History

A SHORT HISTORY OF FRIENDS OF VESTAL AND VESTAL RESIDENTS FOR SAFE ENERGY

2009   A small group met at a residence on Jones Road to discuss what to do about fracking. The Slottjes had just begun their opposition to the process, and the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund might have been willing to help address the situation, but the group felt the need to act immediately, so they decided to begin with a road use agreement.

Sept. 2011   The group, having gotten larger, decided to work for a moratorium on fracking and named itself Friends of Vestal.

Sept. 2011 – Jan. 2012   FOV members submitted some of the more than 60,000 comments on the New York State SGEIS about fracking.

Oct. 2011   FOV presented a six-page binder with information on fracking to the Vestal Town Board.

Oct. 2011   FOV sponsored a poster contest called How Will Fracking Affect Our Community for all Broome County students in grades 6-12. When the posters were displayed at Vestal High School, a resident demanded they be taken down and the administration complied.

Nov. 2011   FOV changed its name to Vestal Residents for Safe Energy (VeRSE) to indicate that its mission included supporting sustainable energy as well as opposing fracking.

Jan. 2012   VeRSE brought in Ithaca lawyer (and former Vestal resident) David Slottje to talk to the town board about the legality of a ban.

June 2012   VeRSE sponsored a presentation by Chip Northrup and Sandra Steingraber called Fracking In Vestal; Good for You? Good for Water? which was about the risks of fracking.

Sept. 2012   VeRSE sponsored a presentation, in conjunction with the League of Woman Voters, called Going for Gold or Going for Broke which focused on fracking’s affects on property values, mortgages, homeowners insurance and refinancing. The speakers were Elizabeth Radow and Greg May, and informational booklets were passed out.

Dec. 2012   VeRSE decided to dissolve the steering committee and proceed with general monthly meetings led by a facilitator.

May 2013   VeRSE presented a petition for a moratorium on fracking with 2500 signatures to the Vestal Town Board. The board declined to act.

VeRSE then presented the petition to a representative of Governor Cuomo and sent it to the heads of the State Assembly and Senate, and Donna Lupardo.

Summer 2013   VeRSE produced a large group of demonstrators in less than 24 hours for a local appearance by Governor Cuomo.

Aug. 2013   VeRSE joined a demonstration when President Obama visited Vestal.

Jan. 2014   VeRSE sponsored Prospects of Shale Gas in NY with speakers Lou Allstadt, Jerry Acton, Brian Brock and Anthony Ingraffea.

Spring 2016   As the Vestal Town Board considered opting out of the NYS solar property tax exemption (PTE), VeRSE alerted town residents to this possibility and rallied opposition to the move, which probably played a role in the board’s decision to forgo any action.

July 2016   Members of VeRSE presented the Vestal Public Library with $1,000 of donations in the name of Pat Roberts. Pat, who died in May of 2016, was a founding member of VeRSE, and for a number of years she acted as facilitator for monthly meetings. She also took great interest in the Vestal Public Library, so gifts to the library seemed like an appropriate way to honor her memory.

Fall 2016   VeRSE sponsored 3 local showings of Catching the Sun.

March 2017   VeRSE co-sponsored a showing of Catching the Sun at BU.

March 5, 2020   VeRSE co-sponsored a presentation at the Vestal Public Library called NYS Energy Programs for the Southern Tier. The event featured 4 speakers: B.U. Professor Molly Patterson, NY Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, Terrance Carroll of Cornell Cooperative Extension and B.C. Legislator Suzy Ryan. The event cosponsors were RAFT (Residents Allied for the Future of Tioga) and the Susquehanna Group of the Sierra Club.