News of Otsego County

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Oneonta

KUZMINSKI: More Gas? Only If Paired With Equal-Sized Renewable Project

Column by Adrian Kuzminski, May 5, 2018

More Gas? Only If Paired With
Equal-Sized Renewable Project

Adrian Kuzminski

When fracking was proposed in New York State a decade ago, the potential benefits were jobs, economic growth, lower energy prices, and energy security.
Opponents (like me) worried not only about local degradation of the environment but about the global consequences of methane seepage and emissions for the climate as a whole.
In most places outside of New York State, the frackers won the argument, and in fact much of what they claimed has come to pass.
Vast new reserves have been opened up by fracking, perhaps even more than anticipated. The United States has moved from deep energy dependence on often unfriendly foreign sources to a greater degree of energy self-sufficiency.
The US has become a net exporter of natural gas and is now able to leverage its new energy resources in foreign policy negotiations. Fracking has sparked renewed economic activity and a sense of energy security has been restored.
But the cost of these short-terms gains may yet overwhelm us. Professor Anthony Ingraffea from Cornell has a sobering new video on YouTube: “Shale Gas: The Technological Gamble That Should Not Have Been Taken.” Check it out; go to youtube.com and type “technological gamble” in the search line.
Ingraffea goes back six years and compares the climate change predictions made by a range of experts then with the latest data now available.
The new evidence shows those predictions to have been wide of the mark in the worst possible way. Global warming is happening much faster than predicted.

Cornell Professor Anthony Ingraffea’s conclusion in 2013 that natural gas contributes more to global warming than other fossil fuels changed the debate.

Ingraffea puts the blame for accelerating climate change squarely on the fracking revolution. As its critics have worried all along, the overall greenhouse emissions of fracked natural gas turn out to be as bad if not worse than any other fossil fuel.
Fracking has not been the “bridge fuel” the industry advocated. Ingraffea points out that fracking has extended the fossil fuel age, dramatically increased global warming, and, by providing continued low-priced gas and oil, frustrated the development of renewables.

This issue is playing out locally as well. There’s an energy crunch in Oneonta, with NYSEG interrupting gas service to some of their larger customers (SUNY, Fox, and some local businesses) because of limited supply.
In spite of the fracking boom in neighboring Pennsylvania, the infrastructure for delivering more gas in the Oneonta area right now doesn’t exist. The secondary pipeline serving the area isn’t big enough to meet demand.
The same arguments for the benefits of fracked gas used a decade ago are once again in circulation by those calling for more gas: It’ll bring jobs, stability, and economic growth.
Without a functioning economy we have social chaos, it’s true; but without environmental protections we have eco-catastrophe.
Transitioning to renewables remains the unavoidable answer in both cases. Renewables address the climate issue while providing economic relief with
jobs in the new industries we so desperately need. But it’s not happening fast enough.
That’s a political problem – one unfortunately not about to be solved.
The gas proponents now, as before, are focused on short-term benefits and seem oblivious to the bigger threat. Those who appreciate the long-term threat, on the other hand, have no immediate and practical solutions to the energy challenge.
Yes, of course, we must transition to renewables ASAP, but it’s not just a matter of effortlessly dropping one energy source and plugging in another.
There are serious technical problems (limits to electrical applications, intermittent power and inadequate electricity storage) and financial ones (funding the required large-scale infrastructure changes).
It’s time to recognize both the urgency of climate change as well as the need to buy some time to put in place technologies and financing that can transition us to renewables as quickly as possible.
It’s time to recognize both that the unintended consequences of gas may be worse than the problems it solves, and that those suffering from economic insecurity can’t afford to wait around indefinitely for promised but undelivered jobs in renewable energy.
What’s needed is restraint and prudence. Until we get to renewables, we’re clearly going to continue to overheat the planet to keep the economy going and avoid social breakdown.
How much more warming can we stand? It’s not clear, but major new pipelines and gas power plants are climate-denying projects that promise to take us over the edge.
In the meantime, we have growing local economic distress which might be relieved by delivering more gas to Oneonta by enlarging its existing pipeline.
Improving that pipeline and its capacity would clearly boost the local economy; a redone pipeline might also be more efficient.
But any expansion of gas consumption, even a small one like this, can no longer be justified unless correlated with a funded renewable energy project of at least the same scale.
Nothing less is acceptable any more.

Kuzminski, a retired Hartwick College philosophy professor and moderator of Sustainable Otsego, lives in Fly Creek.

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EDITORIAL: It’s Decision Time. But Is There The Will?

Editorial, May 5, 2018

It’s Decision Time.

But Is There The Will?

Gary Herzig

Question: Can Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig’s administration make tough decisions?
For one thing, whether or not to condemn the Twelve Tribes’ blighted Oneonta Ford property has been hanging fire since before Herzig took office. He’s now in his second term.
There is state money in hand to demolish what is a public hazard and state money to prepare the site for new construction. All that’s hanging fire is a tough decision.


Now, the April 30 deadline to clear out the venerable but – city inspectors have found – dangerous Oneonta Hotel is passed. Where’s the decision that’s been promised for months?
City Hall’s Board of Public Service declared the property unsafe in January 2017, 16 months ago. And still the building is occupied, and businesses are functioning on the ground floor.
You have to ask, what’s City Hall’s liability –and that of local taxpayers — if a fire or some other misfortune were to happen?
It’s past time to make a tough decision. Question: Can the Herzig Administration make it?
Question 2: Common Council has barely debated any issue publicly in months. Where are the Council members?

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Volunteers Do $70k In Service During Into The Streets

Volunteers Do $70k In Service

During Into The Streets

Ethan Stortecky, Treyvon Johnson, Lauren Weaver and Michelle Hansen clean up cigarette butts and other garbage from in front of Cynthia Marsh’s First People mural on Chestnut Street Extension as part of the 18th annual Into The Streets event. The event is put on by SUNY Oneonta students who, together with other volunteers from JobCORPS and citizens did over $70,000 worth of service around the city. Locations included the YMCA, Friends of Recovery, CANO, The Lord’s Table, Main Street and more. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
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HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for FRIDAY, APRIL 27
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for FRIDAY, APRIL 27

Art & Poetry Opening Gala

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ART & POETRY – 6 p.m. Contest to explore the beauty of living life free from the negative impacts of addiction. Opening Gala in the CANO Gallery, Wilber Mansion, 11 Ford Ave., Oneonta. Call 607-432-0090 Ext 106 or visit www.facebook.com/LEAFArtContest/

SPRING SUMMIT – 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 a.m. Event for Youth Food Movement featuring film, school garden discussion, Disco soup, live music, seed starting, internship/job info, Community Building. Cooperstown Farmers Market, 101 Main St., Pioneer alley, Cooperstown. Call 607-437-2862 or visit www.celebrateorigins.com/yfm

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Funeral Service Set For Freda Shultis, 94

Funeral Service Set For Freda Shultis, 94

Freda Shultis

ONEONTA – A graveside service for Freda “Fritz” Beliles Shultis 94, who died Dec. 16, 2017 will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, April 21, 2018 at the Oneonta Plains Cemetery.

Following the service there will be an open house at 40 Walnut St. until 2 p.m. with parking in The Main Street Baptist Church parking lot.

Arrangements are entrusted with Lewis, Hurley & Pietrobono Funeral Home, 51 Dietz St., Oneonta.

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HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for FRIDAY, APRIL 6
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for FRIDAY, APRIL 6

Fun At The Healthy Living Expo

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LIVING HEALTHIER – 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Features fun activities, vendors, a Red Cross Blood Drive, presentations on subjects ranging from preventing Lyme disease to a Tai Chi demonstration. Admission, Free. Foothills Performing Arts Center, Oneonta. Call 607-547-4230 or visit www.lheotsego.com

BENEFIT – 5 – 8 p.m. Spaghetti Dinner & Chinese Auction to benefit Cory Perrault and family while he battles cancer. Hartwick Fire Dept., 3088 Co. Hwy. 11, Hartwick. Call Beth O’Brien at 607-293-6046 or visit www.gofundme.com/the-perrault-family

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Dolores A. Cahill; Spent 50 Years With Salvation Army

IN MEMORIAM: Dolores A. Cahill;

Spent 50 Years With Salvation Army

SIDNEY – Dolores A. Cahill, who spent a half-century with the Salvation Army, passed away peacefully at home on April 3, 2018 in Sidney.

She was born in Queens, the daughter of Paul and Eleanor (Shields) Patane.  Dolores attended Julia Richman High School in New York City.

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21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103