Shale hearing countdown, and cleanser contents
Big shale lead up
There are a ton of stories this morning in the lead-up to the EPA's first hearing about the Marcellus shale on Monday. You can hear reports from the Innovation Trail's reporters here and here and here.
The Associated Press is reporting that the EPA wants gas drilling firms to reveal what chemicals are used in the hydrofracturing gas extraction process, in which liquids are pumped into the earth to force gas out of tiny crevices in the shale. Drillers claim their formulas are a trade secret.
The Press & Sun-Bulletin says the decision to ultimately hold the EPA hearing in Binghamton, after moving it to Syracuse and then postponing it, was rancorous.
There's a press conference this morning featuring "Gasland" filmmaker Josh Fox. Fox was approached by a gas firm about leasing his land and went on a tour of drilling sites. The results are not pretty.
Congressman Maurice Hinchey is calling for fracking to be covered under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Environmentalists are concerned about spills of fracking waste water, and about drilling polluting well water.
Pennsylvania's governor sees taxing shale drilling as a budget solution, but the Press & Sun-Bulletin says he doesn't think that will be possible before October 1.
NY wants cleanser contents
The Associated Press is reporting that manufacturers will have to disclose what their cleaning products are made of. The law's been on the books for 40 years. After an environmental group's lawsuit to reveal chemical contents failed, the state's environmental commissioner stepped in and said he'll require the information be disclosed. The Post-Standard has the story:
While many cleanser companies have made some ingredient information available in recent years, the New York measures call for unusually detailed breakdowns, complete with percentages. They also seek any company-led research on the products’ health and environmental effects.
There's another story in the Post-Standard today about the former GE lab in Salina, New York: Lockheed Martin is getting a neighbor at its new home. The firm is moving some employees to the state-funded facility, and today we learn that a California firm, Group4 Labs, will be moving in too.
In other Lockheed news, AP says more than 600 employees have taken buy-outs. It's part of an overall effort to cut 10,000 employees over the past two years.
To draft or not to draft
The Buffalo News has details about a new survey by the American Bankers Association that shows that people are nearly split about whether or not to pay for overdraft protection, to avoid having their card rejected. More than 1,000 people were surveyed, 46 percent said they'd pay and 49 percent said they wouldn't.
Big money for the University of Rochester
The Democrat and Chronicle has a profile of the University of Rochester's research funding. The National Institutes of Health are the biggest benefactor, contributing $247 million to the school's $458 million pot.
Comptroller: budget on a cliff
The state comptroller is once again warning New Yorkers that their budget is teetering on the edge. From the Times Union, this quote from Thomas DiNapoli:
“After months of budget dysfunction and delay, New York is still on the edge of a very steep financial cliff,” DiNapoli said in a statement. “The state budget was passed 125 days late, and now there is danger that risky resources will fall short and create a gap in this year’s budget. Close monitoring of the budget is crucial to make sure the state does not fall off that cliff.”
Deadly coal plant pollution
Gannett's Cara Matthews has details about a study that claims coal-fired power plant emissions cause thousands of premature deaths annually. The paper reports that over 900 people in New York alone will die this year:
The "Toll from Coal" report found that new pollution-control technology has helped cut emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides from the plants. Cutting emissions of fine-particle pollution -- one of the major sources of pollutants in the United States -- significantly reduces public-health problems.
Neighbors of the Saratoga County Airport are upset that authorities are clear cutting trees to comply with FAA rules. The Times-Union has the story.
From the Duh Files
The Farmers Almanac says Syracuse is the "worst winter city in America" according to the Post-Standard. Don't worry, we'll plow through it to keep the news coming.