Southern Tier

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Environmentalists are celebrating after Gov. Andrew Cuomo said there will be no hydrofracking in New York for now, citing inconclusive scientific evidence on the health effects of the gas drilling process.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

The jockeying for a coveted casino license in New York state's Southern Tier and Finger Lakes was on display at a public comment session in Ithaca Wednesday. The New York Gaming Facility Location Board wrapped up a series of public hearings by listening to arguments about proposed casinos in what is called the Eastern Southern Tier region.

Bosc d'Anjou / Flickr

In a 5-to-2 ruling, New York’s highest court has upheld the right of local governments to ban hydrofracking within their borders. The decision comes after a nearly three-year court battle over bans passed in the Towns of Dryden and Middlefield. Fracking opponents hope to now spread the bans to towns that were waiting for the court’s final ruling.

Flipping the script on eminent domain

Jun 6, 2014
Matt Martin/WSKG

The federal government is considering an application to build a natural gas pipeline from Pennsylvania to Schoharie County in New York. Often, the pipeline companies will use the threat of eminent domain as a way to pressure landowners into signing a lease agreement. But some landowners and activist groups are calling their bluff.

A short hike up the hill from Catherine Holleran’s house in New Milford, Pennsylvania is a small grove of maple trees.

Innovation Trail

The debate over whether a municipality can ban hydraulic fracturing within its borders was brought before the New York State Court of Appeals Tuesday afternoon. The Southern Tier town of Dryden is defending its right to home rule against lawyers representing the bankruptcy trustee for Norse Energy.

Earthjustice managing attorney Deborah Goldberg says she feels confident bringing the case before the court because home rule is protected by the state constitution and New York isn’t alone.

Astorino: Binghamton could be Dallas of New York

May 7, 2014
WSKG

Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino touted the benefits of hydrofracking during a series of stops in the Southern Tier yesterday. One of the stops was at a Vestal company that does roadwork for oil companies just across the border in Pennsylvania.

Astorino visited the Binghamton-area company Vestal Asphalt and linked upstate New York's declining population with a lack of jobs and high taxes. He pointed to fracking as a way to reverse that trend and transform the Southern Tier.

Matt Martin / WSKG file photo

A vocal group of residents in Tyre have sued their town board over a proposal to bring a casino to the rural farming community. The group is now getting support from a national anti-casino activist. 

Protestors gathered Thursday in a field next to a proposed casino site in Tyre. The handful of protesters held signs opposing Rochester businessman Thomas Wilmot’s casino application.

Wilmot’s one of three applicants seeking to build a casino in the Southern Tier/Finger Lakes Region.

Les Bernal, executive director of Stop Predatory Gambling, addressed the crowd.

Karen Dewitt / WRVO

Prospective casino operators got a chance to ask the Cuomo administration questions about the process for choosing licensees for four upstate casinos. But they won’t get answers for several days.

The structure of the event was a bit awkward. Gambling conglomerates and other developers, who have all paid $1 million each for the privilege of being considered for a casino site, attended a mandatory session held by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s New York State Gaming Commission.

Matt Martin / WSKG

Tioga Downs, the Southern Tier horse racing and gaming club, has announced plans to expand by purchasing the Tioga Country Club. It’s just the latest push to strengthen their bid for a full casino license from the state.

Tioga Downs will only purchase the club if it receives the full casino gaming license from the state. Developers at Tioga Downs are hoping the planned expansion will strengthen their application for a casino license.

Constitution Pipeline

Recently, Pennsylvania residents had the opportunity to voice their concerns or support for the Constitution Pipeline project, which would enter New York through Broome County and connect to an existing upstate pipeline. It was the last public hearing before its final approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC.

eranderson428 / Flickr

Two weeks ago, the landowners coalition sent a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo demanding the release of the environmental impact study on hydrofracking, known as the SGEIS . The deadline was Thursday, February 13 and Scott Kurkoski, a lawyer for the coalition, filed the promised lawsuit the following day.

“Is he in favor of this or not? Because the rest of the nation is moving forward in a way that is providing energy independence," Kurkoski said. "Is New York a threat to that process?”

Casino competition heats up in the Southern Tier

Jan 28, 2014
Traditions

The Southern Tier is guaranteed one out of the four casinos to be built in upstate New York.  The licenses are expected sometime this year and the competition for the Southern Tier casino is starting to heat up.

Jeff Gural is the owner of Tioga Downs, where ground was recently broken on an expanded parking lot. Gural’s plan is to offer the full casino experience at his racetrack and electronic gambling site. But first he needs to win one of the new gaming licenses.

Millennium Pipeline Company, LLC.

A proposal to build a new natural gas pipeline from Binghamton to Syracuse has been scaled back due to a lack of interest from natural gas providers.

Millennium Pipeline Company wanted to construct the line from the Southern Tier to the town of Onondaga, just south of Syracuse, along Interstate 81, connecting three existing east-west lines. But now they’re considering just going from Binghamton to Cortland and connecting two lines.

Money is the lifeblood of any political campaign, especially in competitive races. And the race between Tom Reed and Martha Robertson is shaping up to be just that.

Steve Greenberg, a political pollster at Siena College, says it’s only recently that New York has seen truly competitive congressional races.

“We saw it five years ago, we saw it three years ago, we saw it last year and it seems almost certain that we are going to see it again next year,” Greenberg said.  

Southern Tier-based Endicott Interconnect Technologies filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week. The Broome County high-tech manufacturer, which employs approximately 600 people, plans to continue operations as it reorganizes.    

Matt Richmond/Innovation Trail

The City of Elmira is just seven miles from the Pennsylvania border. And for four years, the natural gas boom in Pennsylvania’s Northern Tier crossed over the border and boosted Elmira’s economy. But that boom has slowed down.

The regional airports in Ithaca and Binghamton would both lose their air traffic controllers if federal budget cuts known as sequestration take full effect. The first round of closures begins April 7.

The New York State Assembly has approved, by a 95 to 40 vote, a two-year moratorium on hydrofracking in New York. While it’s unlikely to be passed in the Senate, the action reflects state lawmakers' growing worries about potential health impacts from the natural gas drilling process. 

The Broome County Legislature recently approved a new Office of Energy Development, but the purpose of the office is not clear.

Two weeks after passing new gun control measures, New York officials are holding public forums around the state to discuss what's in the law.

A group called Elected Officials to Protect New York is pressing Gov. Andrew Cuomo to extend a 30-day public comment period that ends Friday. The comment period is for revised hydrofracking regulations released by the Department of Environmental Conservation in November.

Anti-fracking candidates didn't fare well

Nov 8, 2012

Anti-fracking sentiment in the Southern Tier was felt at the polls when candidates opposed to drilling were beaten up and down the ballot Tuesday.

The research on this is pretty clear: between the ages one and five, the human brain develops faster than at any other time. In Chemung County, a project called the School Readiness Project sends nurses to the hospital whenever a baby is born.

Regional planning agencies in the Southern Tier are working toward a goal of cutting 80% of their greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050.

The Connecticut-based helicopter maker Sikorsky announced on Monday that it will close its Southern Tier plant at the end of the year.

The natural gas industry sees hopeful signs in a new poll that finds more New Yorkers now support hydrofracking. A Quinnipiac University survey also finds upstate New Yorkers, some who live where the gas drilling process would occur, back fracking in greater numbers.

Groups for and against hydrofracking are gearing up for an announcement by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s environmental officials  on whether the natural gas drilling process will be permitted in New York on a limited basis. But, the organizations, who are running ads, may have to wait a little longer.

Governor Andrew Cuomo offered some support to a plan to permit hydrofracking in New York in communities that welcome the gas drilling process.

Supporters and opponents of a plan to allow limited hydrofracking in New York’s Southern Tier region confronted each other at the state Capitol .

For months, the Cuomo administration has been signaling that it might permit the gas drilling process known as hydrofracking in a few areas in the Marcellus Shale region where the majority of people in communities want the gas drilling process to begin.