The environmental organization Earthjustice is asking authorities to disclose the routes of trains that transport Bakken crude oil through New York State.
Earthjustice attorney Christopher Amato filed the freedom-of-information request Thursday with the state Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Emergency Management on behalf of several environmental groups, including Adirondack Wild and the Sierra Club.
Amato is seeking all records submitted by rail carriers regarding the oil-transport routes as well as any requests by the carriers to keep such records secret.
On a summer night last July, the charming French-Canadian town of Lac Megantic literally exploded. A tanker train carrying crude oil derailed and caught fire, incinerating much of the downtown and killing forty-seven people.
Other train explosions followed in Alabama and North Dakota. Now people are wondering if it could happen here in the Adirondacks.
Since the disaster in Lac Megantic—located 180 miles northeast of the Adirondack Park, in Quebec—officials in northern New York have taken notice that similar trains, up to a hundred tankers long and filled with eighty-five thousand barrels of oil, roar regularly through the Champlain Valley. Most of the oil is in tankers that federal regulators have deemed unsafe. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) is seeking public comment on two new general permits related to wetlands in the Adirondack Park that would expedite APA approval for qualifying activities. One relates to the the management of invasive species within 100 feet of a wetland, the other to access and replacement of power poles in wetlands. Both General Permits will apply throughout the Adirondack Park and will be effective for three years unless revoked or modified by the Agency.
The APA will accept public comments until March 28, 2014. If there is significant concern with, or opposition to these General Permits, a public hearing may be required. Approval of a General Permit by the Agency is a SEQRA, Type 1 action. A negative declaration and Full Environmental Assessment Form has been prepared by the Agency and is on file at its offices in Ray Brook, New York. » Continue Reading.
It’s economical, sustainable and keeps you in shape, not to mention that nothing feels so good as a seat by the woodstove on a sub-zero night. What’s not to like about heating with wood? Certain things do bug people. The mess, for one. Stacking and splitting can get old. Adjusting the ‘thermostat’ may involve a trip to the woodpile. And occasionally, unexpected guests arrive.
Firewood, I’ve discovered, comes from “trees” which are covered in “bark,” under which insects can hide. As wood brought inside warms up, it feels like winter’s over to these critters, who gleefully sally forth. Inevitably, insects and homeowners are both disappointed. » Continue Reading.
Almost 40 percent of all the energy used in the United States is used by buildings or by activities in those buildings, such as heat, lights, computers and other equipment. The older housing stock and cold winters in the Adirondacks mean that even more energy is wasted in this region than in others.
The Build a Greener Adirondacks (BAGA) conference on January 30th is a day-long conference and vendor exposition designed to provide contractors with an overview of current green building practices. Topics will include understanding the Building Envelope, heating with Renewable Energy, communicating with clients about Green, new code guidelines to anticipate in 2014 and more. » Continue Reading.
In the wake of two explosive derailments in the past two weeks involving crude oil from the Bakken region of North Dakota and western Canada, the Center for Biological Diversity is calling for a moratorium on rail transport of the oil in the Northeast.
Trains travel to Albany and the Hudson River Valley from the north as well as west-east rail lines that border the Adirondack region, bearing the same incendiary crude that has been involved in a total of five major rail accidents since summer 2013.
2013 was another watershed year in climate change news. The reality of life on a warmer planet was seen in a variety of ways. The reality of the inability of U.S. and international efforts to reduce reliance on fossil fuels was also stark as use continues to rise. Here are some new data points about life on a warming planet.
The year’s biggest news was made last summer when scientists at a Hawaii research station measured 400 ppm (parts per million) of carbon in the earth’s atmosphere. NASA climate scientist James Hansen has famously called the 350 ppm carbon mark the safe zone for avoiding the worst of climate change impacts. Some terrific charts in The Guardian (probably the best news site for tracking climate issues) provides important context to carbon loading to the earth’s atmosphere. » Continue Reading.
As is my new custom, I’m sitting at the table looking out the big window at the winter weather, and I’m sweating. The new stove is amazing, but way too large for my little cabin. A wealth of heat is not necessarily a bad thing, but having the cabin feel like a too-hot summer is a little disconcerting.
I open one of the windows a little more, since all the windows that can open, are already open. I’m greeted with sounds that are both welcome and unwelcome at the same time. The sound of snow and ice dripping off of the roof is nice, but the sound of freezing rain is unpleasant. I woke to a half-inch of ice covering everything. I can also hear the small rushing stream out back. It typically only flows in the spring, but now it sounds like constant traffic. It’s eerily out of place.
Around noon I went out and started my car. I wanted to get as much ice off as possible before the second round of sleet and freezing rain began. It was only a little below freezing, but because it was thick and took me most of an hour with the defroster and an ice scraper. The radio playing in the car told me to stay off the roads for unnecessary travel, but I was out of beer. » Continue Reading.
I currently have twelve independent fires going inside of my cabin. The one scented candle is making the mixture of burning candles, lamp oil, and spiced apple almost pleasant. Almost.
This time of year is the roughest, psychologically, out here. When the sun starts to dip before most people eat dinner, it’s tough for me to stay positive. Especially on a day like today, when it was overcast all day and never really that bright out, the night seems just about unbearably long. » Continue Reading.
The public, organizations, businesses, municipalities, and others interested in the plans for running an underwater power transmission line on the bottom of Lake Champlain from Canada to the southern end are invited to a Champlain Hudson Power Express Public Informational Meeting to learn more about this project and have an opportunity to ask questions.
Representatives from Transmission Developers Incorporated will be in Plattsburgh to provide an update on the current status of the project along with near- and long-term plans and timeframes for constructing this power line. Information on what this project might look like for Lake Champlain, the route of the power cable and how it will be installed, equipment needed for the installation, and time frames will be included in the discussions. Updates on progress to date including such items as approvals and permits, as well as, underwater surveying and mapping will be presented. » Continue Reading.
There was a time in the Adirondacks when American ingenuity was plugging into a new invention, called electricity.
I recently attended a yearly celebration at The Penfield Homestead Museum in the hamlet of Ironville, Crown Point, where they harnessed that new-age power to create an amazing tool used in the processing of iron ore – an early electromagnet.
Well, it’s finally happened, I have electricity. Granted, it’s not much electricity, but it’s a start. I don’t need enough to run appliances or a whole house, just enough so that my phone and computer don’t go dead, and hopefully a light or two to read by.
A few months ago I got an e-mail from a reader who said he had an old solar panel lying around and didn’t need or want it anymore. It was mine, he said, if I just came and picked it up.
You never know who you’re meeting through an e-mail, so I was a little wary. So, fighting the urge to tell everyone where I was going and with whom just in case I didn’t make it back, I drove the little ways to his camp. I did bring my girlfriend with me, you know, for protection. » Continue Reading.
I really enjoy fall weather, but not in July. The last few nights have been beautiful, but cold. I really struggled on Wednesday over whether or not I should get a fire going in the stove. I decided not to, based solely on principle that I will not use my woodstove in July. I just won’t do it.
But it has made the evenings pleasant. The water is warm when we go swimming, and the heat isn’t as oppressive as last week. » Continue Reading.
What follows is a guest essay by Daniel Mason who is the Director of the North Country Clean Energy Conference and a Board Member/Clean Energy Leader of the Adirondack North Country Association. He retired as an engineering manager after 34 years from a Fortune 100 petrochemical corporation.
People get excited about clean energy for a number of reasons. Clean energy use helps businesses and organizations save money, homegrown renewable energy keeps more money in the region’s economy, and creates local jobs. » Continue Reading.
With a late spring snowfall, at least by the standards of the past few years, and with the nation focused on the showdown over President Obama’s looming decision on whether to greenlight the Keystone XL pipeline, this seems like a good time for a climate change update.
For starters here’s a cool graphic that shows the amount of carbon dioxide that has been released into the atmosphere to date, shows annual releases, and amounts that could be released that are currently stored in existing fossil fuel reserves. » Continue Reading.
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