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Apr 18, 2011 4:26 pm
MoveOn drops by Bank of America for Tax Day rally
Casey Seiler reports in the Times Union on a protest out front of Albany's Bank of America offices on State Street for Tax Day, April 18. "Representatives of MoveOn.org and a number of other progressive organizations had a lovely spring day for their noontime protest'," he writes. "Tea party groups are organizing similar events in several large cities including Chicago, though the brunt of their criticism is aimed at big government." The group totalled about 100 and drew a single police officer, who warned organizers against using a bullhorn (not provided for in their permit) and made sure the sidewalk stayed open. “These are some of the most profitable corporations in the history of the world,” said Mark Schaeffer of Citizen Action (also Peace Action and the environmental group 350.0rg). ” … We’re fed up and we’re not going to take it any more.” Several speakers called for the reinstatement of the “millionaire’s tax” before the end of the legislative session. A crowd of 30 also protested outside a Bank of America branch in Chatham on Tax Day, according to a report in the Register-Star.

Neighbor dispute ends in man’s arrest
Andrew Amelinckx of the Register-Star reports that a Taghkanic man is in custody after firing a gun within 500 feet of his neighbor’s house. The incident was part of an escalating neighbors’ dispute, according to the New York State Police, who said that Anthony J. Barlanti, 53, was arrested Sunday after police came to investigate a 911 report of someone firing a gun near a residence. Troopers allegedly had to coax him out of his barricaded and barbed wire-fenced home. Police say the shooting was the latest incident in a dispute between Barlanti and his neighbors that stretch back several weeks. Barlanti was charged with third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a class D felony; obstructing governmental administration and second-degree aggravated harassment, Class A misdemeanors; illegal discharge of a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling, a misdemeanor under the state’s environmental conservation law; and second-degree harassment, a violation. He was arraigned in the Livingston Town Court and remanded to the Columbia County Jail in lieu of $25,000 cash or $50,000 bail bond pending further court action.

New York AG threatens to sue feds if they don’t conduct fracking review in Delaware River Basin
Mid Hudson News Network reports that New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has put the federal government on notice that if it doesn’t commit to conducting a full environmental review of the impacts of fracking on the Delaware River Basin, he will sue. There are concerns that fracking to harvest natural gas from the Marcellus Shale formation could pollute the New York City watershed and Delaware River Basin areas including the counties of Greene, Ulster, Sullivan, Orange, Delaware, Schoharie, Chenango and Broome. Late last year the Delaware River Basin Commission proposed regulations allowing for natural gas development by means of hydrofracking. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is currently revising a draft supplemental generic impact statement assessing environmental impacts associated with fracking. “Both the law and common sense dictate that the federal government must fully assess the impact of its actions before opening the door to gas fracking in New York,” said Schneiderman. “New Yorkers are correctly concerned about fracking’s potential dangers to their environment, health and communities, and will use the full authority of my office, including aggressive legal action, to ensure the federal government is forced to address those issues.” The DRBC, as a federally designated agency, is required by law to conduct a full review of the environmental impacts of actions that may cause significant environmental impacts, the attorney general noted. His demand is contained in a letter sent Monday to agencies that decide policy for the federal government as a member of the DRBC. Led by the US Army Corps of Engineers, the federal agencies include the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Parks Service and the US EPA.

Report: Walnut hulls, instant coffee, and carcinogens all found in frac fluid
TheWatershed Post writes about the new report from the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce on the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, and it reports that energy companies have injected instant coffee, walnut hulls, and the highly toxic cancer-causing benzene into the ground as they drill for natural gas. "Some of the components used in the hydraulic fracturing products were common and generally harmless, such as salt and citric acid. Some were unexpected, such as instant coffee and walnut hulls. And some were extremely toxic, such as benzene and lead," the report reads. "Between 2005 and 2009, the oil and gas service companies used hydraulic fracturing products containing 29 chemicals that are (1) known or possible human carcinogens, (2)regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act for their risks to human health, or (3) listed as hazardous air pollutants under the Clean Air Act. These 29 chemicals were components of more than 650 different products used in hydraulic fracturing. The BTEX compounds – benzene, toluene, xylene, and ethylbenzene – appeared in 60 of the hydraulic fracturing products used between 2005 and 2009."