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 we could do about fracking. The Slottjes were just starting out and also the Community Legal Defense Fund approach. Neither seemed doable right away in Vestal, so we decided to start with a road use agreement.
Sept. 2011 The group now larger decides to work for moratorium on fracking and names itself Friends of Vestal.
Sept. 2011 – Jan. 2012 FOV members submit some of the more than 60,000 comments on the SGEIS.
Oct. 2011 FOV presents a six-page binder with information on fracking to the town board.
Oct. 2011 FOV sponsors a poster contest “How Will Fracking Affect Our Community” for all Broome County students in grades 6-12. When the posters are displayed at Vestal High School, a resident demands they be taken down and the administration complies.
Nov. 2011 FOV changes its name to Vestal Residents for Safe Energy or VeRSE to indicate that its mission includes supporting sustainable energy as well as opposing fracking.
Jan. 2012 VeRSE brings in David Slottje, an Ithaca lawyer, to talk to the town board about the legality of a ban.
June 2012 VeRSE sponsors “Fracking In Vestal; Good for You? Good for Water?,” a presentation on the risks of fracking by Chip Northrup and Sandra Steingraber.
Sept. 2012 VeRSE sponsors “Going for Gold or Going for Broke,” a presentation put on in conjunction with the League of Woman Voters about fracking’s affects on property values, mortgages, homeowners insurance and refinancing. Speakers are Elizabeth Radow and Greg May. Informational booklets are passed out.
Dec. 2012 VeRSE decides to dissolve the steering committee and proceed with general monthly meetings with a facilitator.
May 2013 VeRSE presents a petition for a moratorium on fracking with 2500 signatures to the Vestal Town Board. The board declines to act.
VeRSE then presents the petition to a representative of Governor Cuomo and sends it to the heads of the State Assembly and Senate and Donna Lupardo.
Summer 2013 VeRSE produces a large group of demonstrators in less than 24 hours for a local appearance by Governor Cuomo.
Aug. 2013 VeRSE joins demonstration when President Obama visits Vestal.
Jan. 2014 VeRSE sponsors “Prospects of Shale Gas in NY,” with speakers Lou Allstadt, Jerry Acton, Brian Brock and Anthony Ingraffea.
Spring 2016 As the Vestal Town Board considers opting out of the NYS solar property tax exemption (PTE), VeRSE alerts town residents to this possibility and rallies opposition to it, 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 sponsors 3 local showings of “Catching the Sun.”
March 2017 VeRSE co-sponsors a showing of “Catching the Sun” at BU.