Democratic Candidates in place for 2015 Town Board Election

The Dryden Democratic Party has selected candidates for the upcoming Town Board election. Jason Leifer is the nominee for Town Board Supervisor. Jason is currently the Deputy Town Board Supervisor and has been a member of the board since 2008.

Linda Lavine and Deborah Cipolla-Dennis were nominated for the two Town Board Council member seats. Linda Lavine has served on the Town Board since 2011. Visit our Election 2015 page for more information on the candidates.

The election will be held on November 3, 2015. Visit the Tompkins County Board of Elections website for more information on where to vote.

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Dryden and Middlefield Cases Influence State’s Decision to Prohibit Fracking

The Dryden and Middlefield cases were mentioned three times in the Final Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement on the Oil, Gas, and Solution Mining Regulatory Program released by New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) on June 29, 2015.

It is clear that the DEC took these cases into consideration while making their decision whether or not to allow fracking in New York State. On page 22 Section II-G Socioeconomics and Community Character, it states:

“The potential economic benefits from high-volume hydraulic fracturing would also likely be further reduced by the New York Court of Appeals recent decision in the matter of Wallach v. Town of Dryden and Cooperstown Holstein Corp. v. Town of Middlefield, which found the ECL13 does not preempt communities with adopted zoning laws from prohibiting high-volume hydraulic fracturing. As a result of this ruling, high-volume hydraulic fracturing could be prohibited in particular communities throughout the state.”

The leadership shown by Dryden and Middlefield in standing up to “Big Gas” has had a profound effect on how our State’s agencies and courts interpret local land use laws. There is a new respect for home-rule! The extent of the influence of this ruling is just beginning to become apparent.

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Help Choose the Democratic Candidates for Town Board

Please join us on July 14, 2015 the Democrats will hold a caucus at the Dryden Town Hall at 7:30pm to choose candidates for the upcoming election in November 2015.

Get information about the candidates on our Election 2015 page.

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Zoning Amendments Update

Good news! The Dryden Town Board listened to the people of Dryden and decided to take another look at the zoning amendments before voting on them. Great work, people! We got more than 100 signatures from Dryden residents on our letter to the Board.


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Call to Action – Please Attend April 16th Town Board Meeting

The Dryden Town Board has scheduled a hearing for April 16, 2015 on several zoning law amendments which will weaken the current protections against fracked gas infrastructure and move us closer to a new pipeline in the County which will increase CO2 emissions by as much as 28% over the County’s 2008 survey figure.

We need to let the Board know that the people of Dryden want to keep the current protections in place. Please sign on to this letter that will be delivered to the Town Board at the hearing.

And most importantly, please join us at the Town’s Zoning Law Amendment hearing on April 16, 7 PM at the Dryden Town Hall at 93 East Main Street to voice your opposition to their weakening the Town’s zoning law.

If you are unable to attend the hearing, please send your comments to the Town Clerk, Bambi Avery,

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Earthjustice Film about Dryden Plays at Film Festival

The film, “Dryden – The Small Town that Changed the Fracking Game” created and directed by Chris Jordan-Bloch of Earthjustice along with his side-kick Kathleen Sutcliffe will premiere today at the Wild and Scenic Film Festival in Nevada City, California.

The 11 minute film captures the stories of local activists as they worked to enact the first local fracking ban in the state of New York. This first fracking ban was the spark that led to the statewide fracking ban enacted by Governor Andrew Cuomo on December 17, 2014.

Watch the film here…

Dryden – The Small Town that Changed the Fracking Game

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NYSEG Answers Some Questions about the Proposed West Dryden Pipeline

Time Warner Cable reports on the January 15, 2015 Dryden Town Board meeting where NYSEG attempted to answer questions about the proposed West Dryden Road pipeline.

The main concern expressed was the incredibly vague and one-sided easement that residents are being asked to sign.

TWC News Story on West Dryden Pipeline

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NYSEG To Present Information on West Dryden Pipeline

Come to Dryden Town Board meeting 
Thursday January 15, 2015, 7pm

NYSEG/Iberdrola Representatives are scheduled to attend the January 15th, 2015, Dryden Town Board meeting. The meeting time is 7 pm at the Dryden Town Hall (93 East Main St, Dryden NY).   If you have questions you would like addressed, they must be submitted to the Town Board in advance of the meeting. Meeting attendees will NOT be able to ask questions from the floor.

Click here to submit your questions to the Dryden Town Board

We encourage everyone to attend this meeting.

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DRAC Changes Meeting Day

Beginning February 2, 2015 DRAC will meet on the first Monday of every month at 7pm at the Dryden Town Hall located at 93 East Main Street in Dryden. Meetings are open to the public.

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Dryden lawsuit weighed on New York fracking ban


by Andrew Casler, | @AndrewCasler

Dryden’s landmark court victory on hydraulic fracturing weighed heavy as New York officials announced Wednesday that the state won’t allow fracking.

In June New York’s highest court issued a decision in Norse Energy v. Town of Dryden. The court decided that local governments have the right to ban fracking.

Dryden Town Supervisor Mary Ann Sumner — who oversaw the town as it unanimously banned fracking on Aug. 2, 2011 — said Wednesday that she was thrilled to learn that Dryden played a role in New York’s fracking ban.

“This is the best possible outcome of the governor’s decision-making process; this is more than I had hoped for,” Sumner said.

She congratulated all the Dryden residents who fought for a statewide ban.

“It’s really thrilling to realize that a grassroots effort really can make a difference,” Sumner added.

State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens said the Dryden case winnowed down the small area in New York where fracking could be possible. He said 63 percent of New York’s Marcellus Shale formation wouldn’t be available for drilling due to the restrictions proposed or being considered by DEC and local bans or moratoria.

“The practical impact of the Dryden decision that I mentioned earlier is that even more acreage may be left from (fracking),” Martens said.

Within 4.5 million acres not excluded by state or local restrictions, there are about 253 towns with zoning and 145 without zoning, he said. Towns with zoning would have to determine whether their law restricts or allows fracking, and towns without zoning would have to decide whether they would allow fracking virtually anywhere, or adopt zoning laws, Martens said.

“The uncertainty about whether HVHF (high volume hydraulic fracturing) is an authorized use would undoubtedly result in additional litigation,” Martens said. “It would also result in a patchwork of local land use rules, which industry has claimed would utterly frustrate the rational development of the shale resource.”

Dryden Safe Energy Coalition spokesman Henry Kramer said New York, and Dryden, lost many high-paying jobs by blocking fracking. The Dryden Safe Energy Coalition formed in opposition to Dryden’s anti-fracking activists.

“There are so many other states that have used fracking, and have used it for years, and this decision by Cuomo says that all of the other states are wrong, and we’re right, so that doesn’t make a great deal of sense,” Kramer said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that he wasn’t qualified to determine whether New York should allow fracking. The governor said he deferred the decision to state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker and Martens. Both Zucker and Martens didn’t approve of fracking in New York.

Lawmakers react

New York Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, D-Ithaca, said the state’s decision to block fracking was almost more than she had dared to hope.

“We need to protect our water; we need to protect the health of our citizens — words fail me in terms of how I’m feeling,” Lifton said.

Lifton said that about 80 percent of her workload as a state lawmaker has been dedicated to fighting fracking, and now she’s looking to turn her efforts toward supporting renewable energy development and fighting climate change.

State Sen. Tom O’Mara, R-Big Flats, said Cuomo’s decision “eviscerates the hope of so many Southern Tier farmers, landowners, businesses and potential jobs in the natural gas industry. O’Mara represents the City of Ithaca and towns of Enfield, Ithaca, Newfield and Ulysses, as part of the 53rd District.

“Governor Cuomo says no to a source for low-cost and cleaner electrical generation which is critical to our state economy as a whole,” O’Mara said in a news release. “This country was built on exploration and innovation but Governor Cuomo today closed the door on both for us here in the Southern Tier and New York State by saying no to shale gas exploration. New York is once again last.”

State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, said that any decision on fracking must be based on science. Seward represents the 51st District, which includes the towns of Caroline, Danby, Dryden and Groton.

“Today the governor moved to ban hydraulic fracturing in New York, and while many disagree and some litigation is likely, in light of the governor’s decision, we need to move on to develop robust economic development strategies that capitalizes on our other resources,” Seward said in a news release.

U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, called the state’s decision “devastating.”

“This decision makes it even more difficult to replace the good jobs that have already left due to New York’s unfriendly business climate,” Reed said in a news release. “Once again Albany shows that it wants to enact an extreme liberal agenda rather than care about individual property rights and job opportunities.”

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In a press conference today, Governor Cuomo announced that Fracking cannot be done safely so it will not be done in the State of New York. This incredible news is causing celebrations to break out all across the State.

Read the NY Time article here.

More to come as reactions from local people become available!

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Dryden and Middlefield Decisions Still Being Analyzed

A story in the Press and Sun Bulletin on Saturday discusses the far reaching implications of New York State’s court decision that the Towns of Dryden and Middlefield can ban fracking using zoning laws.

Dryden’s action in August of 2011 to clarify it’s zoning laws by explicitly stating that fracking and related activities are prohibited resulted in a long court battle that was finally settled in June 2014.

The decision is still being analyzed by pundits and legal experts. This article states that towns in New York that have zoning laws in place may have to amend their zoning to allow fracking. Just like Dryden’s zoning law, many zoning laws throughout New York prohibit activities that are not explicitly permitted.

Read the full story here.

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Look For the Rays of Sun Through the Gloomy Election Results of 2014

A message from Joanne Cipolla-Dennis of Dryden…


It has been my experience that when it seems a relentless hurricane is likely to wipe us out, the sun comes out for a brief moment. It gives me ability to have faith, hope and expectation it will shine again and again through each storm.

Yesterday, the sun came out in both Denton, Texas, and San Benito County, California, where a grassroots effort passed bans on fracking! The work of New Yorkers showed others it can and must be done.

In addition, the people of Pennsylvania were successful in toppling Governor Tom Corbett and elected Democratic businessman Tom Wolfe, a big step forward in addressing the massacre of the fossil fuel industry.

All around the country, renewable energy is accelerating, divestment is gaining ground, solar programs are creating significant popularity, and growing civil disobedience and continual vigilant scientists, physicians and brilliant legal warriors are some of the rays of sun through these storms.

Keep building. We have a solid foundation built on compassion, adamant and collective commitment. And we will not give up, give in, settle or walk away from the fight to rapidly address climate change… by being the change.

Thank you all for what you do every minute of every day to be the sun through these storms.

 To hear Joanne’s story about the fracking ban in Dryden watch this short film, Dryden: The Small Town That Changed the Fracking Game produced by Earthjustice.

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Registration Now Open for Stop Fracking’s Damage Conference

The Coalition to Protect Communities from Fracking’s Collateral Damage is hosting a one-day conference on fracking infrastructure. Learn about the legal and technical aspects of fracking infrastructure such as pipelines and storage and learn successful techniques to fight the infrastructure coming to a community near you.

Conference will be held at Ithaca College on November 15th.

Click here for more details and to register.


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Motion to Rehear Dryden Case Denied

On Thursday, October 16, 2014, the New York State Court of Appeals denied a motion made by Mark S. Wallach, the trustee for the bankrupted Norse Energy Corporation, USA to rehear the Dryden fracking ban case.

The Court ruled on June 30, 2014, that towns in the State of New York have the right to ban fracking through zoning confirming New York’s home rule law.

See official court documents here.


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DRAC Sponsors – Conference on the collateral damage of fracking in New York

ConferenceDRAC is co-sponsoring the Coalition to Protect Communities from Fracking’s Collateral Damage Conference. This action-oriented conference will be held on November 15th 9am – 5pm in Textor Hall, Ithaca College. Keynote speaker will be David Slottje, Esq. of the Community Environmental Defense Council.

Registration will be opening soon, and check our website for updates on speakers, registration, and event schedule. All groups and individuals are invited to register

An interactive map shows the pipelines, compressor stations and other infrastructure coming to a town near you.

While New York’s highest court has upheld a town’s right to prohibit fracking within its borders, fracking threats still loom — regardless of whether a community has enacted a ban or moratorium on this activity.

All communities, with bans or otherwise, will feel the impact of fracking-related activities nearby.  Air and water pollution know no jurisdictional boundaries, and the build-up of natural gas infrastructure (i.e., pipelines, compressor stations, storage facilities and export terminals) will create hazards across municipal, county and state lines.

Panels of lawyers, municipal officials and citizens will address:

  • Actions NYS municipalities and citizens have taken
  • Controls available to NYS municipalities (counties/towns/villages/cities)
  • Networking and action planning.

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People’s Climate March

Join many of us from Dryden and throughout Tompkins County at the largest climate march in history. New York City is the place to be on Sunday, September 21st. More than 750 grassroots and “big green” organizations from around the world are coming together to bring attention to climate change and the need for the world’s leaders to take action.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is hosting a climate change summit for political leaders in New York City begining September 23rd. It will be the most high-profile, global moment focused on climate change in years. The world will be sending them a message that “talk is cheap; it’s time for action!”

Trains and hundreds of buses will be bringing people from across the country for the march. Including a dedicated train from San Francisco to New York, a dedicated train from D.C. to New York, and buses from multiple points outside of New York. More than 45 labor unions have signed onto the march, pledging to turn out members in New York City and from surrounding areas.

In New York City, the message will be difficult to ignore:  the march to flow directly through the middle of Manhattan beginning at Columbus Circle at 11:30am and proceeding on 59th Street to 6th Avenue, down 6th Avenue to 42nd Street, then right on 42nd Street to 11th Avenue. The route passes by some of New York City’s most famous landmarks, from Rockefeller Center to Times Square.


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Cornell Scientist at Work

Dr. Tony Ingraffea, the Dwight C. Baum Professor of Engineering at Cornell University, has been very busy lately. Please check out this video clip from Physicians, Scientists & Engineers for Healthy Energy. It is a step-by-step explanation of how hydraulic fracking works in Colorado as part of the “Dear Governor Hickenlooper” project.

Additionally, Dr. Ingraffea and his team published a groundbreaking study titled Assessment and risk analysis of casing and cement impairment in oil and gas wells in Pennsylvania, 2000–2012 in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

On Tuesday, July 29, 2014, Dr. Ingraffea presented an overview of the study to the US EPA and answered their questions on the study’s methodology, conclusions, and on the topic of well integrity more generally. You can view the full presentation that we prepared for the EPA here.

The study quantified the prevalence of cement and casing problems for oil and gas wells drilled in Pennsylvania from January 1, 2000 to December 31, 2012 as reported by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. PSE stated, “This is only the first step in assessing whether loss of well integrity provides a pathway to water well contamination, as suggested by Osborn and colleagues from Duke University in 2012. We will need to dive deeper to assess the relationship between the loss of oil and gas well integrity and specific water contamination events in follow-up studies.”

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Primer on New York Fracking from ProPublica

Yesterday, ProPublica put forth a really nice piece covering the state of fracking (or lack there of) in New York. In a question and answer format, they focus on specific topics that many of my friends and co-workers ask about on a daily basis. Unless you are a die-hard fractivist, it can be tough to keep up with all the different aspects of the fight. This article does a good job of answering the basic questions on peoples’ minds. Here is a short excerpt related to the Dryden and Middlefield lawsuits that were finalized last month…

I vaguely remember reading something about a recent court ruling in New York. It made a lot of the anti-fracking activists very happy. What was it about?

Two small towns in upstate New York, Dryden and Middlefield, had banned fracking within their boundaries. Soon after, an energy company in Dryden and a dairy farm that had leased land for drilling in Middlefield sued the municipalities, arguing that the towns did not have the authority to limit drilling activity. The lower courts initially dismissed the lawsuits. On appeal, intermediate level courts upheld the ruling and most recently the state Court of Appeals also upheld the decision.

“The towns both studied the issue and acted within their home rule powers in determining that gas drilling would permanently alter and adversely affect the deliberately-cultivated, small-town character of their communities,” wrote Judge Victoria Graffeo in the majority ruling.

And why is this court ruling so important?

It gives towns the authority to decide whether they’re willing to allow fracking within their town boundaries. Several towns already have bans in place against fracking. This ruling ensures that if those towns were to be met with similar lawsuits, they’d still be able to enforce the ban. Also, if Cuomo lifted the state-wide moratorium, towns can individually take action through local ordinances.

I encourage you to read the full article.

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Dryden Group and Allies Celebrate NYS Appeals Court Win

DRYDEN, NY: The people of Dryden are jubilant that New York’s highest court has ruled that towns and villages statewide have the right to ban fracking

Democracy works best when people interact with the government at the local level. While the State and Federal governments may not be willing or able to protect us from serious dangers, the most secure power for that protection often lies at the local level.  In New York and other states, the right of home rule, including zoning ordinances that grow from that right, has, as proclaimed at state level, long provided the means for that protection.

Many recognize the importance of this case for New York State, the United States, and concerned communities around the globe. This ruling clarifies the ancient right of local residents to make the decisions about the livability of their homes and communities. Local communities everywhere should take heart from Dryden’s win: A small group can assert this right, encourage others to join them, take small first steps, get advice and help from people who have walked this road, and persevere toward victory.

Local citizens and local elected officials in New York State need no longer doubt whether they have the power to protect the locality. Indeed, as Dryden has demonstrated, they may be the only ones with the ability to provide that protection.This ruling reinforces our right to locally protect our air, land, water and communities.

Dryden resident and DRAC member Martha Ferger expresses it well: “This all started with house-to-house work in the dead of winter 2011, gathering signatures on a petition to our Town Board for a ban on fracking.  We could not be more thrilled with this decision, and we thank EarthJustice especially for legal help with all three levels of court cases that have challenged our ban.”

Around the world, vocal activists and quiet residents alike have awaited this ruling. A member of the Frack Free Lancashire group sent us this message: “Solidarity with the people of the USA and the world who are having to stand up to this industry.”

Another friend calls out across the pond: “Respect to all of the towns and counties that have gone it alone and banned it. Shrewd move. If and when NY State bans fracking it will be a game changer for us. Hollering at folk that Bulgaria and France have banned fracking is one thing, but a state like New York in the home nation of fracking would be a different ball game.”

Yes, our goal is a statewide ban, because fracking and associated industrial activities cannot be done safely. Groups nationwide and globally can build on this victory to ban fracking and take back local control.

In New York, gutsy and smart people were not intimidated by energy industry tactics, notably two indomitable lawyers, Helen and David Slottje. They researched, and shared for free with

everyone, the legal and constitutional bases for a fracking ban ordinance. And now the constitutional right to make land-use decisions locally has held all the way up to the highest court of New York.

We thank Deborah Goldberg, managing attorney of EarthJustice, for representing Dryden pro bono in the appeals cases against us.  She took on the adversary with matchless preparation and legal skill—and won.

Thank you to Dryden Town Supervisor Mary Ann Sumner and all members of the Dryden Town Board, who stood strong. Jason Leifer, Dryden Town board member who first sounded the alarm about fracking in Dryden, says, “Today’s ruling shows all of America that a committed group of citizens and public officials can stand together against fearful odds and successfully defend their homes, their way of life, and the environment against those who would harm them all in the name of profit.”

Thank you to all our friends and neighbors who have moved forward together with us in this process; thank you to the town boards across New York State who heeded the Slottjes and passed bans and moratoria; and to those who will be empowered by this ruling to act.

But we must stay vigilant – this is a fight forever.


  • Dryden Resource Awareness Coalition (DRAC):
  • Shaleshock, the umbrella organization for antifracking groups and information flow across New York State and beyond:
  • Physicians Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy, an independent science-based group: “provides a multi-disciplinary approach to identifying reasonable, healthy, and sustainable energy options for everyone.”

Helen and David Slottje (Community Environmental Defense Council, CEDC):

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Dryden Solar Tour

On Saturday we will have the opportunity to look at and chat about two solar PV systems on Snyder Hill Road.

We will start at 696 Snyder Hill where Marty and his wife have a 10 year old  system of 36 panels installed on their pole barn. Although they purchased their system at a time when solar panels were a lot more expensive than they are now, the system has paid for itself and now generates savings.

From there we will travel to 435 Snyder Hill and visit a pole mounted system that has been in place for only several months. Larry is an engineer and will answer your wonky questions if you have them.

Remember – START at #696 AT 1:00.

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Off to Albany!

NYS Court of AppealsToday is the day! Several members of DRAC are on the road to Albany to support Deborah Goldberg of Earthjustice as she battles against Tom West representing Norse Energy. Goldberg will argue that Dryden has the right to prohibit fracking through zoning.  New York is a Home Rule state – meaning that local towns have the right to designate land use and that cannot be trumped by the State. The two lower courts have ruled in favor of Dryden. This final decision, expected in late fall, will set precedent for the entire State of New York.

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Solar Tour Season!

Greetings!  The first Solar Tours, part of the county-wide Solar Tompkins program, have kicked off!  On Saturday, May 24th the Groton Solar Tour will take place at 928 Peru Road, Groton, NY at 2:00 p.m. 
That’s right, your neighbors, who have been enjoying the benefits of powering their homes with the sun, are opening up their homes for all to see and learn about what they’ve done and how their systems work! 
The free event starts at 2:00 p.m. at the home of Thom Mayo, Peru Road, Groton.
9.5 kW Roof-Mounted System with High-Efficiency Panels. Their solar system was added as a retrofit to this 1400 square foot home. 
The tour will last about two hours; please arrive at 2:00 p.m – the tour will start at that time and visitors will be guided through the system.  
See below for a description of the Solar Tours and of the broader Solar Tompkins program. Any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me (Linda Mizer
(E)  or Melissa Kemp, Program Director, at, or visit the website
Hope to see you at the first of our two Groton Solar Tour — and please help spread the word! Send it around to all your contacts, whether they’re in Groton or not!
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Helen Slottje, Architect of NY’s Local Fracking Ban Strategy, Wins Top Environmental Prize

Slottje’s work empowered 170+ communities in New York, inspired communities across the country
San Francisco, CA – The architect of New York’s local fracking ban strategy is being awarded the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize today. Helen Holden Slottje, an attorney from Ithaca, NY, is one of six grassroots environmental activists from around the globe being honored by the Goldman Environmental Foundation. Recipients of the Goldman Prize, often referred to by those in the environmental movement as the ‘Nobel Prize for environmentalists,’ are each awarded a $175,000 cash prize.
Invoking the state constitution and implementing legislation, which give municipalities the right to make local land use decisions, Helen and her husband David empowered towns across New York to defend themselves from oil and gas companies by passing local bans on fracking. Their work helped pave the way for more than 170 communities in New York to take action.
One such community was Dryden, NY — one of the first municipalities in New York to enact a fracking ban. The town was subsequently sued by a billionaire-owned oil and gas company. Earthjustice attorneys are defending the town in court, working closely with the Slottjes to make sure the legal rights of communities across New York are upheld.
Following is a statement from Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen:
“Helen Slottje is a true hero of the American environmental movement. When New York communities felt helpless at the onslaught of fracking, her work gave them hope. More importantly, it gave them power.
“Not only has Helen’s groundbreaking work empowered communities in New York state – it has helped inspire similar movements across the country in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Colorado, California, and even Texas.
“The oil and gas industry has been exempted from many key provisions of important federal environmental laws. And too often state regulators have been unwilling or unable to sufficiently protect threatened communities. For these reasons, local governments represent an important line of defense between people and dangers of fracking.
“The attorneys and campaign staff at Earthjustice are honored to have had the privilege of working alongside Helen in the fight against fracking. On this special day, the entire Earthjustice community celebrates Helen and her incredible accomplishments that have made communities safer and the environmental movement stronger.”
MEDIA INQUIRIES: Deborah Goldberg, Managing Attorney of Earthjustice’s Northeast Office has worked closely with Helen and David Slottje. Martin Wagner, director of Earthjustice’s International Program, nominated Slottje for the award. Both are available to provide comment by contacting Kathleen Sutcliffe,, 212.845.7380.
About the Goldman Environmental Prize
The Goldman Environmental Prize was established in 1989 by late San Francisco civic leaders and philanthropists Richard and Rhoda Goldman. Prize winners are selected by an international jury from confidential nominations submitted by a worldwide network of environmental organizations and individuals.
About Earthjustice
Earthjustice, the nation’s premier nonprofit environmental law organization, wields the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change.


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Earthjustice to Host Conference Call in May

Right to Breathe: 
Defending Impacted Communities
Friday, May 16, 2014
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM (Eastern Time)


An Earthjustice Teleconference
In neighborhoods across our nation, simply taking a breath of air is risky business. For years, oil refineries, coal plants, and other industrial facilities have escaped Clean Air Act requirements, allowing them to spew deadly pollutants into the air shared by nearby communities. Residents are left with a difficult decision: stay indoors or breathe in pollutants that can cause lung and heart disease, cancer, brain damage—even death. Mobile sources such as cars, trucks, ships, and trains also create vast amounts of air pollution, often disproportionately impacting poor communities.
Join Earthjustice attorneys Paul Cort and Emma Cheuse for a teleconference on how Earthjustice is fighting to protect communities from the impacts of burning fossil fuels.
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DRAC Working in California

Deborah Cipolla-Dennis (@CipollaDennis) traveled to Sacramento, California on March 14th to attend California’s largest anti-fracking rally and participate in four local organizing events throughout the State’s Central Valley.

Saturday, March 15th California’s capitol was buzzing with more than 4000 fractivist from as far away as San Diego. A diverse crowd of indigenous people, farm workers, and environmentalist came together to bring a message to Governor Jerry Brown that fracking will not be welcomed where 50% of the nations food is produced.

Cipolla-Dennis along with two men from Weld County Colorado that have been directly impacted by fracking have met with local organizers in Sacramento,  Merced and Delano in the past week. Shane Davis (@fractivist) and Rod Brueske (@rkbrueske) shared their stories of being run out of their homes and poisoned by fracking. Cipolla-Dennis brought the hopeful story of Dryden and New York and how we were able to ban fracking and protect our way of life. California laws are very similar to New York laws and the same type of zoning ordinance can be enacted at both the city and county levels.

The group, coordinated by Robby Diesu of Stop the Frack Attack and Reed Steberger of Earthjustice, are making a final stop in Los Angeles on March 21st to meet with a fenceline community that has been experiencing oil development for many years and is now threatened by fracking coming to their community.

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We need a New York Statewide Ban on Hydrofracking!

Published on Jan 20, 2014

Highlight of the “Shale Gas Potential In NY” presentation in Oneonta 1-17-2014. Lou Allstadt, retired VP of Mobil Oil calls for a statewide ban on fracking in New York. Music: folk singers before the presentation singing Woodie Guthrie’s tune This Land is Your Land.

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DRAC Candidates Sweep up in Dryden

The results are in and they are fantastic!

DRAC supported candidates won all around:

Town Supervisory – Mary Ann Sumner

Town Council – Jason Leifer and Greg Sloan

Highway Supervisor – Rick Young

County Legislature – Martha Robertson and Mike Lane

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Tomorrow Tuesday 11/5/13 is Election Day. Polls open 6 AM – 9 PM.

Some polling place have changed:

DRAC Roadside Rallies:

7.30-9 AM Rte 13/366 (NYSEG intersection).

3.30-5 PM TAKE YR PICK please show up with a sign: Rte 13/366 or Village of Dryden four corners intersection.

So what if you are there alone? Stand tall! (& thank you.)

Please VOTE, and put a little extra effort into encouraging others to VOTE. In local elections, every vote counts. Best wishes to the candidates in all the lively local races!!

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Keep Dryden Frack Free


Despite being upheld twice in court, the ban is vulnerable!

DRAC supports these candidates:

Mary Ann Sumner, Jason Leifer, Steve Stelick, Greg Sloan

Some Polling places have changed!

Voter registration and polling place location info:

 Alert your family and friends.

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Key to KEEPING THE BAN in Dryden is a solid voter turnout.

Week after next, Tuesday November 5, is Election Day. We must remind everyone of the need to vote, the date, and the candidate names.

PLEASE join us for super fun Road Rallies:


  • Tuesday October 29 from 3:30-5:00 PM at the Rte 13/366 intersection.
  • Thursday October 31 from 7:30-9:00 AM at the Rte 13/366 intersection.
  • Monday November 4 from 7:30-9:00 AM at the Dryden four corners intersection.
  • Tuesday November 5 Election Day at the Rte 366/13 intersection.

Bring your signs – we’ll have more. Any amount of your time, is greatly appreciated.

If any of you want to do separate rallies – such as at the main Freeville intersection during rush hour, or other times at the above locations, or in Ellis Hollow, please go for it – let us know if you want help.

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Upcoming Events Around Dryden

Wednesday October 23: “Reading the Landscape for Regeneration and Resilience,” an interactive tour and presentation with Ben Falk!

Interactive Site Tour, 4-5pm @ Dilmun Hill Student-Run Farm, Ithaca NY

Presentation, 5:30-7pm @ Plant Science building room 143, Cornell University, Ithaca NY

Ben Falk, M.A.L.D., Whole Systems Design, LLC, will use the student farm for exploring small-scale permaculture, discussing improvements that can be made to traditional agricultural operations and backyard gardens to make them more ecologically enhancing and resilient to flood, drought, pests and other stresses.

Free and open to the public; sponsored by Dilmun Hill Student Farm, Cornell Garden-Based Learning, CU Collaborate and the Toward Sustainability Foundation.

Directions to Dilmun Hill:

Directions to Plant Science: The Plant Sciences building is located on Tower Road between Bradfield Hall and Kennedy Hall on the Cornell University campus. When entering Plant Science from the ground level at the parking circle, this room is accessed by walking up the set of stairs immediately to the right.


Wednesday October 23, 7 PM: DEC’s LNG Rules • FERC & Natural Gas Storage • Port Ambrose LNG

Come learn: how to submit comments; what points to make in your comments.

Keith Schue with Sandra Steingraber and the “Return of 30 Days” Website

First Unitarian Church, Ithaca NY

306 N. Aurora Street, on the NW Corner with E. Buffalo:

Enjoy homemade snacks and conversation following the program.

More Info:   Sandy Podulka, email:

The Return of 30 Days: Infrastructure Regs:


Wednesday October 23, 7:30-8:30 PM: “Nature Wars: the incredible story of how wildlife comebacks turned backyards into battlegrounds,” the Elizabeth E. Rowley Lecture.

Jim Sterba, Acclaimed Journalist & Author

Statler Hall Auditorium, Cornell University, Ithaca NY

Thursday October 24, 6:30-8:30 PM: Tompkins County Deer Management Forum

With Jim Sterba & others, moderated by Sharon Anderson, TC CCE.

Location: Ithaca High School Cafeteria, 1401 N Cayuga Street, Ithaca NY

Time: 6:30-8:30PM (Poster session 6:30-7PM, Panel discussion 7-8:30)

Additional information:

Sponsored by Cornell Plantations  and the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future .


Saturday October 26, 10:00 AM-2:00 PM The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.

Information, drop off/collection sites near you:


Saturday October 26,1:00-5:00 PM: Haudenosaunee Perspectives on Fracking and the Movement for a Ban

HBC Building, Kittredge Auditorium, 900 Crouse Avenue

Syracuse University, Syracuse NY:

Speakers: F. Jacques, C. Waterman, M. Lemke, R. Vogelsang. In 2009, the Haudenosaunee issued a statement calling on New York State to ban the permitting of natural gas drilling, inspiring allies to get serious about living up to our agreements to protect our shared resources…Please join Haudenosaunee representatives, movement makers, community organizers, and student activists for an afternoon of our shared history protecting New York State from hydrofracking. Info: Emily Bishop


Wednesday Oct. 30, 7 PM: Marcellus and Utica Shale Gas Potential in New York State

Hollister Hall Auditorium (Room B14), 527 College Avenue/4 Central Avenue (?!)

Cornell University, Ithaca NY:

Speakers: J. Acton, L. Allstadt, B. Brock, J. “C” Northup. Co-sponsors: Tompkins County Council of Governments; Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County ; Tompkins County League of Women Voters; Cornell Sustainability Hub; Sustainability at Ithaca College; Ithaca First Presbyterian Committee on Justice; Peace and Integrity

of Creation; FracTracker Alliance. Facebook event info:


Fri/Sat, November 8/9: Watershed Woes: Six Mile Creek, Climate Change, & Us.

1-5 PM & reception, Friday; 10 AM-5 PM Saturday. Exact locations along Six Mile Creek in Tompkins County, NY being arranged. Indoor/outdoor workshops on climate change in the Great Lakes and locally, walk & talk along the creek about Hemlock Wooly Adelgid/invasives and our water supply; lively sessions on building resilience and coping with climate change grief & activist burnout. Reception Friday, refreshments Saturday. Free to the public. Community conference sponsored by Cayuga Lake Watershed Network, Sustainable Tompkins, & Freshwater Future. Contact and watch here for details: , .


Tuesday, November 12, 6:30-8:30 PM:  Hydrilla Public Information Meeting & Hydrilla Hunter Volunteer Thank-you

Borg Warner Room East, Tompkins County Public Library

101 E. Green Street, Ithaca NY 14850

6:30 PM: Thanking and recognizing the volunteers around the lake who helped train and educate many others to watch for hydrilla this past summer.

Please attend for refreshments, information, & appreciation!

7:00 PM: Stay for the public information session to be presented by members of the Hydrilla Task Force of the Cayuga Lake Watershed.

Details on presenters available soon. Information: James Balyszak website: , also at




Friday, November 15, 11:00 AM-5 PM: Finger Lakes Research Conference 2013, hosted by the Finger Lakes Institute

Hobart and William Smith Colleges Scandling Center, Vandervort Room
300 Pulteney St., Geneva, NY 14456

Please plan to attend the 2013 Finger Lakes Research Conference that will highlight panelists discussing land use, invasive species, and nutrient management within the Finger Lakes region of New York. In addition, a number of research posters will be displayed. Poster session information: Advance registration required. Info, speakers, schedule, directions:


Saturday December 7, 11 AM-6 PM: Ithaca Alternative Gift Fair

First Baptist and First Presbyterian Churches

Dewitt Park, Ithaca NY

The Fair offers holiday shoppers an opportunity to choose gifts of charitable donations, rather than more “stuff”. The refreshments are great too! Many of your favorite local nonprofits will be there. Come support them and find positive gifts for family & friends. Website:


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Supervisor Sumner Attends Forum on Fracking

Dryden Town Supervisor Mary Ann Sumner attended the Science, Democracy, and Community Decisions on Fracking forum in Los Angeles, California in July.

Speakers included scientists, journalists, legislators, policy experts, and activists spanning a wide range of perspectives on the issue. Supervisor Sumner participated in a working group focused on access to information and citizen engagement.

The summary of the forum has just become available and can be viewed on their web page along with a webcast of the full forum.

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Sumner & Leifer

WANTED: Dryden voters!  We must get out the vote for a Town Board that will uphold Dryden’s fracking ban.

Despite being upheld twice in court, the ban is vulnerable!

Make no mistake, the opposition is organizing:

  • To take the 3 open seats on Town Board–with substantial backing.
  • To revise the comprehensive plan that guides Dryden’s development.
  • To overturn key protections that maintain the town’s character.

DRAC supports the re-election of members who enacted the Ban in 2011:

Town Supervisor – Mary Ann Sumner 

Town Board – Jason Leifer

 Check your polling place; it may have changed. Register to vote if you are not.

Vote November 5th

Alert your family and friends

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Solar Tour Dryden – Date change from June 22nd to June 23rd

2-4 pm, 26 Quarry Rd, Ithaca, home of Nancy Norton and Buzz Dolph. This older house was moved from Fall Creek area, gutted, insulated and upgraded. There are 2 solar arrays, totaling 28000 kw. Also of interest are other structures on the property that have examples of heat exchangers, on-demand hot water heaters and composting toilets.

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Virtual Farmers’ Market Puts Dryden Farmers on the Map

Taken from – Article by Katherine Clement

Hop on the Town of Dryden website for board meeting minutes, contact information for dog control and now fresh produce from the local farmers. The Dryden Department of Planning created a virtual tour of everything from local farm stands to breweries in and around Dryden on the site’s Virtual Farmers’ Market. Not only connecting farmers with local residents but educating residents about the values of shopping local as well, the Dryden Virtual Farmers’ Market is mapping new terrain for future markets.

“People have suggested the possibility of having a farmer’s market in Dryden for some time,” said Dan Kwasnowski, director of planning for the town of Dryden. “However, from the grower’s perspective, it is more attractive to go to the Ithaca Farmer’s Market. And the Town of Virgil has a market, so in reality a physical farmer’s market doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

The stars aligned for this Virtual Farmers Market, when the Agriculture Program Leader, Monika Roth, at Cornell Cooperative Extension contacted Kwasnowski interested in creating a website and map from a list of local farmers. After extending the list of farmers, Kwasnowski handed over the project to the department’s GIS Tech, Josh Bogdan, to develop the template and icons.

“The site was created to allow farmers of all sizes to market themselves, but also we really wanted local residents to be able to find locally grown and raised food,” said Kwasnowski.

The site includes several farms from Dryden to Brooktondale, CSAs to horse farms, and all types of produce. A map marked with red cow heads, yellow wheat plants, and other variety of icons dot the Tompkins County area offering site goers an overall look at the areas farms. If you’re thinking of testing your green thumb, the site shares the location of local community gardens and contact information. The site encompasses all local produce including meats, eggs, poultry, berries, and breweries.

There seems to be no limit for this site’s abilities to connect local people with local growers and the creators made this even easier for farmers by forming a “Join Our Market” page. Here farmers can change anything on their information page or ask to be added to the site. A series of questions allow farmers to fill out their information and create an easy connection for people to find them.

“There is something really neat about knowing where your food comes from,” said Kwasnowski. “I know a lot of people, and so I know some people who raise pigs. But if I didn’t already know them, then how would I find out where to buy local food?”

Feeding into all forms of social interaction, the site offers a mini twitter feed for farmers to post events and new products. Even with this hip use of social media, the site creators ask for suggestions on how to improve in the “Contact Us” page.

“It isn’t just Dryden,” said Kwasnowski. “Because we’re really trying to provide a service to residents, we wanted to show everything within the region. As word spreads and the information comes in we’ll just keep adding to the website, and we don’t see any need to limit it.”

Whether you’re looking for fresh locally made cheese or need to feed the urge to create a freshly picked blueberry pie, the nearest local dairy farm and u-pick berry farm is now a click away at the Dryden Virtual Farmers Market. For your convenience check out

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Finger Lakes Land Trust Celebrates First Link in Emerald Necklace &

New Trail and Boardwalk in Dryden

The Finger Lakes Land Trust invites the public to celebrate the first link in the Emerald Necklace and the opening of a new trail and a handicapped accessible boardwalk at the Roy H Park Preserve on Irish Settlement Rd in the town of Dryden on Friday, May 31 from 3:00-5:00 PM.

Brief remarks and a ribbon cutting will be followed by hikes, bird watching and a reception at the preserve. Ribbon cutters will include Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, Chair of the Tompkins County Legislature, Martha Robertson, NYSDEC Regional Director Ken Lynch and Dryden Town Supervisor Mary Ann Sumner along with Land Trust representatives and volunteers.

In November 2010, the Land Trust purchased a 169-acre property in the Town of Dryden, creating an important link in the Emerald Necklace—a greenbelt that will ultimately connect 50,000 acres of public open space that extends in an arc from east to west around Ithaca.  The parcel connects Hammond Hill and Yellow Barn State Forests with the Land Trust’s Roy H. Park Preserve and a Cornell Plantations natural area, all together creating a 7,500-acre block of public open space. The conserved property protects wetlands and wildlife habitat including a great blue heron rookery and 6,000 feet of land on Six Mile Creek, the source of Ithaca’s drinking water.

This winter, the Land Trust worked with architects and engineers to construct an ADA accessible boardwalk as well as a hiking trail that connects to adjacent Hammond Hill State Forest and its 20 miles of multi-use trails popular with hikers and cross country skiers.

Parking for the dedication event is at Hammond Hill State Forest, about 15 miles from downtown Ithaca. Participants have the choice of taking an easy, one mile hike from the parking area to the dedication or riding a shuttle provided by Cornell Outdoor Education.

Registration for the event is requested by May 29. Please call 607-275-9487 or visit to register or for more information.

The Finger Lakes Land Trust is a membership supported, not for profit land conservation organization dedicated to protecting the lands that define the character of the Finger Lakes. Since 1989, the Land Trust has conserved more than 15,000 acres of our region’s forests, farms, wetlands, grasslands and lakeshore. More information can be found at

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May 2, 2013

Contact: Brianne Nadeau,  202-265-3000, c 202-494-5736

Fracking Ban Stands in New York Town; Victory for Local Communities

In case pitting community rights against the oil and gas industry, industry loses yet again

ALBANY, NY – Local residents and elected leaders in Dryden, N.Y. are celebrating victory today in a closely watched case over local fracking bans. A state appeals court ruled in favor (PDF) of the towns of Dryden and Middlefield, affirming lower court decisions upholding the towns’ right to ban oil and gas development activities — including the controversial technique of fracking — within town limits. The legal battle first began in 2011, and industry is widely expected to seek review of the ruling by New York’s high court (the Court of Appeals).

“I’m proud to represent the Town of Dryden and I’m especially proud today,” said Town Supervisor Mary Ann Sumner. “We stood up for what we knew was right.  And we won. The people who live here and know the town best should be the ones deciding how our land is used, not some executive in a corporate office park thousands of miles away.”

The case in Dryden has taken on special significance. More than 20,000 people from across the country and globe sent messages to Sumner and her colleagues on the Town Board, expressing support for the town in its legal fight.

Dryden’s story began in 2009, after residents pressured by oil and gas company representatives to lease their land for gas development learned more about fracking, the technique companies planned to use to extract the gas. During fracking, short for hydraulic fracturing, companies inject millions of gallons of chemically treated water into the ground to break up rock deposits and force out the gas. Residents organized and educated for more than two years under the banner of the Dryden Resource Awareness Coalition (DRAC), ultimately convincing the town board to amend its zoning ordinance in August 2011 to clarify that oil and gas development activities, including fracking, were prohibited.

“We love our town. We’re proud to be from a place that doesn’t back down from a tough fight.  And we’re inspired by the outpouring of support we’ve received,” said DRAC member Deborah Cipolla-Dennis. “Now it’s our turn to support communities across New York, and in Pennyslvania, Ohio, Colorado, and elsewhere that are standing up to the oil and gas industry.”

More than 159 municipalities in New York have passed bans or moratoriums on fracking, prompting a nationwide groundswell: some 350 communities across the country have voted to take official action — from non-binding resolutions to improved protections to outright bans.

Deborah Goldberg, an attorney with the public interest law organization, Earthjustice, represented the Town of Dryden in the appeal. “Today’s victory stands as an inspiration for communities seeking to protect themselves from the consequences of the fracking-enabled oil and gas drilling rush,” Goldberg said.  “The oil and gas industry largely has been deregulated at the federal level.  While state officials struggle with the decision whether to permit fracking, local officials have stepped in to fill the gap.  Today’s ruling signals to local officials that they are indeed on solid legal ground.”

Just six weeks after Dryden prohibited fracking in 2011, Anschutz Exploration Corporation (a privately held company owned by a Forbes-ranked billionaire) sued Dryden over the zoning provision, claiming that localities did not have the right to ban industrial activity. Dryden successfully argued that their right to make local land use decisions, enshrined in the home rule provision of the New York State Constitution, applies to oil and gas development.  In February 2012, a state trial court judge agreed.

Following that ruling, Norse Energy Company, a U.S. subsidiary of a foreign-owned oil and gas company, filed an appeal, with today’s decision being the result.  Shortly after filing its appeal, the company declared bankruptcy.

“The first oil and gas company to sue us backed down.  The second went bankrupt.  They both lost against us in court,” Sumner said. “When will the oil and gas industry get the message: bullying communities isn’t good for business?”

For a copy of today’s ruling, please visit:

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Come learn more about the 2013 Solarize program in Dryden, Caroline and Danby.

Our second public information meeting will be held on May 1st, at the Varna Community Center. We have chosen our installers: Solar Liberty, out of Buffalo, will do the photovoltaic installations and Renovus Energy from Ithaca will to the solar hot water installations. They have offered our communities great pricing and the more people sign up for PV (electricity) systems, the lower the price to each buyer. At the meeting they will tell you the details of the products they offer and will answer any and all questions.
Solarize Tompkins SE has gathered information on several different financing options. There are grants and loans available in our community so you can go solar in 2013.
Everyone is welcome to attend the public meetings but only those who own property in Dryden, Caroline, or Danby will be able to enroll in the program this year. for more info.
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 Learn the Details of the Solarize Tompkins SE Program

On Tuesday evening the Solarize project will announce its installers and give details of pricing and enrollment. Our excitement is RISING WITH THE SUN!

Dryden Fire Hall, 7:00 pm, Tuesday April 23

Kick the fossil fuel habit. Go solar in 2013!

For the complete schedule of public meetings see

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Solar Power 101

Thursday, April 11, 6:30 – 8:30pm

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County Educational Center, 615 Willow Avenue, Ithaca

What are photovoltaics? What is solar thermal? How do they work and what incentives and rebate programs are available so I can put them on my house?

If you’ve been asking some of these questions, come find the answers at this introductory presentation. Anne Stork, an environmental studies professor at Ithaca College who supplements her home power with solar panels, and Guillermo Metz, Green Building and Renewable Energy Program Coordinator at CCETC, who lives off the grid with solar and wind, will give an overview of solar electric and water-heating systems and try to answer all your questions about putting solar power to work for you.

$10 suggested donation, but no one will be turned away. For more information and to register, contact Guillermo Metz at or 272-2292.

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Impacts of Gas Drilling On Human and Animal Health

What: An educational forum
When: April 16, 2013, 7-9 PM
Where: Unitarian Church, 306 N. Aurora St., Ithaca, NY

Sponsored by TCCOG (Tompkins County Council of Governments)
Co-sponsored by the First Unitarian Social Justice Council

What we know and what we don’t know – Adam Law, MD, Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy

Why animals make good sentinels for human health – Michelle Bamberger, DVM and Robert Oswald, Professor, College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell Universit

For more information:
Ellen Z. Harrison

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Another Successful Solar Tour Event

On Saturday morning 20 people enjoyed a house tour on Irish Settlement Rd where Stuart and Zoe have had their wet cold basement transformed.
The house, more than 100 years old, has balloon framing and a dug basement with field stone walls. The first winter Stuart and family spent in the house they spent more than $2500 on electricity. They installed a wood stove and used the baseboard heaters as supplement, however the stack effect of heat leaving through the attic and pulling cold air in through the basement left the house drafty and never quite warm enough.
Last summer they asked Snug Planet to come in, do a blower door energy audit (that part is free), and then analyze the results. After carefully considering all options, they decided to hire Snug Planet to seal the basement (lined walls and floor with industrial strength plastic sheeting and sealed at the rim joist with spray foam), insulate the attic (capping those balloon framed walls with rigid foam insulation sealed carefully to the framing), install a heat-exchanger water heater, and change out old appliances for energy star rated appliances.
An expensive project, you say? Well, yes, but Stuart and Zoe have spent 2/3 less on energy this year than they did last winter, they are more comfortable, the wood stove now heats the house comfortably on all but the coldest days, and they enjoy more efficient appliances.
They made the choice to borrow the money for the changes, and they signed up for the on-bill system through NYSERDA and NYSE&G. They have a 15 year loan @ 3% that will stay with the house if they decide to sell before the 15 years have passed. They pay monthly through their utility bill, which, even including the loan payments, is only 1/3 of what they had been paying.
All of us in attendance learned a lot, and I got to meet a bunch of new folks interested in energy efficiency. Out of those 20 who came, 13 were people I met for the first time.
I hope to see you at the April open house! April 17th, starting at 6:30 pm at 23 Lewis St in Dryden village. The Wakemans have installed solar panels on the barn behind the house on their village lot, and Dan has all the production numbers to show how that has effected their bottom line.
Remember to visit to complete the interest survey if you think you would like to have more information about getting solar power for your house. Look for announcements of Solarize public meetings coming up at the end of April.
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Dryden home harnesses the sun

From the Ithaca Journal

DRYDEN — When Cathy and Dan Wakeman moved into their mid-1800s home on Lewis Street in the Village of Dryden, they immediately saw the potential for installing solar panels on the roof of their barn.

“It’s a south-facing barn,” said Cathy Wakeman, the Dryden Town Talk columnist for The Ithaca Journal. “Also a great place for raspberry bushes.” But that was in 1991, and the Wakemans were just starting a family. At the time, installing solar panels did not seem viable. However, harnessing power from the sun was always a dream of theirs, and they kept it alive for two decades as they put money aside, did their market research and kept records of every electrical bill.

They focused on practical ways to make their home more efficient — and environmentally-friendly — by replacing the old windows, insulating the basement and investing in high-efficiency appliances. They also heat 90 percent of their home with a centrally-located woodstove.

That’s the first step to a “greener” home, said Dan Wakeman, whose home will be the April 17 stop on Solar Tour Dryden. The tour, which runs through the summer, is designed to inspire those interested in transitioning to solar or other alternative energy sources, said Marie McRae, the tour’s organizer.

The next stop on the tour will be at Firefly Farm in the Town of Dryden, which features a “carbon neutral” farmhouse. The tour is scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon Saturday and is sponsored by the Dryden Resource Awareness Coalition (DRAC).

Making the leap

In 2011, the Wakemans were finally able to install solar panels. “The initial investment is, of course, a hurdle,” Dan Wakeman said. “But we realized these are our peak usage years with our four boys at home.” The market looked good, and he had done his homework and continues to keep track of all his usage in a neat binder.

They purchased a top-of-the-line solar array and installed it on the barn, right above the garden and the raspberry and blueberry bushes from which Cathy makes jam.

“We put in a little bigger (system) than we needed,” he said. “We were looking ahead.”Their next goal is to replace the family minivan with an electric, solar-powered vehicle.

Although the return on investment has been slow, that’s not the point for the Wakemans, whose gas and electric bill went down from $120 per month to $85 after they installed the panels. Currently, they generate more power than they use with the extra currents going to their neighbors and feeding back into the electrical grid.

“I’m pleased with it regardless of the return on investment period, and frankly very excited that our electrical footprint is not just small, but actually negative,” Dan Wakeman said.

March and April are good months for instantly generating power, he noted, because the sun hits the barn’s 45-degree angle roof just right.

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DRAC Makes the News

Dryden group shines light on alternative energy

DRYDEN — In an effort to curb dependence on fossil fuels, a Dryden group has decided to take it one house at a time. That’s the idea behind a new monthly “kitchen-table conversation” called Solar Tour Dryden, sponsored by the Dryden Resource Awareness Coalition.

The home tour is designed to encourage homeowners interested in switching to alternative fuel sources to learn from those who have already made the change. The next open house will take place from 10 a.m. to noon March 16 at 812 Irish Settlement Road. Attendees will learn how the homeowners tightened up their historic house and cut electric usage by 75 percent, according to the DRAC website.

“(The tour) is for people who may not know where to start,” said tour organizer Marie McRae, a member of DRAC and Solarize Tompkins County. “It’s a place where people can ask questions and get ideas.”

The first tour took place at the home of Bob Armstrong, who installed a large solar array that helps heat his home and powers his electric car.

According to the town’s Sustainability Report, 5 percent of Dryden homes in 2010 were heated with fuels other than fossils fuels. McRae said that DRAC members would like to see a significant increase in the percentage of households using solar power in the near future.

McRae also encourages homeowners to take a survey at to find out how their home can be a candidate for solar panels. The towns of Caroline and Danby are involved in the Solarize project, which helps take some of the obstacles out of installing solar systems. The objective of Solarize is to quadruple or quintuple the solar installations.

For more information, visit To take the survey, visit

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First ‘Solar Tour Dryden’ Event Warm, Well-Lit in Midwinter

Five upcoming tours showcase renewable energy in Dryden, NY homes

On February 19, a slick, snowy night, a dozen folks came to Turkey Hill Rd in Dryden to learn about solar panels and geothermal heat. They sat around Bob and Betty’s kitchen table, warmed by the earth and lighted by sun energy, they munched popcorn, and talked about solar installations.

There was a wonderful exchange of information. The visitors brought great questions and “..even the dog had a good time,” said Betty.

Bob and Betty have tightened the house envelope some (by increasing insulation and weather stripping around doors), but it is still a circa 1850s farmhouse with the leaks and creaks of old age. First they installed solar panels to provide electricity for their lights and running the furnace. Then when the furnace needed replacing they decided to install a geothermal system. That required more solar panels. They sized the new array so they could charge an electric car, too. The whole nine yards.

Have you wanted to learn more about tightening up your house, adding a solar electric system or maybe geothermal heat? Did you know that there are rebates and credits to help pay for these improvements? Come take part in “Solar Tour Dryden”, sponsored by the Dryden Resource Awareness Coalition (DRAC). Each month for the next 5 months we will sponsor an open house in a home where the owners have tightened up to conserve energy, or added a solar or geothermal system, or built their house “green” from scratch.

Our next Solar Tour open house will be on March 16th, 10-noon, at 812 Irish Settlement Rd. Learn how Stuart and Zoe tightened up their historic house and cut their electric usage by 75%.

This is a great opportunity to sit around the table with a Dryden neighbor, learn about their system, and ask your questions. Learn what works and what doesn’t work. We hope that you will come away from these visits with more understanding of how the use of energy conservation measures and alternative sources of energy can benefit your family, your wallet, your home, and your community.

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Renewable Energy Forum

February 25th, 7:00 pm, Unitarian Church in Ithaca (corner Aurora and Buffalo)

The League of Women voters is hosting a forum on the question of “what kind of renewable energy can we look to to sustain our local area as well as the state and the nation?”

Speakers: Guillermo Metz, Jonathan Comstock and Francis Vanek

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This program wants to bring at least 30 new solar photovoltaic (PV) or solar thermal (hot water) installations to Caroline, Dryden, and Danby in 2013. By working with state and county organizations, area residents, and solar energy installers, Solarize Tompkins County SE will streamline the installation process, making solar energy installations easy and affordable for area residents, farmers, business owners, municipalities, and institutions. See their website for more information.
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Solar Tour Dryden

Have you wanted to learn more about tightening up your house and adding a solar electric system or maybe geothermal heat?

In February we will start our tour on Turkey Hill Road at an older home where the owners have tightened the house envelope and then installed ground mount solar panels plus a geothermal heating/cooling system. The whole nine yards. The solar panels run their lights and the geothermal pumps and also charges their electric car.

FEBRUARY 19th, 7:00 pm, 301 Turkey Hill Road; home of Bob Armstrong and Betty Singer.

Come take part in the DRAC sponsored “Solar Tour Dryden”. Each month for the next 6 months we will sponsor an open house in a home where the owners have tightened up to conserve energy, or added a solar or geothermal system, or built “green” from scratch.

It is your opportunity to sit around the table with a Dryden neighbor, learn about their system, and ask your questions. Learn what works and what doesn’t work. We hope that you will come away from these visits with more understanding of how the use of energy conservation measures and alternative sources of energy can benefit your family, your wallet, and your home.

The remainder of our schedule will be posted here soon. The open house visits will occur in the third week of each month. Check back soon for more information.

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Upcoming Events February 2013

Governor Cuomo needs to decide whether to release the SGEIS by February 6  We are in sprint mode to target him until then. Please participate in one or more of the following events.

NOWCall Governor Cuomo Week!!

Please take 2 minutes to call Governor Cuomo and tell him not to release the SGEIS and move ahead with fracking. Also share around! 866-584-6799

Sunday, February 3,  12:30 – 4:00 , Ithaca:  Visualize Resistance

Rally starts on the Commons in Ithaca, and moves to “Fracking 101”, including a introduction to Direct Action, at the Unitarian Church Annex on Buffalo St. and Aurora, 2:00 – 4:00.   Everyone is welcome.

Monday, February 4 (9am-2pm, Albany): Rally to Stop Fracking Approval by Governor Cuomo ; Hearing Room B in LOB

The legislature will be able to question DEC Commissioner Martens (who testifies at 9:00 am) on their secretive, dysfunctional and undemocratic process. We need to pack the room and be there when DEC Commissioner Martens testifies and for the entirety of his remarks. Following the Commissioners testimony we will gather in the Million Dollar Staircase for a rally and a press conference to unite and demand that this fatally flawed process not move forward. We’re asking everyone to wear blue and bring a jar of the clean water from your tap to hold up as well as signs. Our message to Governor Cuomo is this – we are organized and we will not let up or give up.  Bus leaving from Wegmans at 6:00 am.

Tuesday, Feb 5 – Rally/ press Conference in Binghamton, 11:45 – 2:00

DON’T FRACK OUR HEALTH  With the health of Southern Tier residents at stake, Governor Cuomo called for a health study on fracking, which consisted of 25 hours of scientist’s time. The results of this have been kept secret, and he is set to move ahead with fracking with no public input. Our health and that of our families is worth more than a secret, rushed study!!
We will meet at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation Social Hall at 11:45 am for a rally and press conference. Speakers will include Dr. Sandra Steingraber and others TBD!  The Hall is reserved until 2 pm for a potluck immediately following the rally! Please bring a dish to pass, and allow some time to relax and eat!  183 Riverside Drive, Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Binghamton

Thursday, Feb. 7 Athens, PA: Psychological Impacts of Life in PA Gas Fields   Community Shale Network Program THURSDAY Feb. 7, 7pm  “A Silence of the Lambs – Exploring the Psychological Impacts of Life in the Pennsylvania Gas Fields” will be presented by Diane Siegmund at the Unitarian Universalist church of Athens and Sheshequin (UUAS), located at112 North Street in Athens PA, on February 7 at 7pm.  The event is free and open to the public.

Press Contact Info:Darcey Laine, Co-Moderator, Community Shale Network    607-220-4152


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