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Cabot settles with Dimock residents over polluted wells

Dimock, Pa. resident Craig Sautner shows off his water. The firm accused of polluting local wells has settled with the state of Pennsylvania.
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Dimock, Pa. resident Craig Sautner shows off his water. The firm accused of polluting local wells has settled with the state of Pennsylvania.

Dimock water settlement
Cabot Oil & Gas has capitulated and will pay out a $4.1 million settlement to residents of Dimock, Pa. You'll recall that Dimock is the town with the notorious ignitable water - a result, residents say, of negligence on Cabot's part in its natural gas drilling operations.  The Pa. Department of Environmental Protection had been suing Cabot to force the firm to foot the bill for municipal water for families who said their wells were polluted.  The AP reports in the Press & Sun-Bulletin:

Cabot also has agreed to pay to install whole-house gas mitigation systems in each of the 19 affected homes and to pay DEP $500,000. The settlement infuriated some residents, who say DEP caved to political pressure. "Pretty nice that Cabot can do whatever they want," said Craig Sautner, a Dimock resident who is a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit against Cabot. "When Cabot pays all the bills, that's what happens. It's ridiculous. Now we're stuck here."

Paterson’s legacy
Governor David Paterson was in Rochester on Wednesday to meet with editors of several upstate papers in an "exit interview." The Democrat and Chronicle reports that Paterson feels much is being left undone:

In his final days in office, Paterson said he hopes to lay off fewer state workers than the nearly 900 planned, taking hardship cases into account. He is not holding out hope for further action on state finances, leaving a $10 billion or more budget shortfall for Cuomo and the next Legislature to tackle. His greatest disappointment, he said, was not passing a property tax cap. As for achievements, he pointed to his early and aggressive actions to reduce spending given the "tsunami" of the recession.

You can watch the entire meeting at the D&C's website.

Meanwhile archivists are angry that the governor is turning his official papers over to Cornell, rather than to the State Archives, at a cost of $250,000 in state money, reports the Times Union:

"Had they come here, the taxpayers wouldn't have seen any extra expense," said Christine Ward, who maintains the papers of governors Alfred E. Smith and Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the Cultural Education Building on Madison Avenue. "The governor's records would have been included along with all the other records being transitioned," Ward said. "I have many colleagues at Cornell University in the archives there and they are a highly respected archival organization, and I respect them. But I am always concerned, as a general rule, when records that are public records go out of public custody."

Bank relocating
HSBC has threatened to leave its One HSBC Center tower in downtown Buffalo, reports the Buffalo News, and city leaders are begging it to stay:

In separate letters to Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. and a bank executive, Mayor Byron W. Brown and Buffalo Place Chairman Keith M. Belanger warned of dire consequences if HSBC moves out, even if it moves just a block away to a site in the planned Canal Side development. And it would be worse if the move is supported by government tax breaks, they said. "If HSBC left One HSBC Center ... the effect on the regional market for commercial office space would be destabilizing," Brown wrote in a Dec. 10 letter to Jordan A. Levy, chairman of Erie Canal Harbor Development. "I want to emphasize the threat is regional."

HSBC has been in the building since 1972 and is reportedly considering both suburban and other downtown locations, including Erie Harbor.

Travel time
Buffalo will finally be getting nearly 30 subway cars, newly reconditioned after delays, reports the Buffalo News.  The cars are coming from Hornell, where the transportation car industry is a big deal.  The Innovation Trail's Emma Jacobs is working on a piece about how the industry has faired over the past few years - watch this space for it.

United Airlines is bringing its mobile boarding pass technology to Albany International Airport, reports the Times Union.  Travelers should soon be able to draw up a boarding pass on their mobile phone, bypassing the need to use a kiosk or print a pass at home.

On the other side of the flight purchase, Buffalo Congressman Chris Lee is cracking down on Expedia and Travelocity for not prominently displaying what regional airline your travel itinerary is on.  Lee says that's required per legislation passed after the crash of Continental Connection flight 3407 to Buffalo from Newark.  He met with the two websites yesterday to urge them to comply, and the families of crash victims are asking travelers to report noncompliance to the U.S. Department of Transportation, according to the Buffalo News:

“This is another small but meaningful way that you, the flying public, can help us make our voices heard,” said John Kausner of Clarence Center, who lost his daughter Ellyce in the crash. Lee said the meeting left him confident that the travel websites would make changes to make sure they are complying with the disclosure law.

Tuition tax break
Legislation that allows for a $2,500 tuition tax credit has been renewed in the U.S. Senate and is expected to pass the House, reports the Press & Sun-Bulletin.  The measure will be effective through 2012.

Photo fight
Just in time for the holidays, Kodak and Shutterfly are squaring off in a patent dispute - they're both suing each other, reports the Democrat and Chronicle:

The original Kodak suit revolves around five separate patents having to do with selecting photos using index prints, handling images, and processing photographic film into digital images. In its complaint, Kodak claims Shutterfly used that Kodak-patented technology in its Shutterfly.com online business. Kodak is seeking a court order stopping Shutterfly from violating those patents and unspecified cash damages. In the SEC filing, Shutterfly said it has "meritorious defenses to this action and intends to defend this matter vigorously."

And a happy new year to all!

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