Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How Much Does Cornell Cooperative Extension Cost You?

I thought that it would be interesting to look at the effective cost per household of some of the county budget items in question this year. I went to the county budget posted online and extracted relevant numbers for yearly operating costs (2010 actual vs. 2011 projected) for Cornell Cooperative Extension and for the 6 county nature centers scheduled to be closed.

If you look at actual property tax revenues in the proposed $1.6B budget (county tax revenue = $548 million), then CCE's desired budget of $990k = .18% of property taxes. If an typical  household pays $4000 in county taxes (assuming an average local tax bill is $20k of which, according to the county budget report, 15-20% is county taxes), then the effective cost is $7.20 per household for support of CCE programs. If local tax averages are DOUBLE ($40k), the effective cost per household is still under $15 for CCE.

A similar calculation for operating costs (including personnel) for the 6 nature centers to be closed results in a net cost savings of 64 cents for an average household. (Effective cost per household = $2.16 for 2011 vs. $2.80 for 2010.) This is based upon total operating costs of $384,900 for 2010 and $297,400 for 2011.


These sample calculations do not include all of the proposed Parks & Rec cuts - specifically the Deer Management research program. At around $60k annual (field biologist's salary and misc expenses), this program works out to be 40 cents per household.


A similar cost analysis could be done to reveal the $/household impacts of other items in the budget. Roughly, every $30k in budget costs results in about 20 cents per household.

These are rough calcs, but with numbers such as these per household, the value equation of such environmental and educational services becomes obvious. The cuts are penny-wise and pound foolish.

---


Please contact the County Executive and the Board of Legislators about the importance of these services and your willingness as a county tax payer to support continuation of such services (all total - at a cost of under $20 per household).


Schedule of Public Meetings on the Budget: 


Wednesday November 30 at 7pm
Somers High School
120 Primrose Street, Lincolndale

Tuesday December 6 at 7pm
*** NEW LOCATION ***
LITTLE THEATER
Westchester County Center
198 Central Ave, White Plains, NY 10606.


Come early and register to speak up!


Call or write to County Executive Astorino at ce@westchestergov.com
and let him know that the Nature Centers, Parks, and wildlife habitat are important to you.

Call or write to your County Legislator - here is a page which lists all of them and links to contact info (email, phone) for each of the legislators.

Spread the word by sharing this email! 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

DEER DEER DEER!


Tips on Coping with Deer
with Ruth Rogers Clausen
author of 50 Beautiful Deer-Resistant Plants

A book-signing will follow the presentation
Tuesday November 29, 2011 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 noon
at Lasdon Park and Arboretum, Route 35, Katonah, NY 10536

Have you been frustrated by previous attempts at trying to grow an ornamental garden here in the heart of suburban deer country? Are you tired of having your hard work gobbled up by herds of hungry deer? Have you given up on trying to create an aesthetically pleasing garden with interesting plant combinations because you think it’s no longer possible? Invigorate your gardening enthusiasm with tips from well known garden writer, author and botanist Ruth Rogers Clausen through her years of experience with growing and knowing the “ins and outs” of perennial gardening right here in Westchester deer country!

Registration and light refreshments 10:00 AM to10:30 AM. Lecture begins promptly at 10:30 AM!

Sponsored by
Cornell University Cooperative Extension of Westchester County Westchester County Department of Parks, Recreation & Conservation The Friends of Lasdon Park and Arboretum

Program fee is $15.00 per personPre-registration is required and must be accompanied by a check payable to: Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester County and must be received by Tuesday, 11/22/11. MAIL FORM BELOW AND PAYMENT TO: Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester County, 26 Legion Drive, Valhalla, NY 10595Sorry! No refunds! For further information call 914-285- 4640 or send email to: ggg3@cornell.edu . Space is limited, so don’t delay!


Riverkeeper Update on Hydro-Fracking - Take Action!



Riverkeeper’s attorneys are preparing detailed responses to regulators’ flawed draft environmental review and rules on fracking, and the public has only until Dec. 12 to join us by submitting their own comments on the state's fracking proposal.  Not only does the proposal fail to protect water, but the state fails to seriously consider any socio-economic risks of fracking, from the costs of increased road construction to potential impacts on tourism and farming.
  • Join Us! Attend our presentation, “Understanding the Facts on Fracking,” Nov. 16 at the Town of Esopus Library.
  • Make a Difference! Attend New York State Department of Environmental Conservation public hearings on its draft environmental review and regulations; and/or the Delaware River Basin Commission’s public hearing on its draft regulations throughout November.
  • Do Your Part! Comment on the DEC’s draft environmental review and regulations. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Love 'Em and Leave 'Em Neighborhood Training Events




Updated - Rescheduled Events Due to Last Weekend's Snow Storm

The Irvington Green Policy Task Force would like to invite you to attend one of our upcoming neighborhood training sessions for Irvington's "Love 'Em and Leave 'Em" leaf mulching-in-place initiative.  We held our first training last Saturday (Oct 22) in the Jaffray Park neighborhood. The Rivertowns Enterprise attended and there was a nice write-up and editorial about the training in Friday's edition (Oct 28th) of the Enterprise.

Saturday
Nov 5, 10-11am Spiro Park -  12 Woodbine Rd. (off Station Road)
Nov 5, 11am-noon 65 W.Clinton Ave. (will include landscaper demo of commercial mower)
Nov 5, 2-3pm Main Street at the Rip Van Winkle Statue Park (between Village Hall and Main Street school)

Sunday
Nov 6, 3-4pm 10 North Eckar St. (off Main Street)

Please feel free to contact us at green@irvingtonny.gov for more information. Background information on the LELE initiative can be found on the village website at www.irvingtonny.gov/green

---

Mark Gilliland
Irvington Green Policy Task Force

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Celebrating Trees in Our Communities

This community oriented presentation by international arboricultural consultant, Frank Buddingh’  will explore the importance of trees and how they are intimately linked to our lives.


Attendees will be introduced to:
1. the elements within the community that impact the health of trees
2. conflicts within the areas of local environmental policy and social customs pertaining to the health of trees
3. health-promoting features of the tree population
4. the need for change within our communities in regard to the health of its trees and the future

“We owe some understanding to our trees, without them life on earth is simply impossible!”, says Frank who has worked with and consulted on trees for over forty years in many locations around the world. Franks clients have ranged from royal households and local governments to corporations and tree owners. He has a deep understanding of the needs of trees and the importance of balancing these needs with the needs of people. 

Thursday, October 13th at 7:00, Larchmont Library. Free.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Utilities and Hurricane Irene


LORAX's Patricia Podolak reports on Monday's WCBOL Committee on Environment & Energy Committee meeting:

FYI. This afternoon I took some time from my busy work schedule and attended the West. Co. Board of Legislators – Committee on Environment & Energy Meeting. The topic of today’s meeting was utility storm response. Representatives from Con Edison and NYSEG were present to discuss the recent electric outages and obstacles resulting from tropical Storm Irene. Leg. Kaplowitz was not present due to the recent, sudden passing of his father. Majority Leader Harckham chaired the meeting. Seven other legislators were in attendance. The meeting lasted 1.5 hours. 

In  brief overview:

·       PSC was invited to attend and was not present. Harckham termed this “very disturbing” and “an abomination."
·       Harckham raised the issue that no significant resources were available until Wednesday after the storm.
·       NYSEG emphasized the extreme differences between its service territory and that of Con Edison. Con Edison 380 sq miles. NYSEG 11,000 sq miles, 26 counties, 270 municipalities. NYSEG heavily rural and spread out, covering 44% of upstate. 15% of NYSEG customers were without power.
·       Con Ed said that they had 2 Incident Commanders (IC’s). NYSEG said that they had 1 IC and he came from a sister company in Maine and arrived on Wednesday.
·       Con Ed said that most power was restored by Thursday evening---97% of West Co. NYSEG took longer.
·       They both used first few days for clearing trees with help of DPWs. Then line outages addressed.
·       Both brought in out of state crews.
·       Con Ed sand bagged some substations due to the threat of flooding.
·       NYSEG said they experienced the worst infrastructure damage in 30 years. Brewster division heavily wooded and difficult to access. 3,000 wires down and 300 poles down.
·       NYSEG worked transmission segment first, then the distribution lines. Some substations were out.
·       Both claimed that they had a problem getting dry ice. One legislator noted that there is an ice company in Mamaroneck that was selling it after the storm.
·       Con Edison said that their approach has been having municipal liaisons and they plan to meet with municipal officials in the future and not the public
·       NYSEG said that they have too many municipalities to cover and that is why they can not have municipal liaisons. However, for this storm they said that they did use municipal liaisons in West Co.
·       Municipal officials were invited to speak. The Police Chief from Pound Ridge noted that their entire town was out and they only have NYSEG. He further noted that the municipal liaison approach was more of a problem than help for them because it introduced yet another layer in the process.
·       Both utilities said that they will not cover the cost of lost food because the outage was storm related.
·       There will be a follow-up meeting Sept 19 or 26. Issues were identified today. Plan of action to be addressed at next meeting.

In my opinion, both utilities should include the public in their meetings and not just select municipal officials.

With well organized emergency response and preparedness plans, everything should fall readily into place. There may be a few minor glitches which is all that a municipal liaison should have to become involved with. I agree with the Police Chief from Pound Ridge. Too many layers of bureaucracy can impede the restoration/recovery process and the municipal liaison should not play a major role.

NYSEG should use an in-state IC that is on staff.

It has been demonstrated repeatedly that the PSC is not in control where it should be. After years of dealing with this, it has become evident to me that the regulators are too close to the utilities. It is the PSC that should be investigated by our state elected officials. Reform is necessary at the level of the PSC. That is the only way to obtain significant change. Complaint letters to the PSC will only result in marginal actions.  

It should be further noted that trees are not the only cause of electrical outages during major storms. It is a complex issue that includes (and is not limited to) flooding, winds, aged infrastructure, employee training, emergency response procedures, etc.

There are individuals who have and who continue to try to address distribution line vegetation management issues. A regulatory approach would be the most effective. There are sensible ways and standards that can be utilized if officials are serious about it. However, one cannot ignore the significant impact of aged distribution line infrastructure (lines, poles, transformers, etc.) and lack of routine infrastructure maintenance. In the case of Con Edison, rather than clear cutting their transmission line where the outages are not occurring, it would be more prudent for them to shift resources to the distribution lines.

These are complex issues, and it is doubtful under current circumstances that complaints filed with the PSC will bring about long term necessary change.

Thank you.

Dr. Patricia Podolak
Chair, Utilities Oversight Committee
Town of Yorktown

Support Cornell Cooperative Extension's 2012 Budget


The time to start thinking about Westchester Cornell Cooperative Extension's 2012 budget is now. The Hay U Farm Friends have been working with Legislator Peter Harckham and the CCE staff to start a petition to keep CCE funded in 2012. The link to the petition is:


Please get all of your members, families, friends, acquaintances and anyone else to go to the ipetitions website and sign the petition. In the fall, we will present the petition to County Supervisor Astorino and the entire Westchester Board of Legislators. If we have enough signatures, it will make a difference.

Thank you for all of your help,

Emory Nager

VP HAY U Farm Friends (North Salem 4-H Club)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Hydrofracking Report Out, Countdown Clock Begins



From Eco Politics Daily
Submitted by Dan Hendrick on Thu, 2011-09-08 10:51.
With the release of a study of economic and community impacts, the Department of Environmental Conservation officially has officially started the countdown clock on its plan to allow hydrofracking in New York State.
DEC Commisioner Joe Martens has said his  agency's goal is to protect the environment while creating economic  opportunity.DEC Commisioner Joe Martens has said his agency's goal is to protect the environment while creating economic opportunity.The public comment period for the revised draft environmental impact statement began Sept. 7 and concludes Dec. 12.  
Running concurrently with that public comment period, the DEC will also accept input on its proposed regulations governing high-volume hydraulic fracturing.
The fact that these two public comment periods are running concurrently reflects the Cuomo administration's intention to move swiftly with its hydrofracking review. 
The new studies conclude that hydrofracking will produce much-needed jobs: between 4,400 and 18,000 construction jobs and 1,800 and 7,200 long-term jobs. Estimated wages run between $621 million and $2.5 billion per year, while the state government is estimated to receive $24 million and $125 million in new personal tax revenues.
But many questions remain, including the possibility of imposing royalties on natural gas to help pay for the state's cost of regulating the industry. 
Exactly how any gas produced from hydrofracking will fit into New York's energy future and needs also remains a serious question -- in addition to the well-documented environmental concerns.
For now, one thing is certain -- the upcoming four public meetings (dates and locations not yet announced) are guaranteed to be lively.

---
The nearest locale for hearings in our area will be NYC. -mg -

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Million Letters Against Fracking

There are many reasons why New Yorkers are writing to Governor Andrew Cuomo and asking him to prohibit fracking in our state. Here are just a few good ones: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hw2jZQfyYiM

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Are Guidelines updated in Case 10-E-0155 Being Ignored??

PRESS RELEASE
Contact:

Mark Gilliland
GEF LORAX Working Group
c/o Greenburgh Nature Center
99 Dromore Rd Scarsdale, NY 10583
(914) 714-3056
lorax@markg.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NYS PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION’S NEW VEGETATION MANAGEMENT GUIDELINES PUT TO THE TEST

Are Guidelines updated in Case 10-E-0155 Being Ignored??

GREENBURGH, NEW YORK – The GEF LORAX Working Group applauds the New York Public Service Commission’s (PSC) re-examination of its 2005 policy and guidelines for vegetation management along high voltage transmission line Rights-of-Way (ROWs). This review, known as Case 10-E-0155, has resulted in updated guidelines, effective July 2011, for management plans of Con Edison, O&R and other transmission utilities statewide. More information about this can be found on the LORAX blog: http://loraxwg.blogspot.com/2011/05/published-order-for-case-10-e-0155.html.

An important element of the new guidelines is the use of what is termed a modified "tiered" vegetation management approach - which states that vegetation which could never grow into the wire protection zone should be left standing in the ROWs, rather than the utility simply undertaking unconstrained clear cutting, thus helping to maintain visual/noise buffers in many instances. The outcome of tiered management should be better vegetation management decisions based upon actual site conditions, not “one-size-fits-all.”

In addition, the new guidelines introduce the notion of “high density” ROWs such as those found throughout Westchester, Rockland and parts of Orange County. These suburban areas with dense populations of homeowners along the ROW will now be required to have special transmission vegetation management plans (TVMPs) defined specifically for them in order to reduce negative environmental and property value impacts.
However, it has come to LORAX’s attention that Con Edison is effectively ignoring these new guidelines. Numerous complaints from homeowners and property owners along the Catskill Aqueduct transmission corridor in Westchester County, previously impacted in 2009 by the clear cutting of all vegetation across the width of the ROW, have been received concerning Con Edison personnel stating that they intend to “complete the cycle” of vegetation management (without further landowner notification) as previously approved until completion of work sometime in 2012. The work outlined involves going back into the ROW and cutting down any re-sprouting trees, thence applying herbicides to the stumps and to other undesirable vegetation which may have emerged. The work will be done across the entire ROW (up to 130 feet on either side of the transmission line) regardless of terrain or vegetative buffer needs of residents. This work cycle will begin in Yonkers and travel up the ROW into northern Westchester. Work will commence in the Sprain Road area soon.

None of the new PSC guideline requirements are being addressed by Con Edison. A field supervisor stated during an on-site meeting with a resident that there was no need to define “high density” plans for this area. Furthermore, there was no intention of saving any re-spouting trees to help restore natural, native buffers to reduce noise and views of the nearby Sprain Parkway.

The GEF LORAX Working Group believes that it is imperative for the PCS to demonstrate a commitment to the new guidelines by having Department of Public Service (DPS) utility regulators work through the pertinent details of the new requirements with Con Edison, and thence ensure Con Edison implements said adjustments to it’s ongoing TVMP immediately, not sometime after 2012.

LORAX has just released an analysis of the 2011 PSC guidelines which outlines “missing” regulations, loopholes, and other areas of procedural concern which should be addressed immediately by the PSC or by the state legislature in order to ensure a better balance of environmental, health and property value concerns with that of provision of safe, reliable electric power. Several of these outlined issues are already being brought to the forefront by the current actions of Con Edison (described above). The LORAX analysis can be found at: http://loraxwg.blogspot.com/2011/06/gef-analysis-of-psc-case-10-e-0155.html.

  
If you are a resident, landowner or municipal official who is experiencing similar difficulties or have concerns with ongoing transmission line vegetation management, you can submit complaints to the PSC (via phone, fax, website, mail or email): http://www.dps.state.ny.us/complaints.html

For more information and background documentation, visit http://loraxwg.blogspot.com

###

Friday, July 8, 2011

Revised Con Ed Schedule for Pruning for 7/11 (Irvington)

from the village:

Tree work is continuing through Monday 7/11 in the following areas:

N. Broadway
Strawberry La
High School Rd
Riverview Rd
Barbara La
Janet Terrace
Irving Pl

Please use this list as a guideline and not a guaranteed schedule. Con Edison’s tree contractor will need to adjust this schedule based on the actual work completed in the field. This, of course, is dependent on many factors including weather and other unforeseen circumstances. If you have specific questions or concerns, please contact Irvington Superintendent of Public Works, Greg Nilsson at 914-591-6044 or gnilsson@irvingtonny.gov. In addition, Con Edison can be reached directly at 1-800-75-CONED (1-800-752-6633).

State To Release Full Hydrofracking Study Today

from EcoPolitics Daily:
Submitted by Colleen Elrod
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is scheduled to release its full review of hydraulic fracturing on Friday, July 8. 

The study will be posted to this DEC Web page at some point that day.
Environmental groups including NYLCV are anxiously awaiting the full documentation for the state's proposal to allow limited hydrofracking in New York. Last week, DEC announced the outline of the study's proposals and agreed to ban hydrofracking in the watersheds of New York City and Syracuse, which are unfiltered drinking-water systems.
Some environmental groups are also questioning the wisdom of banning hydrofracking in some parts of the state, but allowing it in other areas.
DEC will start accepting public comments on its review in August. 
--



Friday, July 1, 2011

Cuomo Administration Makes Its Move On Fracking

from EcoPolitics Daily:


Submitted by Dan Hendrick on Thu, 2011-06-30 22:26.
After many months of study and contentious debate, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation will release its review of hydrofracking on Friday morning, July 1st.
DEC Commissioner Joe Martens will release the  fracking study on Friday at 11  a.m.DEC Commissioner Joe Martens will release the fracking study on Friday at 11 a.m.According to a brief summary produced by DEC, the Cuomo administration will recommend that hydrofracking be allowed in New York. However, the practice would be prohibited in the New York City and Syracuse watersheds and on state-owned land including forest areas and parks. 
The goal, according to the summary, is to "protect the state’s environmentally sensitive areas while realizing the economic development and energy benefits of the state’s natural gas resources."  Some 85 percent of the state's Marcellus Shale area would be open to drilling if the recommendations are adopted. 
DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens said the report "strikes the right balance between protecting our environment, watersheds, and drinking water and promoting economic development.” 
NYLCV President Marcia Bystryn said that while more details will be learned once the full 900 page study is released Friday, some facts are already clear. "The Department of Environmental Conservation's review is a marked improvement over the previous proposal, which would have allowed hydrofracking in New York City's watershed and risked contaminating the drinking water system that supplies nine million people. DEC has also dropped plans to allow hydrofracking on state-owned lands like parks," she said.

But as with all studies of this complexity - the devil is in the details. NYLCV will be watching closely to make sure that if hydrofracking is allowed in New York, our state has the most rigorous regulatory protocols and enforcement in place to make sure our drinking water and environment are protected. 
Commissioner Martens will release the full report at 11 a.m. Friday.
For some preliminary coverage, check out the Times Union and the New York Times.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Revised (Again) Con Ed Schedule for Irvington

Tree work is expected to begin Friday (7/1) and continue on Tuesday (7/5) in the following areas:

Day 1 (Friday 7/1)
Hermits Rd
East and West Sunnyside
Circle Dr
Hudson Ave
Center St
Park Ave
Fargo La
Meadowbrook Rd

Day 2 (Tuesday 7/5)
N. Broadway
Strawberry La
High School Rd
Riverview Rd
Barbara La
Janet Terrace
Irving Pl

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

GEF Analysis of PSC Case 10-E-0155 Guidelines

The GEF LORAX Working Group has completed an initial review of the recent guidelines issued by the NYSPSC in Case 10-E-0155. The following concerns are raised - some of which may be resolved procedurally, but others of which may require updated or clarified guidelines, or perhaps legislative action:


General Comments
Guidelines do not address the full set of 9 Commission questions originally posed in Case 10-E-0155 last year. (Example, little discussion of “best practices” is provided.)

Guidelines are often vague and too much is left open for interpretation by individual utilities.

Integration with previous Order (04-E-0822) is weak at best. (Previous order is appended to new order. Is it clear how and where 10-E-0155 supersedes the previous 2005 order in all areas of potential interpretive conflict?) <-- Further study required to document apparent conflicts.


Notification
All utilities in NYS should be included in notification requirements.

Need to spell out more clearly what actions allow short term (30 day) and what actions need long term (up to 180 day) notification.

Utilities should be required to provide 90 day 'public notice' to municipalities when they plan to do VM work. This notice could then be read at board meetings, posted on municipal web sites, etc. Allows time for public meetings.

Missing requirement to ensure demarcation of ROW (easement, trees to be removed, danger trees) in advance of on-site meetings with landowners.

Better, more timely notification to abutting landowners is required for herbicide application cycles. Special exemptions from herbicide IVM required for agricultural lands, esp. those intended for "organic" production.


Mitigation
Needs more detail and criteria regarding replanting and other forms of mitigation. Must eliminate any utility "opt out" loop holes.

Lack of any science-based analysis (eg: bio survey) of ROW as a basis for determining areas of exclusion (buffers, habitat) and required mitigation.

Lack of discussion of tree valuation and ecosystem services (again as a basis for mitigation).

Lack of surety (performance) bonds for mitigation practices.

Rate payers, adjacent property owners and municipalities should not be expected to cover the costs for mitigation and repair. Other means of covering the costs need to be found (i.e. percentage of utility’s annual net profit).

Minimizing the need for mitigation (ie: minimizing negative impacts at the time of work) should be the focus - not extracting even higher rates from ratepayers.

No explicit requirement for arbitration in the case of landowner disagreement with proposed work.


High Density ROWs
All utilities in NYS should be included in development of special case ROW management programs for sensitive areas (e.g.: park lands and preserves), not only "high density" populated areas.

Need clear guidelines for TVMP alternatives concerning agricultural lands (to safeguard human health and the farmers’ ability to fully utilize their land), as well as for other "special use" areas (e.g.; parks and recreation areas), as well.


Previous Damages (2004-2010)
No mention of restitution and mitigation for those homeowners who suffered adverse impacts. Many areas still need repair. ("For most of us, the bulk of our equity is in our homes. Some of us have been rendered properties that can never be sold again because of what Con Edison did on their adjacent property.")


TVM Techniques
No specific recommendations on new VM practices such as "on demand" response (via LIDAR and GIS system mapping).

No discussion of urgency in managing invasive plants and animal populations (white tail deer).

No discussion of the need to monitor work sites for proper DEC stormwater and erosion controls. (Or in the case of DEP Aqueduct lands, the need to ensure water course and water body buffers are maintained and not compromised.)

Need to define alternative methods of IVM and need to ensure conformance to new guidelines supporting reduced vegetation removal in order to phase out reliance on the excessive use of herbicides.

Unfortunately, current level of DPS staffing does not allow for robust monitoring by PSC of any utility's work. This defaults to "self-monitoring" and "self-reporting" - which has not worked in the past.


Complaint Resolution & Arbitration
PSC complaint & arbitration has left a lot to be desired over the last few years. Most testimonial from both the public and municipal officials in Case 10-E-0155 hearings clearly indicated they they were not satisfied in the process. There needs to be improved accountability and responsiveness regarding complaint arbitration procedures.

There needs to be an "on the spot" dispute resolution process. Otherwise, extended delay is handling complaint may be "after the fact" and the damage will have been done. Related: what if utility strays from its stated plan? There should be a "stop work" order until such complications can be investigated and resolved.

Utility fines for non-compliance with TVMPs or these guidelines should be clearly indicated and implemented in a timely manner.


Updated TVMPs
Recommendation #4 needs particular attention due to the push back by the TOs against the publishing of their VM plans for security and proprietary concerns. Some NYS TOs publish TVMPs un-redacted (such as O&R), while others (Con Ed) make it difficult to even get hold of their heavily redacted TVMP without a FOIL.

There needs to be some sort of public comment / oversight on the new TVMPs. (LORAX would be willing to provide review and feedback of these so as to ensure landowner and municipal concerns were addressed.)

Currently approved (in process) TVMP cycles should not continue without review and conformance to new guidelines. The utilities should not be allowed to simply "finish the cycle" before addressing concerns such as modified wz/bz, high density ROWS, and preservation of buffers.


New Technologies
Need a NYSPSC or Federal directive and pilot project funding support for utilities to embrace new technologies which help to prevent widespread blackouts (e.g.; Smart Grid).


Federal Guidelines
PSC needs to work with NERC/FERC to try to renormalize fines dealing with vegetation encroachment so as to reduce pressure to simply "clear cut".


--

A pdf of this analysis can be downloaded here.

Revised Con Ed Pruning Start Date: Wednesday 6/29/11

Tree work is expected to begin Wednesday (6/29) and continue to Thursday (6/30) in the following areas:

Day 1 (Wednesday 6/29)

Hermits Rd
East and West Sunnyside
Circle Dr
Hudson Ave
Center St
Park Ave

Day 2 (Thursday 6/30)

Fargo La
Meadowbrook Rd
N. Broadway
Strawberry La
High School Rd
Riverview Rd
Barbara La
Janet Terrace
Irving Pl


Monday, June 27, 2011

Con Edison To Begin Pruning In Irvington

from today's Village of Irvington eblast:
Con Edison is scheduled to perform routine tree trimming and tree removal work in the Village of Irvington in the coming weeks.  Irvington officials have met with Con Edison to review their plan for this work.  We have asked Con Edison to provide us with a list of streets / areas on a daily basis where tree work is expected.  This list will be published to the Village web site and sent to the Village-wide email list.

In addition to keeping you informed about the expected tree work locations, we are providing you with a link to helpful information about Con Edison’s Distribution Line clearing activities:

http://www.coned.com/publicissues/treeguide_intro.asp

Con Edison is legally required to provide all adjacent property owners with notification of tree maintenance activities.  This notification likely took place with a letter some time ago.  In addition, if a tree removal is planned for a tree located on private property, Con Edison is required to obtain the private property owner's permission to complete the removal.  Also, in such cases, the private property owner can request a meeting with Con Edison to review the planned work.

Tree work is expected to begin Monday (6/27) and continue to Tuesday (6/28) in the following areas:

Day 1 (Monday 6/27)Hermits Rd
East and West Sunnyside
Circle Dr
Hudson Ave
Center St
Park Ave

Day 2 (Tuesday 6/28)Fargo La
Meadowbrook Rd
N. Broadway
Strawberry La
High School Rd
Riverview Rd
Barbara La
Janet Terrace
Irving Pl

Please use this list as a guideline and not a guaranteed schedule.  Con Edison’s tree contractor will need to adjust this schedule based on the actual work completed in the field.  This, of course, is dependent on many factors including weather and other unforeseen circumstances.  If you have specific questions or concerns, please contact Irvington Superintendent of Public Works, Greg Nilsson at 914-591-6044 or gnilsson@irvingtonny.gov.  In addition, Con Edison can be reached directly at 1-800-75-CONED (1-800-752-6633).

--
For ideas about what you might do as a homeowner to best protect your trees, please read this previous blog posting: Homeowner Checklist

Friday, June 24, 2011

Invasive Beetle Makes Further Inroads In New York

Emerald Ash Borer is not in Westchester County yet, but will eventually arrive here. Public and private planing for this eventuality is urgently required.
--
from Eco Politics Daily:read original version

Submitted by Natalie Zises on Fri, 2011-06-17 11:42.
The emerald ash borer beetle that was first detected in New York State's Cattaraugus County in 2009 has now been detectedin Buffalo's South Park, a 155-acre park and arboretum that is part of the historic Olmsted Parks System. It marks the first time the ash borer beetle has been seen in Erie County.
Despite multi-state efforts to curtail its  expansion, the emerald ash borer has spread across the  Northeast.Despite multi-state efforts to curtail its expansion, the emerald ash borer has spread across the Northeast.This small yet destructive beetle has metallic green wings and a coppery red or purple abdomen. The danger lies in its larvae, which feed in tunnels below the bark of the ash tree. By doing so, the ash borers make it difficult for water and nutrients to flow through, causing the death of branches eventually the entire tree.
New York has over 900 million ash trees, which make up 7 percent of our tree population. However, this may not be the case all too soon, due to this invasive insect.
The beetle has already decimated tens of millions of ash trees in the United States. In New York State, alone 16 counties are under quarantine -- and the invasion shows no signs of stopping.
The Department of Environmental Conservation has been implementing a strategy it calls SLAM, for "slow ash mortality." By training citizens and volunteers to spot the emerald ash borer, they are hoping to slow the beetle's take-down of the green, white, blue, and black ash. However, an effective method to fully stop the beetles has proven elusive so far.

Bill To Protect NY's Waters - Real Constraints on Hydro-fracking?



from Eco Politics Daily:
Legislation to finally end large-scale, unregulated withdrawals of New York's water has passed both houses of the Legislature and now heads to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's desk.


Marking one of the most important environmental successes of the 2011 legislative session, the measure provides the Department of Environmental Conservation with new authority to regulate facilities with the capacity to withdraw more than 100,000 gallons of water per day. 


Read more.