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Banning fracking as a proactive move

Marcellus Protest
via Flickr
Buffalo's city council has banned fracking - even though there are no plans to drill there.

Jeremy Moule over at Rochester's City Newspaper takes note of a strategy developing in western New York: ban the controversial hydrofracking natural gas drilling technique in your city - even if you don't have any gas to drill:

The state Department of Conservation will probably require drillers to detail what they plan to do with waste materials. If Buffalo's Common Council bans fracking fluid disposal and treatment within the city, drillers will have one less place to take their byproducts. The legislation is not some grand action that will stop pursuit of Marcellus Shale fracking in New York. What it does do, however, is show communities that they can be proactive, that there are steps they can take if they don't want to support or encourage natural gas extraction in the Marcellus Shale. The harder that activity gets, the less likely energy companies are to purse Marcellus Shale natural gas.

Meanwhile, during an address about his budget yesterday, Governor Andrew Cuomo was interrupted by an anti-fracking protestor.  Nick Reisman at Albany Watch has the details:

In the video (with a h/t to Liz Benjamin at CapTon), a protestor is heard yelling, “I trusted you. No hydrofracking.” Cuomo, who was in the middle of his budget presentation, stopped the speech to briefly respond to the outburst. “Hydrofracking is a different issue we’re not addressing today. We will get to hydrofracking,” the governor said.

Want to relive it?  Here's the video:

Energy storage
Entrepreneurs in Albany got a chance to learn more about the challenges associated with storing energy this week.  Eric Anderson at the Times Union reports that the program, hosted by the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, is the first of six programs:

They heard about personal-size ultracapacitors that could be recharged again and again, seemingly forever, so that you'd never have to buy a replacement battery for your cellphone or laptop. And they heard about heavy-duty batteries that will soon be manufactured by General Electric Co. in Schenectady, large enough to store utility-quantity amounts of electricity and strong enough to power a freight train. In between were technologies such as flywheels and compressed air.

Obama on energy
The president was in Pennsylvania yesterday, to talk about his plans for improving energy efficiency, reports Michael Shear at the New York Times' Caucus blog:

Mr. Obama acknowledged that the tax credits he wants to provide would drain money from the Treasury. He received his largest applause when he reiterated his call for Congress to eliminate tax breaks for oil companies. “They are doing just fine on their own,” Mr. Obama said. “It’s time to stop subsidizing yesterday’s energy. It’s time to start investing in the future. That’s what progress is.” Among the proposals Mr. Obama is unveiling is a new tax credit for the renovation of commercial buildings that administration officials say could create a 10-fold increase in clean-energy retrofits of older buildings.

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