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Energy

Hydrofracking explained - by sock puppets

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Yes, that's a cork screw. But for the purposes of this anti-fracking video, it's a drill.

In your Trail Mix today:

A fracking puppet show.

The governor says competition will make the regions work harder on economic development.

Plus, Buffalo's nascent food truck scene devolves into a spaghetti western.

Energy

We're kicking off with a puppet show featuring a nefarious landman (in the form of a sock puppet tiger) trying to convince a naive landowner (a sock puppet cat) to lease land for drilling.  It was produced by the anti-drilling group Gas Truth.  It's creepy and mesmerizing, and courtesy of Scott Detrow at Pennsylvania State Impact.

The EPA says it wants to regulate air emissions at natural gas drilling sites - not just wastewater (Associated Press).

"Rust to Green" has released its recommendations for revitalizing Utica (Dan Miner, Observer-Dispatch).

Ithaca-based engineer Bruce Brittain argues in an essay in the Ithaca Journal that New York should hold off on fracking until less water-intensive techniques and better transportation options are available.

At DC Bureau, Peter Mantius has a detailed look at how a conflict is shaping up over the rights of municipalities to control what goes on in their borders, versus the right of the state to regulate the drilling industry.

Regional councils

Governor Cuomo told reporters that "competition makes you work a little harder, and gets your energy up" and that New York is behind the curve in using competition to dole out job creation incentives, at his appearance in Schenectady yesterday.  But the real reason to tune in: cameos! The first question comes from New York State Public Radio's Karen DeWitt (off camera), and you also get an eyeful of the host of WMHT's New York NOW, Matt Ryan, at the governor's right (Jon Campbell, Vote Up!).

Cuomo also defended the diversity of the appointments to his regional economic development councils (Nick Reisman, State of Politics/Capital Tonight).

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute president (and former Nuclear Regulatory Commission head) Shirley Ann Jackson will head up the Albany region's economic council, along with credit union president Michael Castellana (Larry Rulison, Times Union).

At the announcement of the North Country regional council, the governor got a rousing welcome from Republican state senator Betty Little (David Sommerstein, North Country Public Radio).

Higher education

Innovation Trail partner station WNED has agreed to purchase fellow Buffalo-area public broadcaster WBFO from the University at Buffalo, but the sale could take months as the two sides wait for state and federal approvals (Jay Rey and Matt Glynn, Buffalo News).

SUNY Canton is trying to prevent its president from jumping ship to another SUNY school (Susan Mende, Johnson Newspapers).

Politics

Construction on small projects at Syracuse's airport is derailed as the FAA is in limbo following Congress' failure to reauthorize it. But the airport's big second story addition project is continuing (Tim Knauss, Post-Standard).

The governor says New York is "not in a position" to pick up the tab on a $95 million dollar insurance bill, and has to pass the fee on to employers, at the cost of about $20 per employee (Jon Campbell, Gannett).

But Assembly minority leader Brian Kolb has been arguing that New York should get the bill.  Campbell posted Kolb's letter to that effect at the Vote Up! blog.

Just as everyone in the coastal cities is getting sick of people talking about food trucks - Buffalo is taking a breather on legislation that would regulate the "roving" restaurants.  Brian Meyer at the Buffalo News reports that brick-and-mortar restaurants were behind the move to table the legislation in the Common Council, arguing that "cowboys" could open up (mobile) shop, leading to "a scene out of the wild wild west."  

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