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May/June 2010
Explore, enjoy and protect the planet

This newsletter also available as a PDF file.

Electronic Newsletters
To be friendlier to the environment, we deliver our newsletters, in both html and pdf format, via our web site,  We also mail paper newsletters with our "Year in Review" articles and those listing the candidates for the Executive Committee elections to all members.  If you would like to have a hard copy of all newsletters sent to you through the postal mail, please contact Jack Davis at 570-553-2081 or .

General Meetings
Tuesday, May 18; 7:30 pm
Community Gardens' Laura Biasillo speaks on “Buying Local, Eating Local - A Triple Bottom Line Win-Win for Everyone.” Learn the history of farmers' markets in Broome County. Learn why it's important to eat local from the economic, environmental and social points of view. Learn how easy it is to buy local and learn about locations of the farmers' markets in Broome County. Co-speaker Scott Barvainis, Acting Chair of V.I.N.E.S. (Volunteers Improving Neighborhood Environments), describes how community gardens have been created throughout the city.

Tuesday, June 15; 7:30 pm
Jeff Barker, Professor of Geology at Binghamton University
"Earthquakes in Haiti and Chile - why so different?"
The recent earthquake in Chile was ten times larger than the earthquake in Haiti, yet the death toll in Haiti was more than 500 times larger than in Chile. Why? The answer involves science, politics and economics.

About General Meetings

Everyone interested is welcome at all Sierra Club activities, whether or not a member (except for Executive Committee meetings). General meetings are held at 7:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month, except July and August. They are held at Central United Methodist Church, 17 Nanticoke Ave., Endicott, NY (on Route 26 — from Route 17, follow 26 north to Endicott, west on East Main, north of Nanticoke.) The public is welcome and refreshments are served following the meeting. Contact Julian Shepherd at for more information.


Saturday, June 19

Brick Pond Outing; 9 am
Naturalist Julian Shepherd leads an educational Sierra Club outing to Brick Pond, Owego, on Saturday, June 19. Brick Pond is a fine example of a reconstructed wetland (after damage by the 2006 flood), made resistant to beaver damage. We meet at 9 a.m. at the Vestal Library to carpool to Owego. Return to the library at about noon to enjoy the Farmer’s Market.

Waterman Walk Through Time
July 17-18; 10 am - 3 pm
Waterman Conservation and Environmental Center’s  “The Walk Through Time” is on July 17-18, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.  The last boat takes passengers to the island at 2 p.m.
Costs: $9 adults, $8 seniors, $6 children, and children under 5 free. This year, it will be combined with a Lumberjack Festival on the mainland.
Nature Walks in IBM Glen
Sat. May 22, Wildflower Walk with Mary Ann Cuff and Eileen Patch. 2 p.m.
Sat., June 5, 6-8:30 p.m., Nature Walk with
butterfly expert Colleen Wolpert.
Sat., July 3, 9-11 a.m., Nature Walk with Naturalist Julian Shepherd.
IBM Glen is on Robinson Hill Road, Endwell. To register or for more information, call 625-2221. Children welcome but must be accompanied by an adult. $3/members, $4/non-members, $1 for children. Waterman membership forms will be available at the Glen. Also available at

EPA to Study
Water Impact of Gas Drilling

An EPA study of hydraulic fracturing set to begin this spring is expected to provide the most expansive look yet at how the natural gas drilling process can affect drinking water supplies. The research will take a substantial step beyond previous studies and focus on how a broad range of ancillary activity- not just the act of injecting fluids under pressure -- may affect drinking water quality.

The oil and gas industry strongly opposes this new approach. The agency's intended research "goes well beyond relationships between
hydraulic fracturing and drinking water" said Lee Fuller, an official of the Independent Petroleum Association of America.

The "life cycle" approach will allow the agency to take into account hundreds of reports of water contamination in gas drilling fields across the country. Researchers could examine both underground and surface water supplies, gas well construction errors, liquid waste disposal issues and chemical storage plans as part of its assessment.

Information gained from looking at the total impact from start to finish of the process called a life cycle assessment "can help policymakers understand and make decisions about the breadth of issues related to hydraulic fracturing, including cross-media risks and the relationship to the entire natural gas production cycle."

Fuller has explained that hydraulic fracturing shouldn't be blamed for any contamination unless the process was "the sole" cause.  He said, for example: if contamination seeped through cracks in a gas well's protective casings, he wouldn't attribute it to fracturing because the cracks may have existed before the fracturing process began and would be a well construction problem, not a fracturing problem.

Fuller's definition of fracturing related contamination helps explain the industry's steadfast claim that there is not a single case in which hydraulic fracturing has been proven to have contaminated drinking water supplies.
The EPA has made clear that for its purposes fracturing may play a role in many aspects of the drilling process and in many different environmental risks.  The study could examine how well-construction activities have the potential to impact water, what specific materials or design practices would make a well suitable for fracturing and what are the most effective methods for measuring well integrity.
The EPA hopes to complete its research by late 2012.  Scientists say that may not be enough time to include substantial field monitoring and water analysis; policymakers say that is too long to wait for a decision from Congress.
The agency's conclusion could have wide-range effects and the research process will be contentious.
NY City environmental officials encourage the EPA "to take a hard look at this activity and to recognize that the absence of contamination does not necessarily imply an activity is safe, but may actually reflect extensive gaps in monitoring information”.
Abrahm Lustgarten article excerpted by Fiske Hanson
To read the entire article:
To write to the author:

Keystone Chooses Sustainability
By Brandon Bordeaux, BOCES New Visions Student

The sustainability movement is one that would mean very little without companies that actively support rethinking modern business paradigms. Keystone Associates is one such business that shows the initiative and ingenuity to improve both their company and their local community. Keystone Associates is an architecture company based out of Binghamton, New York that has taken great strides toward sustainable development.  As students of the New Visions Sustainable Community Academy we were able to experience firsthand some of the conscientious thinking that Keystone Associates has put into their recent building designs.

An energy-efficient/sustainable building that Keystone designed was the Boys and Girls Club in Binghamton, New York. This building was designed by LEED certified architect Kenneth Gay and uses insulated concrete forms or ICFs. Insulated concrete forms are giant foam blocks which once filled with concrete, take on a very high insulation value saving money/energy on heating and cooling. Keystone Associates won an award for its design through the Insulated Concrete Form Magazine. Keystone was recognized with honors at the World of Concrete expo in Las Vegas.
Another green building designed by Keystone is a housing complex for homeless handicapped individuals. 

The newest building being designed by Keystone Associates is MaineSource in Ithaca, New York. The building was designed following guidelines set by The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is hoping to receive accreditation once completed. The guidelines set by LEED take into consideration 8 areas of quality several of which are location and planning, water efficiency, and materials and resources. Keystone designed MaineSource keeping all these prerequisites in mind. Once finished the building will be another innovative design by Keystone and a beautiful addition to Ithaca’s community.

Green Job Training Revives Binghamton
by Peter McWain, Education Chair

Adult students in the Green job training program learn skills that will carry the Southern Tier into a more sustainable future. The green jobs initiative is an 18-week program that aims to re-skill unemployed residents with “green” contracting practices. Students earn an hourly wage as they learn how contractors can reuse materials and explore green technologies. “Students learn basic construction skills while gaining a greater appreciation for the environment” commented instructor Fred Heisler. The Green-jobs training program is funded through federal stimulus grant money and is a joint effort between Broome-Tioga BOCES, Workforce New York, and Opportunities for Broome County. 

Fred Heisler explains “We are trying to develop a practical skill set that will allow residents to transition from the welfare roll to viable employment” he continues, stating that “the students are enjoying the program and eager to learn.”  You can catch the 29 students of this program out in the field as they breathe life back into a dilapidated Victorian house at 27 Pine Street in Binghamton. It is great to see programs that teach sustainability directly augment our local community.

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Sierra Club Websites
Each of these provides links to the other two:


Atlantic Chapter (NY State):

Susquehanna Group (NY Southern Tier- Binghamton - area):

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To join on our listserv:
To join our emial list (low volume!) for announcements about meetings, outings and other events, send your full name and preferred e-mail address to Erin Riddle at .

Electronic Newsletters
To be friendlier to the environment, we deliver our newsletters, in both html and pdf format, via our web site: If you would like to have all newsletters mailed, please contact Jack Davis at 570-553-2081 or .

Group Officers for 2009-2010

Group Chair: Julian Shepherd

Vice Chair: Erin Riddle

Secretary: Fiske D. Hanson

Treasurer: Vivian Stevens

Chapter Delegate: Jeff Bohner
772- 8304,

Conservation: Rich Kellman
Cool Cities Coordinator: Erin Riddle

Peter McWain
Fundraising: Vivian Stevens

Membership: Jack Davis

Media/Publicity: Fiske Hanson

Outings: Nancy McGee

Newsletter Editor: Lee Shepherd

Mailing Address:
Susquehanna Group of the Sierra Club
P.O. Box 572
Endicott, N.Y. 13760


This page last updated June 9, 2010