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Energy

Uncle Sam wants to read your Facebook messages

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Wiretapping: not just for phones anymore, if the feds get their way.

Watching the invective
The feds want to be able to wiretap your Facebook, Blackberry and MySpace messages.  The New York Times reports that the officials say they need the capability to monitor non-phone conversations between terrorism suspects.

Investigators have been concerned for years that changing communications technology could damage their ability to conduct surveillance. In recent months, officials from the F.B.I., the Justice Department, the National Security Agency, the White House and other agencies have been meeting to develop a proposed solution.

Fracking in the forest
The Department of Environmental Conservation [DEC] is considering leasing state forest land for use in natural gas drilling.  Environmentalist Bruce Ferguson tells  Gannett's Jon Cambell that forests are "a treasure:"

"They [the DEC] are supposed to be conserved for future New Yorkers. If you look at the state forests in Pennsylvania that have been leased, it's astonishing how destructive this process can be."

Wind power flap
The Democrat and Chronicle reports that employee stock ownership is on the rise - so more workers actually own a piece of their place of work.

Despite freedom of information requests, the New York Power Authority is still shaking off demands that it share the off-shore wind proposals that it’s considering.  The Democrat and Chronicle reports that the authority is concerned that if the proposals are made public, opponents will pressure the companies to withdraw their bids:

The Westchester County-based Power Authority intends to keep all information confidential until its staff selects one or more proposals and its trustees vote on them, spokeswoman Connie Cullen said. That is expected to happen in early 2011, she said.

Recession rewind
Two from the Buffalo News' business columnists.  David Robinson says companies that want to grow are going slow on acquisitions as they wait for the recovery to be more convincing.

And Denise Jewell Gee says she's not popping the champagne just because the recession is technically over.

National Fuel improves customer service
Buffalo's utility is getting better grades for customer service, according to a new survey reported by the Buffalo News.  That's despite recent scraps between National Fuel and an advocacy group for the poor.

Farm report
The Post-Standard has the details on a pair of farmers who've been recognized as Onondaga County's Conservation Farm of the Year.  They get the nod for cutting down on fertilizer usage, to protect local watersheds.

The Times-Union says dairy farmers, like the Ziehm family of Easton, are struggling to make ends meet as USDA milk prices fluctuate:

The fates of the Ziehms and more than 5,000 other dairy farmers across New York are at the mercy of an arcane federal formula established six decades ago that sets a minimum milk price each month. Originally meant to protect dairy farmers from unscrupulous producers, the USDA's federal market order, or minimum price, has become a scapegoat for the volatility of demand for dairy products globally and how the unseen market forces of supply and demand can erase an entire year of a dairy farmer's labors in a stomach-churning plunge. A chorus of voices is calling for revamping the milk pricing system to eliminate such wild swings.

Nanotech on the move
The Times-Union has more on University at Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering's march across the state, following last week's announcement that the center would be merging with Infotonics in Canadaigua.

Online medical records
Grants for electronic medical record projects in Rochester mean that patients could soon be transmitting their blood sugar levels wirelessly, or getting text message reminders of appointments, according to the Democrat and Chronicle.

End of days for solar firm
The Times-Union has the story of what happened to DayStar, a solar firm that received $11 million in incentives to relocate to New York.  Let's just say the return on investment wasn't that great.

GM gets cash for fuel cells
A brief at the Democrat and Chronicle says GM's plant outside of Rochester is getting $1.6 million from the Navy to build fuel cells for underwater vehicles.  The Innovation Trail's Zack Seward will have more on this story later today.

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