Snow geese boom means expanded hunting in VT and NY. Vermont law makers get economic development tour.
NYS proposal seeks to buy storm-wrecked homes
NEW YORK (AP) New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing spending up to $400 million to buy and demolish homes destroyed by Superstorm Sandy and permanently preserve the land as undeveloped coastline.
Cuomo presented his plan to federal officials in Washington on Friday. The purchase plan would require federal approval since it would be paid for using a portion of the $51 billion disaster relief package approved by Congress last week.
The New York Times (http://nyti.ms/VEt94E ) says federal officials appeared receptive to the idea. Cuomo said he hoped to announce details about the program in the next two weeks.
A spokesman for a storm task force created by President Barack Obama in December said it's too soon to say whether New York will be allowed to proceed.
Information from: The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com
Poll: NY voters evenly split on "fracking"
LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. (AP) A poll shows New York voters nearly evenly divided on natural gas drilling using hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.”
The Siena Research Institute poll released Monday says voters statewide were split 40-40 percent when asked if the Department of Environmental Conservation should lift a 4 1/2-year-old moratorium on fracking. The remaining 20 percent had no opinion. In the Southern Tier region where drilling would most likely start, the poll showed 48 percent opposed and 47 percent favored lifting the ban.
The poll found opponents of fracking were far more passionate in their positions than supporters were.
The agency has a Feb. 27 deadline to complete fracking regulations or let them expire.
The telephone poll conducted Jan. 27-31 surveyed 1,154 registered voters and has a margin of error of 3.7 percentage points.
“Fracking” opponents to pack NY budget hearing
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) Gov. Andrew Cuomo didn't mention “fracking” in his budget proposal, but the issue will figure prominently at a legislative budget hearing on environmental spending.
Busloads of opponents of natural gas drilling using hydraulic fracturing are heading to Albany to hear Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens testify Monday morning. Lawmakers are expected to question Martens about fracking, as they did with Health Commissioner Nirav Shah at a budget hearing last week.
Later Monday, Arun Gandhi, grandson of nonviolent protest leader Mahatma Gandhi, will be among those presenting a “pledge of resistance” to fracking to Cuomo.
Cuomo has said his budget doesn't include increased spending for fracking regulation because DEC hasn't completed its environmental review and decided whether to end a 4 1/2-year-old moratorium.
Heavy snow possible along Lake Ontario
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) Heavy snow is possible along Lake Ontario in western and central New York.
Forecasters say four to seven inches of lake-effect snow could fall later Monday in parts of Monroe, Orleans and Wayne counties in western New York. Heavy snow also is possible farther east in the Syracuse area.
Mayors like Cuomo budget proposal on arbitration
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) Some mayors are expressing support for a proposal in Gov. Andrew Cuomo's budget that could save their cities money at contract time.
Cuomo's proposal would cap wage increases that arbitration panels could give unionized public workers at 2 percent if the municipality is deemed to be under “fiscal distress.”
Mayors from the Albany area will hold a news conference near the Capitol to advocate for the proposal, which has been criticized by some public employee unions.
County officials across NY to meet in Albany
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) County officials from across New York are expected to discuss their financial challenges when they come to Albany this week.
Almost 1,000 people are expected to show for the New York State Association of Counties annual legislative conference starting Monday. The county leaders will discuss issues like Medicaid, mandate relief and pension costs.
Many local officials have been critical of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposal to reduce ballooning costs of public pensions by allowing local governments to pay lower employer contributions now based on the assumption of lower pension costs 10 or 20 years from now.
Land along Hudson in upstate NY to open in spring
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) New York state plans to open for the first time a stretch of the upper Hudson River in stages this spring and fall.
The land was purchased in December for $12.4 million. It includes a 10-mile track of the river flowing south from Newcomb. The river wanders through deep forests in nearly tranquil water interrupted by stretches of mild and moderate rapids.
The Department of Environmental Conservation is proposing a wilderness designation for the river and a swath of forest on both sides. It would allow two nearby parking areas for canoeists who want to leave the water.
Snow geese boom means expanded hunting in Vt., NY
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) A decades-long boom in the population of snow geese is leading Vermont and New York to expand hunting seasons as part of a broader plan to cut their numbers in half across North America.
In Vermont, the Department of Fish and Wildlife is hoping the spring hunting season will reduce the population of the birds as they travel between their wintering grounds in the mid-Atlantic states to their Arctic breeding grounds in Canada. This year's hunting season is March 11-April 26.
The birds mostly use the Lake Champlain corridor during their spring and fall migrations, although some use the Connecticut River corridor.
There is a similar expansion in the hunting season in New York where the spring snow goose hunting season is in effect through April 15.
Vermont lawmakers to get economic development tour
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) A busload of Vermont lawmakers heads north this coming week for a tour of economic development projects in the Newport and Jay areas.
Members of the House Commerce and Economic Development and Transportation committees are scheduled to depart Montpelier at 8 a.m. Tuesday to view projects being launched by Jay Peak resort Bill Stenger and his partners.
Expansions at Jay Peak and the Burke Mountain ski area, a new hotel and two new manufacturers in Newport are among a group of projects that are expected to bring up to 10,000 jobs to northern Vermont.
(All stories copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)