS, which were released July 1, and more than 90 days to review the SGEIS sections and mitigation measures addressing socioeconomic, community character, visual, noise and transportation impacts. Once the comment period is complete, DEC will review the comments on the draft SGEIS and proposed regulations and prepare responses to be released with the final SGEIS. No permits for high-volume hydraulic fracturing will be issued until the SGEIS is finalized and DEC issues the required Findings Statement. Comments should focus on changes in the 2011 revised draft SGEIS. Comments previously submitted on the 2009 draft will be considered in the final SGEIS and do not need to be resubmitted. The revised draft SGEIS proposes new mitigation measures to address impacts to communities and local governments. A significant mitigation measure is to limit simultaneous construction of well pads and wells in proximity to each other. DEC will consider this measure in consultation with local governments to lessen cumulative impacts. This approach would help mitigate impacts on local community character, as well as cumulative noise, visual and traffic impacts. Additional proposed mitigation measures include: traffic – require drillers to produce detailed transportation plans outlining the proposed number of trucks, truck routes and times of day of truck operations, and assessing the conditions of those roads; noise – site-specific measures could include setbacks, site layout design that takes advantage of topography, noise barriers and special permit conditions; and visual – site-specific measures could include screening, relocation, camouflage or disguise, using non-reflective materials and controlling off-site migration of lighting. To learn more about the revised draft SGEIS’s proposed mitigation measures, visit: the full draft SGEIS: http://www.dec.ny.gov/energy/75370.html; Fact Sheet on Socio-economic Impacts: http://www.dec.ny.gov/energy/76878.html; Fact Sheet on Traffic, Cumulative, Visual & Noise: http://www.dec.ny.gov/energy/76873.html.

AUTUMN WALK AT BETTY, WILBUR STATE PARK IS THIS SATURDAY: Joe Ritton will lead an autumn walk at Betty and Wilbur Davis State Park on Saturday, September 10 at 3 p.m. This fairly easy 2.7-mile hike on “Andy’s Trail” includes wooded areas, meadows and panoramic mountain-top views. Participants should meet at the Sunset Pavilion parking lot. The walk is jointly sponsored by Otsego County Conservation Association and Glimmerglass State Park. Located in Westford, Betty and Wilbur Davis State Park is a satellite facility of Glimmerglass State Park. Directions: I-88, Exit 18, Rte. 7 W, County Rt. 34 N, County Rt. 36A W to park entrance; Rte. 166, County Rte. 35 S, County Rte. 36A E to park entrance. Since 2001, OCCA has organized and/or co-sponsored nature walks on local trails. Other confirmed dates, venues and hike leaders for 2011 are: October 23, The Robert V. Riddell State Park, Trish and Steve Kent; and January 15, 2012, The Robert V. Riddell State Park, snowshoe hike with the Kents. For a complete hike schedule, details and directions, visit admin.

OCCA SEEKS CONSERVATIONIST OF THE YEAR NOMINEES: The Otsego County Conservation Association is seeking nominations for its annual Conservationist of the Year award. The award will be given to an individual, citizens’ group or grassroots organization, governmental body, non-profit organization with 501 (c)(3) standing or a business that has made a positive difference in environmental protection, preservation or education in Otsego County. Nominations must be submitted by October 7. The award will be presented at the OCCA annual dinner and meeting, which will be held at the Holiday Inn Oneonta on Friday, November 18. In regard to nominations of individuals, preference will be given to nominees residing in Otsego County. Environmental professionals are not eligible to be nominated based on achievements accomplished for their compensated employment. Businesses cannot be nominated for a profit-making enterprise. Areas of interest for nomination are water quality protection and improvement, wetland preservation, stream improvement, stream, lake or river clean-ups, riparian buffer or tree plantings, recycling efforts, non-motorized open-space recreation enhancement, land-use planning efforts, or soil conservation efforts. Other areas of environmental endeavor may also be considered. Nominations may be made by individuals, citizens’ groups or grassroots organizations, governmental bodies, non-profit organizations with 501 (c)(3) standing or businesses.A special OCCA committee will review nominations and designate the OCCA Conservationist of the Year. The decision of the committee will be final.No monetary award will be given to the recipient of the award; however the recipient(s) will be the guests of OCCA at its annual dinner and will be publically recognized at this event. A press release will be issued announcing the recipient, and an announcement will appear in “The Lookout,” OCCA’s quarterly newsletter. To obtain a nomination form, contact OCCA at 547-4488 or e-mail admin. Forms may also be downloaded from the OCCA website at http://occainfo.org/documents/COYGuidelinesandApplication.pdf Otsego County’s oldest environmental conservation organization, OCCA is a private, non-profit membership group dedicated to promoting the enjoyment and sustainable use of Otsego County’s natural resources through education, advocacy, resource management, research, and planning. For more information on OCCA, or to donate, visit www.occainfo.org

SRBC MAY EXTEND PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD ON PROPOSED RULEMAKING ACTION: Susquehanna River Basin Commission staff, based on the level of public interest indicated in comments received on proposed rule changes with regard to water use and withdrawal projects, will recommend that the current written comment deadline of August 23, 2011 be extended to November 1, 2011. OCCA was among area groups and citizens who asked that the SRBC further consider the possible risks posed by unconventional gas drilling and related development to clean water, aquatic life, and human health before adopting the proposed changes to 18 CFR Part 806. The final decision to extend the comment deadline will be made by the full commission at its September 15 meeting at the Country Inn & Suites Cooperstown, 4470 State Highway 28, Milford, beginning at 8:30 a.m.

ANNUAL DINNER TO FEATURE SILENT AUCTION: OCCA’s Annual Dinner and Meeting, to be held on Friday, November 18 at the Holiday Inn Oneonta, will feature a new Silent Auction component this year. Highlights of auction donations to date include: an original limited edition giclée print by David Kiehm of Dead Drift Studio; a two-hour barge tour of Otsego Lake (maximum 20 people); CSA package from Fox Falls Farm, New Lisbon; and a pair of house seat tickets to “Billy Elliot” on Broadway complete with backstage tour and signed poster. All Silent Auction proceeds will benefit OCCA’s programs to protect and preserve the environment. Those wishing to donate an item or service may e-mail admin for more information.

OCCA needs your help to keep fighting the threats to our natural resources. Got a minute? Visit our website and look at everything else OCCA is doing – and please consider an online donation whenever you can. Click on www.occainfo.org and look for the Network for Good logo at the top right of the home page.

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