Thursday, July 24, 2014


JOSH FOX, International WOW Company


present a workshop production of

With Live Music by Vanessa Bley and TWIN DANGER

Written & directed by JOSH FOX and the INTERNATIONAL WOW COMPANY

CO-SPONSORED BY Damascus Citizens for Sustainability, Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy, Trailer Talk, Catskill MountainKeeper, Advocates for Morris, Otsego 2000, Butternut Valley Alliance, Brewery Ommegang and Sustainable Otsego
Featuring John Fenton and his son Johnny Fenton, subjects of GASLAND I & II from Pavillion, WY

TUESDAY JULY 29th at the Hunt Union Ballroom at SUNY Oneonta at 7:00pm
 Featuring Josh Fox, John Fenton, Johnny Fenton, Beth Griffith, Herbie Go, Brandon Smith, Carrie Getman, , and many more from International WOW Company

NEW YORK, New York (June 30, 2014) – Oscar-Nominated and Emmy-Winning filmmaker and activist Josh Fox, together with International WOW Company, will present a workshop presentation of “The Solutions Grassroots Tour.”
The production is an interactive music, theater, and film event that motivates towns to adopt renewable energy solutions for individual, community, and commercial settings, as well as campaign for pro-renewable energy legislation.
Conceived and directed by Josh Fox and featuring Josh Fox and members of the acclaimed International WOW ensemble, “The Solutions Grassroots Tour” will also feature music by recording artist Vanessa Bley and TWIN DANGER.  With a cast of over 20 actor/dancers, live video installation, a world class seven piece band, and renewable energy power provided by solar panels on site, the performance will be spectacle all ages can enjoy.  The play will also feature the stage debut of rancher and spokesman John Fenton, subject of GASLAND I & II and his son Johnny Fenton, of Pavillion, Wyoming. The storyline revolves around a town that is facing the possibility of becoming an extraction zone for extreme fossil fuel development.  At crucial moments in the plot, members of the audience have an opportunity to participate in the acting and telling of the story.  “This is about doing something positive for our towns and our neighbors.  The renewable energy future is here now, and we have created this play to bring this incredible organizing and economic opportunity directly to communities ,” says Fox.  “An interactive theatrical event serves as a living, breathing training ground for community decision making.  Renewable energy can benefit culture and democracy as well as being the next major economic development force.” 

Eventually, the piece will travel all across New York State and serve as a model for the rest of the United States and the world.

Tickets available online: $10 per person--or 99 cents if you bring your utility bill.

 About Josh Fox
Josh Fox is best known as the writer/director of GASLAND Parts I and II. Among numerous honors, together the films garnered the Sundance Special Jury Prize for documentary, the Environmental Media Association Award for Best Documentary, HBO distribution, an Academy Award Nomination and an Emmy for best Documentary Directing.  Fox is internationally recognized as a spokesperson and leader on the issue of fracking and extreme energy development.  He is also the founder and producing artistic director of the International WOW Company, and is availible for interviews.  Josh has toured to over 300 cities with his films and plays.  As a national spokesman on the issues of the contamination resulting from fossil fuel extraction, Josh has appeared on the Daily Show, Real Time with Bill Maher, The Keith Olbermann show, PBS Now,  CNN, Democracy Now. He has regularly on MSNBC making frequent appearances on The Chris Hayes shows (Up and All in), on The Ed Show, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Morning Joe, Melissa Harris-Perry, Alex Wagner, Tamron Hall, and Dylan Ratigan.  
Josh Fox

Monday, June 30, 2014

Home Rule Prevails! Towns Allowed to Ban Fracking

Towns allowed to Ban Fracking
Local governments in New York have the authority to zone out gas drilling and other forms of heavy industry, the state's highest court decided today in a 5-2 ruling that grew out of challenges brought against fracking bans enacted by the towns of Middlefield and Dryden.

The Court of Appeals signaled in the majority decision that it was not focused on the merits of the bans but on the legal authority of the towns to enact keep out drilling - a move the industry claimed superceded their authority.

  "The towns both studied the issue and acted within their home rule powers in determining that gas drilling would permanently alter and adversely affect the deliberately-cultivated, small-town character of their communities," according to the majority ruling

"This is a victory for both home rule and our towns," Middlefield Town Supervisor David Bliss told The Daily Star.

Middlefield's ban, enacted in 2011, was challenged by Cooperstown Holstein Corp. The company is owned by Middlefield dairy farmer Jennifer Huntington. She had leased her farm land to a gas company she said was only interested in placing a conventional gas well on her land, not an operation involving the more controversial process known as horizontal hydraulic fracturing for natural gas trapped deep within the earth under layers of shale.

Dryden's ban was challenged by Norse Energy, a company based in Norway.

More than 170 towns, cities and villages in New York have enacted either moratoriums or bans on drilling since Middlefield and Dryden became among the first in the state to keep out drilling.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

NYS Court of Appeals, Tuesday, June 3: Can Cities & Towns Ban Fracking? GET READY, MORRIS!

Tuesday, the New York State Court of Appeals will hear arguments in a case that poses a simple question: Can cities and towns in the Empire State fend off potentially devastating environmental and economic damage by banning hydraulic fracturing through their zoning code?

Our answer — as stated in an amicus brief filed on behalf of then-Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and Elected Officials to Protect New York, a nonpartisan network of over 800 current and former municipal officials from all of the state's 62 counties — is an emphatic yes.

For decades, New York law has acknowledged that municipalities are far better situated to determine what land use is appropriate for their territory. In 1970, the state Legislature passed a groundbreaking Environmental Protection Law which acknowledged the importance of "[l]ocal participation in planning activities which influence the ecological balance on the locality and therefore the state."

While the Department of Environmental Conservation has imposed a blanket ban on fracking in the watersheds of Syracuse and New York City to protect the health of nearly half the state's residents, many residents of upstate towns have rightly wondered, "If fracking isn't safe for city dwellers, by what logic is it safe for us?"

As it turns out, many towns aren't waiting for the state to finish its analysis. As evidenced by the more than 175 New York municipalities that have already enacted bans and moratoria on fracking within their borders — often in the face of costly lawsuits threatened by the oil and gas industry — concerns about the effects of fracking on public health and quality of life have united communities large and small, from Otsego to New York City.

Indeed, our collaboration and the coalition assembled by EOPNY stand for the proposition that when it comes to fracking and its effects on our way of life, upstate and downstate are in this together.

Our argument to the court seeks to protect the long-standing right of municipalities to make their own land-use, local control decisions by emphasizing the powerful justifications for local bans: significant scientific evidence linking fracking to water contamination by heavy metals, radium and methane; municipal and social ills due to increases in crime and stresses on social and emergency services; and economic costs including catastrophically expensive road damage and the specter of declines in property values.
In fact, a 2011 report from the state Department of Transportation found the cost of increased heavy traffic alone could result in the need for repairs and reconstruction ranging from $211 million to $378 million annually.

In the six months since the brief was filed, our position has only grown stronger as new studies have showcased the threat of water contamination and health and community impacts imposed by fracking. One example is the growing evidence linking fracking and its wastewater disposal to earthquakes, which can occur miles away from the wells themselves.

The case being argued Tuesday comes from the communities of Dryden and Middlefield (population 1,869 and 1,962, respectively). The towns argue that banning fracking through the zoning code comports with their rights to make land use decisions appropriate to their unique neighborhoods. In contrast, the gas companies challenging the towns have asserted that only the state can regulate oil and gas extraction, despite the fact that cities and towns across New York have long used zoning to facilitate the "adequate provision of transportation, water, sewerage, schools, parks and other public requirements" in concert with the character of the community.

Dryden, Middlefield and scores of other towns have rightly seen fit to protect their towns from the harms associated with fracking. These actions are firmly grounded in constitutionally granted Home Rule powers and the duty of all municipalities to protect their citizens' health, safety and welfare. We stand firmly for the right of any community to do the same.

Scott Stringer and Julie Huntsman
Scott M. Stringer is the New York City comptroller and a former Manhattan borough president. Julie Huntsman is an Otsego councilwoman and co-coordinator of Elected Officials to Protect New York.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

2014 Hydrofracking Day of Action May 12


Come to Albany on May 12, 2014, for a Fracking Lobby Day!

We need action to protect New York from fracking! Join us on May 12 to talk to legislators about fracking, its waste, infrastructure, and the need for a comprehensive health impact assessment.
Schedule : May 12, 2014
9:00am - 9:30am Registration and Check-In - Hearing Room A
Coffee and Bagels in LOB 211
9:30am - 10:30am Issue Briefing
11:00am – 3:00pm Lobby Visits
3:00pm Drop off report forms/check-out - Hearing Room A


Advocates for Morris * Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy * Center for Environmental Health * Citizens Campaign for the Environment * Environmental Advocates of New York * Otsego 2000 * Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter * ShaleshockCNY

Legislative Agenda:

To become a sponsoring organization or to coordinate travel, please email
Questions or problems with registration? Contact

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Advocates for Morris Joins with Food & Water Watch in Global Frackdown October 11, 2014

Global Frackdown:
An International Day to Stop Fracking

October 11, 2014

Mission Statement:  Fracking for oil and gas is inherently unsafe and the harms of this industry cannot be fully mitigated by regulation. We reject the multi-million dollar public relations campaign by big oil and gas companies and urge our local, state, and national officials to reject fracking. We stand united as a global movement in calling on governmental officials at all levels to pursue a renewable energy future and not allow fracking or any of the associated infrastructure in our communities or any communities. We are communities fighting fracking, frac sand mining, pipelines, compressor stations, LNG terminals, exports of natural gas, coal seam gas, coal bed methane and more. Fracking is not part of our vision for a clean energy future and should be banned.
What will organizations get out of participating?
  • An opportunity to increase media attention locally by tying local events to the global day of action
  • The chance to create a powerful counter-narrative to the industry PR push though coordinated, unified actions across the world
  • Sample materials to use for the day of action, including media advisory template, event page to track registrations, and template editable flyers
  • An opportunity to build your organization by being part of a growing, powerful, meaningful and winning movement
  • Your event featured on the Global Frackdown website and link to your organization and event
What types of events should we do?
Events should be fun, creative, and locally relevant. The idea is to use a global day of action to amplify what is happening and needed locally. Some ideas include:
  • Protests outside elected officials’ office
  • Street theater outside oil or gas company headquarters
  • Film screening of Gasland or Spilt Estate
  • Petition gathering action
  • Work in community to generate phone calls to key decision makers
  • Visibility event at key intersection with signs
  • Assemblies / pot luck about fracking with community members

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Advocates for Morris Letter to Morris Town Board Urging Fracking Ban

February 11, 2014

Mr. Lynn Joy, Town Supervisor
Morris Town Board
Main Street
Morris NY 13808

Dear Mr. Joy and Members of the Morris Town Board:

Following the recent elections and changes to the Board’s composition, we want to take this opportunity to welcome the newly elected members to the Board. Since 2009, concerned citizens of Morris have appealed to the Town Board to address the known hazards associated with the extreme energy extraction process of high volume horizontal hydrofracking known as “fracking” and to present documented evidence on the dangers of fracking. Carol Nealis and Dawn Sieck gave impassioned pleas to the Board in 2009 asking for protections for our community against fracking, and as growing local and national concern increased over the dangers, concerned residents of Morris eventually formed the citizens’ organization known as Advocates for Morris in 2011.  In May 2011, Attorney Michele Kennedy urged the Board to consider its rights and responsibilities under the law. In June 2011, a signed petition proposing a local law banning fracking and a draft Stand-Alone Prohibition against fracking were presented by Bob Thomas on behalf of Advocates for Morris, followed by the Board’s formation of a gas drilling committee.

With growing local and national concern over the dangers of fracking, Advocates for Morris formed affiliations with the Otsego County Coalition Against Unsafe Drilling and New Yorkers Against Fracking, and retained the services of attorneys from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The NRDC provides legal and policy assistance to towns and local governments seeking protection from fracking through its “Community Fracking Defense Project.” 

Advocates for Morris recently conducted a community-wide opinion survey on fracking in an effort to poll local citizens.  Survey mailing costs were underwritten by our members and through a grant from Otsego 2000. The sole survey question—“Do you want to allow fracking for shale gas in Morris?”— was mailed to every Morris household and generated responses from 462 Morris residents over age 18.  The unsolicited mailing yielded a surprisingly good response rate of 33% and we would like to share the survey results with the Board.

The majority of the respondents (71%) were opposed to fracking in Morris. Those among the 29% minority of respondents who said they favor fracking believed it would “provide economic stability and tax relief to the area.”  The survey return-mail forms included direct comments from respondents that ranged from “Thank you for taking the trouble to survey your neighbors,” to “Mind your own business.”   One resident urged officials to “listen to the voices of your people,” adding that the “possibility of poisoning or contamination of the water supply is not worth the risk.”  Another stressed the importance of exploring renewable energy sources.  Several expressed fears that property values might plummet if fracking were to be permitted, with some saying they have delayed investing in property improvements due to the threat of financial loss from fracking seen in other areas of the country.  Our recent survey records will remain on file at the New York offices of NRDC, whose interest in the survey returns is tied to the legal and strategic advice they are providing to us in our campaign for good governance and protections against fracking.

While opinions may differ, growing numbers of people are organizing nationally and internationally to protest fracking.  It has been said “everyone lives downstream,” yet who can really say where upstream ends and downstream begins? Ultimately, every person is downstream from someone else and potentially affected by the harmful actions of others.  As other local towns have conceded, there is too much at stake for the safety of our communities to consider the benefits touted by the drilling industry for fracking in rural communities. From what is known to the public, the drilling industry has very little to lose and virtually no penalties to fear when failed wells, broken promises, financial loss to landowners, water contamination and toxic waste are left in the wake for innocent citizens and communities to endure and clean up. People are demanding stringent governmental controls and accountability from the drilling industry given the health and environmental risks associated with dangerous chemicals used in the fracking process.

Public protest and divided positions are clearly not limited to Morris or the efforts of Advocates for Morris.  Our organization’s concerns simply mirror the growing concerns voiced nationally and internationally.  Because of those concerns, bans and moratoria on fracking have already been enacted by many towns, counties, states and countries to protect the health and welfare of their people. Throughout New York State, there is growing hue and cry over the dangers of fracking and calls for a statewide ban.  (Elected Officials to Protect New York (EOPNY) at has a resource page containing some good reference material.)  
Here in Otsego County, increasing numbers of municipalities have implemented bans on fracking, including our two neighboring towns—New Lisbon and Butternuts.  Despite the bans in those neighboring towns, residents still have concerns given their proximity to Morris. They question their welfare in the event the government of Morris fails to implement similar protective measures.  

A number of Advocates for Morris members and citizens of Morris have presented information on fracking to the Board during privilege of the floor, requesting that the information be recorded in the meeting minutes. The town’s records contain volumes of written appeals from citizens and Advocates for Morris, as well as documented evidence concerning the impacts of fracking to human health and the environment. Given this history, Advocates of Morris asks the Board and its new members to conduct a retrospective review of this evidence by examining the town’s records and meeting minutes in consideration of the many dangers associated with fracking and how those dangers stand to harm our community and citizens.  While we are encouraged by the results of our recent opinion survey and by the recent changes in the Morris Town Board, we once again call upon members of this Board to meet their responsibility to ensure the safety and welfare of the people by joining with our neighboring communities to enact a ban against fracking in Morris.   

Advocates for Morris
PO Box 177
Morris NY 13808

C.  Natural Resources Defense Council
     New Yorkers Against Fracking
     Otsego County Coalition Against Unsafe Drilling