Published on December 23rd, 2013 | by GrowWNY Intern


Are You Ready to Walk the Plank: Habitat


Don’t let the title fool you. We’re not talking pirates here, we’re talking policy. Recently, the Western New York Environmental Alliance (WNYEA) declared its 2014 Action Agenda, which consists of 10 planks (or action items) from 7 different Working and Process Groups. Until the end of the year, the GrowWNY Team will be taking you through the content of the Action Agenda and how you can be involved! As always, you can track the progress of the Alliance’s annual agenda by checking each groups’ minutes pagejoining a listserv,coming to a meeting, or reading the meeting recaps on our blog.

In November of 2013 the WNYEA Board adopted a 2014 Action Agenda item proposed by the Habitat and Natural Resource Work Group. This Action Item is as follows:

  • Advocate for the ban of horizontal high-volume hydrofracking in NY State

This Action Agenda item includes two major initiatives:

  1. “Advocate for the Ban of Horizontal High Volume Hydrofracking (HHVHF) in New York State and its associated activities including waste storage, treatment, and disposal, transport, and continue to advocate for reducing energy demand and other safe, green alternatives that promote a sustainable future for New York State”
  2. “Energy development, including HVHHF damages habitat, natural resources, and is a threat to a sustainable future, locally, regionally, nationally, and worldwide. The economic and social consequences are complicated, and we are helping to set the stage for a wide-ranging and inclusive discussion that includes advocacy of a complete  (HVHHF) ban in NYS and the evolution of habitat related, energy related, and economically related strategies including conservation, economic and social priorities, and investment in appropriate renewable energy resources.

As a part of the prior years (2013) Action Agenda the WNYEA board adopted an agenda item that promoted a HVHHF “continued moratorium” in New York State.

Many of our members have technical expertise, scientific and educational backgrounds, and are engaged broadly with the many issues and discussions that relate to the environment.  HVHHF is an issue of concern to many of our members. The sustainable environmental, social, and economic landscapes of Western New York are fundamental issues of energy development, use, and access and relate directly to the interests of the WNYEA Habitat and Natural Resources Working Group. The complex safety and economic consequences of HVHHF is a central concern to the WNYEA.

WNYEA engagement in the HVHHF issue intensified when New York State released a series of proposed rules that would govern HVHHF. The Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) public comment period was short-from December 12, 2012 – January 11, 2013. The WNYEA Board submitted comments to the DEC along with many other member organizations of the WNYEA.

The Habitat and Natural Resources Working Group helped to organize and develop discussions both within the WNYEA and in the community since the HVHHF issues arose.

In 2013, we engaged WNYEA members, public officials, educators, the business sector, community groups, and the media in the HVHHF discussion.  WNYEA members published related articles on the GrowWNY  blog. The Habitat Group published a series of informational sheets that were posted in the Habitat Working Group’s Resource Library on GrowWNY.org. The Habitat Group also hosted a WNYEA Quarterly Meeting in September that featured presentations by WNYEA members Don Duggan Hass (Paleontological Research Center and its Museum of the Earth), David Kowalski (Re-Energize Buffalo), Rita Yelda (Food and Water Watch), Lynda Schkneekloth (Sierra Club, Niagara Chapter), and WNYEA Habitat Chair Jay Burney.

We plan to continue this momentum in 2014. Part of our 2014 Action Item regarding the HVHHF issue is to set the stage for a wide-ranging and inclusive discussion as described in the adopted Action Agenda proposal.  The Habitat Group is working to develop this Action item and it will be on the group’s meeting agenda throughout 2014. We are planning to engage our WNY community in critical issues related to a sustainable future, and you are welcomed to participate.

Come to the next Habitat and Natural Resources meeting to learn more about the plans for 2014, and how you can make your voice heard on Habitat and Natural Resources issues. The group’s next meeting is scheduled for January 15th, 2014 at 6:30p.m. at the Buffalo Museum of Science (1020 Humboldt Pkwy). To stay up-to-date on meeting times and locations, join the group’s listserv. If you have any questions or concerns contact Habitat Chair Jay Burney: lscampaign@aol.com

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