Matt Richmond, WSKG


WSKG/Southern Tier reporter for the Innovation Trail.

Matt Richmond comes to Binghamton from South Sudan, where he worked as a stringer for Bloomberg, and freelanced for Radio France International, Voice of America, and German Press Agency dpa.

He has worked with KQED in Los Angeles, Cape Times in Cape Town, South Africa, and served in the Peace Corps in Cameroon. Matt's masters in journalism is from the Annenberg School for Communication at USC.



Fri September 28, 2012

Green Jobs Green New York off to a slow start

Pat Dundon in the office, surrounded by workarounds for the energy efficiency modeling software TREAT.
Matt Richmond WSKG

The walls around Pat Dundon's desk are slowly filling up with white printouts. Some have the letterhead of the state's energy research organization NYSERDA, and others are lists he's created.

His involvement in a program called Green Jobs Green New York has produced all this paperwork. Through the program, NYSERDA offers low-interest loans for energy efficiency upgrades.

In January 2012*, an on-bill financing option was added for homeowners making energy improvements. At the end of July, a total of $16.7 million had been approved in loans; $1.3 million of that total was for on-bill financing loans.

That's when Dundon, a Binghamton-area contractor, began filling his wall with cheat sheets.

Contractors have to show that a proposed job will pay itself off in future energy savings before NYSERDA will approve the loan.

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Tue September 25, 2012

Sikorsky Aircraft to close Big Flats plant

The Sikorsky plant was fitting special mission equipment to Black Hawk and Sea Hawk helicopters
License Some rights reserved by The U.S. Army Creative Commons License

The Connecticut-based helicopter maker Sikorsky announced on Monday that it will close its Southern Tier plant at the end of the year.

In a statement, company spokesman Paul Jackson says planned cutbacks at the Pentagon were the reason for the closure:

Due to declining defense budgets and the continuing economic weakness in many markets, Sikorsky yesterday informed employees of its intent to close the Sikorsky Military Completions Center (SMCC) in Horseheads as of December 31, 2012, and transition the work to our West Palm Beach, Fla., facility. 

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Fri September 21, 2012

Fracking health impact study may not satisfy enviros

A day after the Department of Environmental Conservation announced that a health impact study conducted by the DEC and the Department of Health will be included in its final environmental review of hydrofracking, Environmental Advocates of New York are questioning the basis of that study.

In a statement released Thursday, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said the government's study will be based on a careful review of an analysis it has already conducted. Martens strongly defended the government's right to control the process:

I believe deferring to an outside group or entity would be an inappropriate delegation of a governmental responsibility. Government is the public's independent reviewer: that is the essence of the current process. To suggest private interests or academic experts bring more independence to the process than government is exactly wrong. Many experts in this field have an opinion – pro or con- which could influence the process. Nor could one ever be sure that there weren't potential conflicts of interest with outside consultants if they were to actually direct the outcome. It is the government's responsibility to ensure objectivity and a review directed by DEC and the Department of Health is without bias.

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Wed September 19, 2012

Decision on natural gas exports delayed

Among the arguments against hydrofracking in New York State and across the U.S. is that drillers will be taking the gas from New York and elsewhere and exporting it to countries like China and India, throwing a giant wrench in the argument that fracking is the path to energy independence.

But it's not clear that much gas will be exported.

Department of Energy approval is required before gas can be sent to countries where the U.S. does not have a free trade agreement. With the price of natural gas at around $3.00 in the U.S., the debate is raging over whether gas companies should be able to export their product.

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Wed September 19, 2012

Environmental group sues governor, DEC over fracking documents

In March, the Environmental Working Group submitted a Freedom of Information Law for more than a year's worth of correspondence between the Department of Environmental Conservation, the governor's office and industry representatives.

The Washington, D.C.-based group, which specializes in the use of freedom of information requests, issued a report in June on the cooperation between the DEC and industry prior to the release of the final draft environmental review of hydraulic fracturing.

On Monday, the EWG filed a lawsuit against the DEC and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, accusing it of withholding many of the documents requested in March that it says detail excessive collusion.

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