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Wind, solar and natural gas: your high-energy morning debrief

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Morning round-ups are normally fueled by caffeine. Today it's brought to you by wind, solar and natural gas stories.

Wind power rules
Vestal is considering new rules for small wind turbines, reports the Press & Sun-Bulletin.  Here's what's on the table:

According to the proposal, the wind generators would be allowed only in rural residential areas and on properties with a minimum of 3 acres. Those who want to install a wind generator would need a special permit from the Vestal Zoning Board of Appeals and site plan approval from the town planning board.

Turbines would also have be sited only in backyards (with some exceptions for oddly shaped lots), they can't be lighted, they'd have to be taken down when they're not in use, and they would have to be insured.

Defense to buy American
Binghamton-area congressman Maurice Hinchey's bill to require the Defense Department to buy American-made solar panels has been signed into law by the president, reports the New York Times.  It's not a provision that Chinese officials are happy about, since it's been "the world’s dominant producer of solar panels in the last two years."

Marcellus shale update
There are a couple of Marcellus shale items in the papers this morning.  The Buffalo News reports that National Fuel has purchased several gas wells in Tioga County, Pennsylvania, as part of a partnership with EOG Resources:

“The acquisition of EOG’s position in our Tioga County operations is another step in our Marcellus Shale growth plan,” said Matthew D. Cabell, president of National Fuel’s oil and gas drilling business. “This transaction will have an immediate positive impact on our production and proved reserves, and it provides us with additional upside in an area where we continue to have great success,” Cabell said.

In Owego, the Press & Sun-Bulletin (PSB) reports that there's trouble putting together a deal to sell the town's wastewater to natural gas firms for fracking operations. PSB reports that anti-fracking activists are worried that there's no written proposal about the deal.  The paper tried to FOIL details but was rebuffed:

A request made by this newspaper under the Freedom of Information Law for any contracts or contract offers between the village and Inflection was rejected by the village because there is no signed document, and any offers are "considered attorney work papers and are attorney/client papers."

The mayor says the deal could be worth $36 million over the next decade.  An environmental review is under way.

And finally, the AP reports in the PSB that a poll in Pennsylvania has found that 63 percent of voters surveyed support the idea of taxing natural gas drilling.

You can read more about the results at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, which conducted the poll.

Gillibrand on R&D
Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand jogged across the state yesterday to promote the permanent renewal of the research and development tax credit.  In Buffalo she visited a Honeywell plant, in Rochester she headed to business incubator Lennox Tech Enterprise Center, and in Syracuse she visited the Tech Garden incubator.

The Innovation Trail's Ryan Morden and Daniel Robison have the details of her proposal here.

Business backs Cuomo
Gannett's Albany bureau reports in the Democrat and Chronicle that business groups are backing the governor's plan to cap property taxes and to trim spending.  And they're weighing in with an ad campaign to back up their position.  The so-called "Committee to Save New York" says it's fundraising to build a $20 million pot to support the governor's initiatives:

Sandy Parker, president of the Rochester Business Alliance, said the goal of the group is to offer "a countermessage to the messaging that we know we are going to hear from the other side," such as the impact a tax cap would have on schools. Parker, who is a member of the statewide group, said a tax cap can be used to build support for the mandate relief schools and local governments want.

DiNapoli on privatization
The Times Union's Capitol Confidential blog has the full text of New York comptroller Tom DiNapoli's report yesterday about his concerns about privatizing state assets.  His primary concerns: selling state assets short, sticking the public with big bills for formerly free or cheap services, getting sold a bill of goods, and relying too heavily on one-shots to balance budgets.

Federal grants for nanoscale research
SUNY Albany's College of Nanoscale and Engineering is getting a cash infusion from the National Institutes of Health.  The Times Union reports that the nearly $5 million in grants will be used for nanobioscience, energy and environmental science, and computer chip research.

Only do laundry once a year!
A firm in Syracuse has purchased a washing machine "the size of a school bus," reports the Post-Standard.  Let it be noted, that is a BIG washing machine.  Size aside though, the piece is a good reflection of the challenges that small businesses face as they seek to expand during a tight credit market.

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