In November of 2012, the Western New York Environmental Alliance (WNYEA) presented its 2013 Action Agenda. The agenda contains 10 planks from 7 of the Alliance’s Working Groups, all dealing with environmental issues impacting the Western New York Region. To learn more about the Action Agenda items of the WNYEA and their progress, get involved in the Alliance through the Working/Process Group Meetings, signing up for a listserv, or visiting the WNYEA section on GrowWNY. Or continue reading to learn about the latest Habitat and Natural Resources Working Group meeting.
On July 30, 2013, the Habitat and Natural Resources Working Group held their regularly scheduled meeting. The key focuses of this meeting were:
For the most part, the main focus was the Habitat and Natural Resources Working Group’s desire to advocate for a ban on fracking in New York State. All who were in attendance were in favor of attempting to make this an official action agenda item for the WNYEA in 2014. This brought about a lively and insightful discussion of the various factors involved.
Larry Beahan mentioned how the Sierra Club had recently sent representatives to Dunkirk in order to advocate for using windmills instead of restarting a power plant using natural gas. He raised the question as to whether or not supporting a ban on fracking also meant they were inadvertently promoting windmills and other renewable forms of energy. It was agreed that it would be best to officially maintain a position against fracking, and then support any renewable energy projects that would coincide with this goal. Furthermore, it was stated that the people who rely on a job at the Dunkirk plant should not be held hostage by a single industry and energy source as is the case with natural gas.
Currently, the WNYEA promotes a moratorium in regard to fracking. This lack of action could be dangerous and actually harm the effort to prevent fracking from becoming widespread in NYS. An official ban of fracking in New York State was discussed as being necessary before the quickly expanding industry becomes too much of a problem. In order to make this clear, the group wants to devise a detailed explanation as to why it is urgent that a ban is put in place as soon as possible. They would also like to present a video such as Gasland 2 at an upcoming meeting to promote their plank for the WNYEA to support banning fracking.
On the other hand, Buffalo – Niagara Riverkeeper representative Margaret Wooster discussed the research they had been doing regarding the county forests in WNY. She produced several detailed maps that outlined the various county forests in the area as well as the numerous water features. Riverkeeper wants to help update the current county forest plan from 2003.
One of the main ways they plan to do this is by sending ecologists out into the field to study the different areas. They would record factors such as biodiversity, erosion, critical species, and water quality to later be analyzed. With this information, they would be able to create a sustainability plan to help the county forests and waterways flourish. So far, the county has been very cooperative and Riverkeeper would provide them with information and suggestions to improve the current state of the forests.
Do you have feedback or suggestions for this group? Tell us in the comment section below, or join the working group listserv to receive information and attend upcoming meetings at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, at the Larkin at Exchange, Suite 525, 726 Exchange St., Buffalo, NY 14210.