Farmers markets in full swing

June means that the farmers markets and community supported agriculture (CSA) are in full swing. If you are looking for fresh local produce, local meats, eggs, cheeses, or milk, fresh cut flowers, honey, or a nice place to spend some of your afternoon, go to the local markets.

In the Centre Region we have several markets within about 25 miles of State College each week:
  • Tuesdays: Boalsburg Farmers Market at the Pennsylvania Military Museum and State College Farmers Market on Locust Lane
  • Thursday: Huntingdon at Portstown Park
  • Friday: State College on Locust Lane and Philipsburg on Main Street
  • Saturday: North Atherton in State College at Home Depot, Bellefonte at the Gamble Mill, Millheim Farmers Market, and Philipsburg
  • Last Saturday of the summer months Village on the Green Market in Julian, PA
If you want to find farmers markets and farms near you, use the search feature at the Buy Fresh Buy Local page through the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture website. It's also a great way to get in touch with your local growers to see about buying weekly shares of food that can be delivered to market for you. Or if you just want local flavors served up for you in beers or meals, restaurants and bakeries can be found too.

If you want to get some insight on vendors or have some to leave, you can also use Local Bounty as well. It's a website that offers "users the chance to find local sources for goods of all kinds — from apples to art, pets to pumpkins. Users can enter information about local producers, write reviews, and rate their experiences."

Eat fresh. Eat local.


Fracktivism reaches new pitch at state Capitol

Capitol lobbying day in Harrisburg culminated for many in an anti-drilling protest.
Groups such as Clean Water Action, Sierra Club, Gas Truth, and Marcellus Protest convened on the steps of the rotunda with several hundred protesters to speak out against shale gas drilling in Pennsylvania.

Many of those attending lobbying day met with their legislators to discuss budget issues. Members of public sector unions came out to lobby for their slice of the pie. But by far, the biggest spectacle came when citizens and activist organizations started up just before noon.

Nathan Sooy of Clean Water Action and Gas Truth pitched up the crowd with chants. By noon the rotunda steps were lined with citizens. Unlike many of the talking points circulated by some groups and moderates, many of those who spoke today oppose drilling all together. For them, a moratorium is only the beginning.

Craig Sautner of Dimock, PA held up a jug of water contaminated by Cabot Oil and Gas operations. He cited the moratorium for nine square miles around his house and said, "[Gas companies] should be banned from the state of Pennsylvania for good." He received loud applause. He and others hope to move the conversation from a severance tax or drilling fee, as some legislators have proposed, to a ban.

Some speakers, including Crystal Stroud whose drinking water contains dangerous levels chemicals like gross-alpha, strontium, and others, cited the Pennsylvania Constitution:
"The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania's public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people."

Article 1 Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution
But the conversation is the important part as Nathan Sooy makes clear in this brief interview:

After the rally, citizens were joined by Gasland director Josh Fox who joined other citizens in a sit-in outside of the governor's office. They were unable to meet with the governor.

You can read about the day's events at PennLive, WITF, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Lobbying the state and federal government with citizen voices

Today is lobbying day at the Capitol in Pennsylvania, organized in no small part with groups like Berks Gas Truth, PennEnvironment, and PennFuture because of environmental, public health, infrastructure, and community disruption caused by the natural gas boom in Pennsylvania. No matter your position on this and a number of other critical issues - tax rates, school budgets, environmental regulation, and health care - you might consider calling your Pennsylvania legislators to let them know where you stand and how they can represent your and your community's interests.

On that note: Want the federal government to hear your voice? Here's your chance. It's easily accessible to Pennsylvanians.



Secretary of Energy Advisory Board Natural Gas Subcommittee

AGENCY: Department of Energy

ACTION: Notice of Open Meeting

SUMMARY: This notice announces an open meeting of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB) Natural Gas Subcommittee. SEAB was reestablished pursuant to the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. No. 92-463, 86 Stat. 770) (the Act). This notice is provided in accordance with the Act.
DATES: Monday, June 13, 2011 7:00pm – 9:00 pm

ADDRESSES: Washington Jefferson College
60 South Lincoln Street
Washington PA

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Renee Stone, Deputy Designated Federal Officer, U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20585; email to: shalegas@hq.doe.gov or at the following website: www.shalegas.energy.gov.

Background: The SEAB was reestablished to provide advice and recommendations to the Secretary on the Department’s basic and applied research, economic and national security policy, educational issues, operational issues and other activities as directed by the Secretary. The Natural Gas Subcommittee was established to provide advice and recommendations to the Full Board on how to improve the safety and environmental performance of natural gas hydraulic fracturing from shale formations, thereby harnessing a vital domestic energy resource while ensuring the safety of citizen’s drinking water and the health of the environment. President Obama directed Secretary Chu to convene this group as part of the President’s “Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future” – a comprehensive plan to reduce America’s oil dependence, save consumers money, and to make our country the leader in clean energy industries.
Purpose of the Meeting: The purpose of this meeting is to allow Subcommittee members to hear directly from natural gas stakeholders.

Tentative Agenda: The meeting will start at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, June 13, 2011. The tentative meeting agenda includes a technical presentation on long-lateral hydraulic fracturing. From approximately 7:15 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., the Subcommittee will hear comments from members of the public. The meeting will conclude at 9:00 p.m.
Public Participation: The meeting is open to the public. Space is limited. Individuals and representatives of organizations who would like to offer comments and suggestions may do so on Monday, June 13, 2011. Approximately 105 minutes will be reserved for public comments. Time allotted per speaker will depend on the number of individuals who wish to speak but will not exceed 2 minutes. The Designated Federal Officer is empowered to conduct the meeting in a fashion that will facilitate the orderly conduct of business. Those wishing to speak should register to do so beginning at 6:30 p.m. on June 13, 2011.

Those not able to attend the meeting or have insufficient time to address the committee are invited to send a written statement to Renee Stone, U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington D.C. 20585, or by email to: shalegas@hq.doe.gov.

This notice is being published less than 15 days prior to the meeting date due to programmatic issues and members’ availability.
Issued at Washington, DC on June, 2011.

LaTanya Butler
Acting Deputy Committee Management Officer

New York could continue drilling moratorium until June 2012

This is just in from the New York State Assembly:

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Robert K. Sweeney today announced that legislation to suspend the issuance of new permits for hydrofracking in New York State until June 1, 2012, was reported out of the Environmental Conservation Committee today.

"For the sake of our environment's safety and the integrity of our drinking water, I think it is appropriate and responsible for the state to take additional time to thoroughly study all the data that is available and forthcoming about hydrofracking before approving any additional permits," said Silver (D-Manhattan).

Under the bill (A.7400, Sweeney), no permits would be issued for new wells that use the hydrofracking process to extract natural gas or oil until June 2012. The moratorium called for in the measure will provide the legislature with additional time to review the Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement, which the Department of Environmental Conservation is currently preparing.

Health and environmental concerns have been raised by communities across the nation where hydrofracking has been used to retrieve natural gas and oil. Reports of water contamination, habitat destruction and chemical spills have occurred in states that have permitted hyrdrofracking, including Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado and others. The Environmental Protection Agency, at the direction of Congress, is studying hydrofracking and is expected to release its report at the end of 2012.

"This legislation ensures that we do not embrace this drilling technology without examining all the risks. During our lifetime we have seen many environmental disasters that could have been avoided had all the facts been known before approvals were given. It's important that we in New York State get our policy on hydrofracking right, the first time," said Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst).

"There are too many unknowns about what kind of impact hydrofracking has on the environment. To be anything but cautious on this matter would be reckless and a threat to our environment and the health of New Yorkers," said Silver, who noted he expects the Assembly to approve the bill during this legislative session.