COOPERSTOWN – The Town of Middlefield success in banning fracking within its borders played an “important role” in the decision to ban fracking in New York State, Otsego 2000 President Nicole Dillingham said in a statement released a few moments ago.
“It is significant to note that the legal decisions in the Dryden/Middlefield cases played an important role in the analysis,” wrote Dillingham. “In these cases, the New York Court of Appeals upheld the right of local governments to ban fracking based on zoning and police powers.
“As a result, much of New York became unavailable for fracking and the economic benefits to the State or proceeding were greatly diminished.”
COOPERSTOWN – Nicole Dillingham, Otsego 2000 president, was in Pittsburgh today testifying against a proposed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule that she said ” invites a major conversion to natural gas throughout the country because natural gas.”
“However,” she said, “methane itself is a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and the environmental damage caused by the extraction, processing and waste disposal associated with natural gas use were not even considered by the EPA.”
EDUCATION: B.A. University of Illinois, J.D. Northwestern School of Law
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: Law, Small Business Owner
Board president, Otsego 2000 (sponsor of Glimmerglass Film Days, Otsego Outdoors, and the Cooperstown Farmers’ Market)
Volunteer legal services for Susquehanna Animal Shelter
Aceing Autism (Board member and coach for children with autism)
FAMILY: Married to Gaylord Dillingham, four daughters, five grandchildren
PHILOSOPHY OF GOVERNMENT:
Government should serve and protect its residents, encourage economic growth, control public spending, and make sure all sectors share in services such as Broadband, good schools, and clean air and water.
MAJOR ISSUES FACING OTSEGO COUNTY:
Poor management, blocked decision making, inability to work with State agencies to secure needed grants, high property taxes, lack of creativity in anticipating and solving problems.
Integrity. Leadership. Strong advocacy skills. I prefer bi-partisan cooperation with a focus on working together to protect and grow our communities.
My opponent is a 12-year incumbent who has shown a fundamental misunderstanding of the value of our community. He was pro fracking, pro use of fracking waste as a road deicer (which leads to water contamination through run-off), and pro taking of private property by eminent domain for pipelines. At the same time, he was against strengthening Home Rule, against the Land Bank which helps eliminate blighted properties, and is against controls on dangerous CNG trucks on our undivided state roads. District 9 also has the lowest level of proposed infrastructure projects pending before Otsego Now. This record shows disdain for the assets which now exist in our region and are our path to a successful future.
I have the energy and experience to bring about positive change in my District and at County through advocacy for programs and grants available through State agencies. We must support our existing businesses and farms, protect the clean air and water we are lucky to enjoy, make sure our roads are safe for our citizens, and protect our many historic assets which are valuable now and will be even more valuable in the future. I will put my experience as a lawyer and an advocate to work for Richfield, Springfield and the County.
(reprinted from this week’s Hometown Oneonta, Freeman’s Journal)
By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
HARTWICK SEMINARY – When Stacie Haynes first arrived at the Susquehanna SPCA, the new executive director walked through the building and made a list of what needed work.
Among the issues she found were a leaky roof and a mold-covered poster in what would become the surgery room. “It’s all pressboard in there,” she said, “There’s not enough stainless steel, so you can never really disinfect every inch.”
Repairs were done but, three years into her tenure, Haynes and her board of directors recognizes the shelter has far outgrown the repurposed motorcycle shop that has served as the shelter since 1981.
RICHFIELD SPRINGS – Sometimes with apocalyptic descriptions, activists Bill Huston from Binghamton and Craig Stevens from Silver Lake, Pa., held sway for much of this evening’s informational meeting on XNG’s “virtual pipeline” of trucks bearing compressed natural gas across Otsego County.
For instance, if a “fully loaded” Titan, one brand of truck the two said XNG is using, exploded, it would be the equivalent of 92 tons of TNT, Huston said at one point.
But the evening ended with a reassuring note, as Fly Creek Fire Chief Mike Thayer, in full uniform, went to the front of the room and said of the XNG truck rollover on Route 205 Sept. 5 in the Town of Otsego, “I think it was handled very well.”
By JIM KEVLIN • The Freeman’s Journal/HOMETOWN ONEONTA
Editions of Thursday-Friday, Dec. 25-26, 2014
Today, Albany. Tomorrow, Kalangadoo, Australia.
While local fracking foes were elated by Governor Cuomo’s Wednesday, Dec. 16, announcement that he plans to ban the controversial practice in New York State, they were already looking beyond.
The widest-reaching is Lou Allstadt, the retired Mobil executive vice president, whose short-term plans include appearing on a Jan. 12 panel at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club. Fellow panelists will be Angus Gillespie, a Shell vice president from The Hague, and Mary Nichols, California Air Resources Board chair.
“I hope we don’t spend the whole time on (fracking),” said Allstadt, who for the past year also has been active in the Citizens Climate Lobby, which is asking Congress to enact a fee at the mine head and the drilling pad to encourage customers to move away from fossil fuels. “The whole big picture is renewables, and how do you transition to that.”
As fracking foes gathered at Cafe Ommegang within hours of the governor’s announcement to celebrate their victory, discussion – and subsequent interviews – turned to a number of outstanding issues:
• A ban on the spreading of sometimes radioactive brine from fracking operations in northeast Pennsylvania on Upstate roads to reduce dust. Dumping of other kinds of fracking waste in Upstate landfills is also a concern.
• Halting the “fracking infrastructure,” as Otsego 2000 President Nicole Dillingham put it, including the Constitution Pipeline through Delaware County and a new compressor station on the existing Dominion Pipeline at Minden, Montgomery County, 10 miles north of Cherry Valley.
• Quality-of-life initiatives to position Otsego County for an era where fossil fuels play less of a role. Dillingham mentioned promoting organic farming, the breweries and farmers’ markets. Bob Eklund, New Lisbon, said the Butternut Valley Alliance hopes to encourage solar energy, and promote its towns as artists’ communities.
In June, Allstadt was on Capitol Hill with 600 individuals affiliated with the Citizens Climate Lobby who in a few days were able to discuss the fee idea with 507 of the 535 senators and congressmen.
The fee would raise the price of fossil fuels, discouraging their use, and the revenues generated would be distributed to Americans to use as they wish, he said. At-border fees would prevent foreign companies from unfairly competing with U.S. concerns.
“Just doing away with fracking doesn’t help you unless you reduce total fossil-fuel use,” said Allstadt, who has received queries, in addition to Kalangadoo, from anti-frackers in Canada, the U.K., Ireland, Poland and Bulgaria, and provided them primarily with scientific studies that support the cause.
Allstadt declined to predict when legislation will be introduced, saying the Citizens don’t wish to see that happen until a clear bipartisan majority of support is achieved. “This is not a liberal or conservative issue,” he said. “We all have to deal with climate change.”
While it is supporting fight against the “fracking infrastructure,” already filing testimony in Schoharie-based Stop the Pipeline’s legal challenge, Otsego 2000 is also moving on, said Dillingham. It organized its second Glimmerglass Film Days in November, and is proceeding with its historic preservation awards and programs to help farmers.
The fracking ban, though, “removed a cloud that has been hanging over our region,” allowing people buy homes, move their families here and start businesses without worry, she said.
Since the fracking decision, U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook, has visited the county, and told a Sustainable Otsego delegation meeting in Cooperstown that he will introduce a resolution recognizing climate change and the need to combat it, according to SO Moderator Adrian Kuzminski.
In some ways, it will be harder to combat multiple manifestations of “fracking infrastructure” than promoting the single focus of the ban, said Kuzminski, whose listserve was able to turn out hundreds of anti-frackers on short notice.
Still, “it reaffirms some kind of belief that the system is not totally broken, politically, that big money will carry the day,” said Kuzminski, a philosopher who has written such books as “Fixing the System,” a history of population. “Coming up against the largest industry on the planet, it turned out they couldn’t turn the trick because of grass-roots resistance.”
On the surface, the
argument makes sense,
Boston-based Xpress Natural Gas’ trucks, carrying fuel from fracking fields in Northeastern Pennsylvania across Otsego County to the Iroquois Pipeline near Little Falls, are legal carriers and should be allow to use
New York State roads just like
any other legal carrier.
After all, what’s next? Should we then ban oil tankers? Suburban Propane delivery trucks? Dump trucks, where pebbles might from time to time slip out from under the tarps? Loud motorcycles? Model Ts and other antiques that don’t operate at
current fuel-efficiency standards?
Oh where, oh where will
There’s a certain logic to the argument. But, honestly, XNG trucks have caused four “incidents” – three down-and-out accidents, no doubt about it (Google “XNG” at www.allotsego.com) – since they began crossing the county en masse 18 months ago.
Have there been three oil-tanker crashes? Three Suburban Propane truck crashes? Sure, pebbles have slipped from under tarps, but the results are an occasional cracked windshield; should we ban them completely for that?
Face it, the XNG trucks are different. For one, there are just that many more of them: 80 a day, back and forth, for 160 individual trips. In 500 days, that’s 80,000 trips. The magnitude alone assures there will continue to be “incidents” – and worse.
“Four ‘incidents’ in Otsego County. That tells me these trucks are different from other vehicles,” said Nicole Dillingham, president of Otsego 2000, the Cooperstown-based environmental group that has called for action where local governments have not. “They are too heavy. They’re top heavy. And the drivers are tired.”
Reporters for this newspaper have covered the crashes. In two cases, the trucks that have fallen over did so on Route 205 north
of Hartwick hamlet, a sparsely populated stretch.
The Wednesday, July 11, crash just shy of Schuyler Lake, was of a different magnitude – or easily could have been. The fully loaded northbound rig came over a very slight rise on a very slight curve and toppled off the road. Just a 10th of a mile
further on – maybe 150 yards; a
football field and a half – was the hamlet itself: homes and people.
Looking at the scene, it would be hard for any sensible person to conclude: a little bit farther, that same rig under very similar circumstances could have had serious – even fatal – results.
No, we’re not being overdramatic. Go see for yourself.
Equally troubling is a circumstance that’s becoming clear: In the three cases, the trailers being pulled by cabs slipped off the pavement for a moment, sank into too-soft shoulders and toppled. On many, many stretches of Route 205 and Route 28, the shoulders are the same and, given 16,000 trips every 100 days, it’s going to happen again and again.
It doesn’t have to be.
Dillingham’s been getting the run-around. She goes to the towns; they say it has to be handled at the state level by the Department of Transportation. She goes to the DOT, it says its hands are tied without a request for a “traffic study” from the towns along the route.
A traffic study might well determine the trucks are simply too heavy for the roads, and order them onto four-lanes – I-88 or I-81 to the New York State Thruway (I-90) and, hence, Little Falls. There’s a ready alternative.
But, according to Oneonta Town Supervisor Bob Wood, chairman of the county Association of Town Supervisors, his colleagues believe a truck
being operated legally should be
allowed on any legal roads. They tell him: What’s next? Are we going to ban Suburban Propane delivery trucks? And there we are.
What are some other options? Maybe a petition by citizens would convince the DOT to act. Maybe a request – firmly worded – from the county Board of Representatives, which next meets Wednesday, Aug. 1, plus vigorous follow-up, would do the trick. Certainly, our state delegation – Senator Seward and Assemblymen Magee, Miller, etc. – could dent DOT’s resolve to do nothing.
Right now, Otsego 2000 is drafting a resolution for town boards to consider passing. And Wood said Dillingham is welcome to talk at one of his association’s monthly meetings. He should invite her to do that soonest.
OK, there have been four “incidents,” three of them crashes. We’ve been lucky it hasn’t happened in a populated hamlet. But it will.
Let’s not wait until an XNG rig plows into someone’s living room or rolls over someone’s mobile home, with perhaps a fatal effect.
Bad things can happen, we can see. Let’s act before they do.
COOPERSTOWN – The county Board of Representatives heard a message this morning: Prepared to be sued.
First, Otsego 2000 President Nicole Dillingham appeared at the county board’s monthly meeting with a letter, prepared by Attorney Doug Zamelis of Springfield Center, demanding it withdraw a grant application for a gas decompression plant in the Town of Oneonta.