TODAY – New York Needs Your Vote!

VOTE ‘NO’ on Propositions 1 and 5

Today is election day – a day where we can use our American right to get out and vote for the people and issues that are important to us and represent our vision for our communities and country.

For New York State voters, there are some important referendums up on the ballot, which have the potential to dramatically shift the quality of life for New Yorkers, and set dangerous precedents for the way we preserve and protect our land.

Catskill Mountainkeeper encourages New Yorkers to vote ‘NO’ on the following two ballot propositions:

PROPOSITION 1 – Referendum on Gambling and Casino Development in NYS

What is it?
  • The passing of this proposition would permit the development of SEVEN Las Vegas-style casinos in the state, and could pave the way for an additional THREE casinos in NYC in the next few years.
Why vote ‘NO’?
  • While proponents of the referendum say they will bring about a badly needed boost to the local economy, overwhelming evidence from neighboring states proves otherwise.
  • The truth is, casino development results in pervasive negative environmental, social, and economic problems for the communities in which they are located.
  • For more information on Proposition 1 and additional reasons why you should vote ‘NO’, please click here.
PROPOSITION 5 – Transfers of Forest Preserve Lands
What is it?
  • This proposition seeks to transfer 200 acres of “forever wild” forested lands to NYCO Minerals, Inc. – a mining company that operates a 250-acre mine bordering the Forest Preserve.
Why vote ‘NO’?
  • In addition to destroying Forest Preserve property – much of which contains 150-200 year old growth forest – the passing of Proposition 5 would set a dangerous precedent for the future of forever wild Forest Preserve lands in the Adirondack and Catskill Parks.
  • The Forest Preserve exists to protect important natural resources. To exchange Forest Preserve lands purely for economic purposes flies in the face of “forever wild”, which was established to protect and preserve the most ecologically valuable lands in the state.
  • There has never been an amendment to the constitutional article authorizing the use, lease, sale or the exchange of these lands to benefit private commercial enterprise, and the passing of this proposal would set a terrible precedent enabling exactly that.
  • Join Catskill Mountainkeeper and a broad coalition of other conservation groups – including NRDC and The Sierra Club – to vote ‘NO’ on this important proposition.
  • For more information on Proposition 5, please click here.

The stakes are too high to sit this out! Get to your polling location today and cast your ‘NO’ vote on Propositions 1 and 5.

NYPost Ed Board Urges New Yorkers to Vote No on Prop 1 Against Gambling Referendum

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The casino Cuomo

By Post Editorial Board, October 29, 2013 | 4:21am

The casino CuomoPublished: October 29, 2013 | 4:21am

The iron rule of gaming is this: The odds always favor the house. That’s as true of the Las Vegas blackjack table and the Atlantic City slot machine as it… All this would be reason enough to vote down this initiative. But the ballot’s added language suggesting cost-free benefits merits its own rebuke. New Yorkers would do well to regard this language with the same credibility we give to the promises of carnival barkers, The Post urges a “No” on Proposal 1.

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No to More Casinos in New York State

Published: October 24, 2013

New York State is home to five casinos run by Indian tribes and nine casinos that are called “racinos” because they are large slot machine parlors near racetracks. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature now want to expand gambling by putting a constitutional amendment on the Nov. 5 ballot that would add seven full-blown casinos. The answer from voters should be no.

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A voice against proposition one

Fritz Mayer October 23, 2013 —

Ramsay Adams knows that a lot of important people in Sullivan County and beyond are in favor of gaming. They want people to vote “yes” on Proposition One in November and change the state constitution to allow up to seven casinos in the state. But Adams’ reluctant position is to oppose the proposition, because he believes casinos in Sullivan County will bring more harm than good.




Casinos a bad bet for Catskills

By Ramsay Adams, Commentary
Updated 4:49 pm, Thursday, October 17, 2013

When our group, Catskill Mountainkeeper, opened its doors in 2006, Gov. George Pataki had proposed multiple casinos for the region. We took on the Pataki proposal as our initial battle, because we didn’t see casino gambling as a good long-term fit for the region’s economic challenges.

Seven years later, it’s a different governor, but the same scheme.

We oppose this latest proposal, a change in the state’s constitution up for an Election Day

for more info on our efforts to stop multiple Altantic City type casinos in the Catskills

for more info on our efforts to stop casinos in the Catskills

vote on Nov. 5, for many of the same reasons we fought the last one. For us, the casino question is straightforward. When we again take a close look at the facts, it’s hard to buy the sunny picture the pro-casino forces are painting. They’ve even tried to stack the deck with slanted language in the referendum itself.

On virtually every front — from the environmental impact to the burden casinos place on local services to a likely increase in crime — we’re convinced the drawbacks vastly outstrip the benefits.

The writer is executive director of Catskill Mountainkeeper


Fracking’s Impact on Severe Weather



Friday, October 11, 2013 – I am heartbroken over the pictures I’ve seen of the flooding destruction in Colorado. It particularly hits home because in 2006 flooding from an extreme, intense, isolated thunderstorm destroyed my vegetable farm in Youngsville, Sullivan County. In a few hours, torrents of water ruined three of my tractors, devastated my irrigation equipment and took away 60 percent of my topsoil. I couldn’t recover, and it put me out of business.


2013 Flood in Weld County, CO

In some ways I was lucky, especially compared to the people in Colorado. I didn’t have to worry about toxic fracking chemicals that are linked to cancer, infertility, autism, diabetes, thyroid disorders and many more conditions poisoning my family, which is a real fear for people in Weld County, Colo.

I did not have a natural gas well pad or a wastewater containment facility on my land. I did not have condensation tanks or open pits that contained toxic fracking waste. That meant that the washout across my field had water in it and not toxic waste.

In New York, proponents of gas drilling say we can protect ourselves from this type of devastation by having better regulations. The tragedies in Colorado and the 2006 flood of my farm eviscerate this theory.

While the regulations in the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement, the conditions under which New York state proposed to regulate fracking, may be better than what they have in Colorado, history tells us they are unlikely to address a weather calamity like the Colorado flooding.

My farm was destroyed by what was considered a 500-year flood, but the SGEIS only seeks to prohibit wells in areas that are defined as 100-year flood plains. This flood plain definition has been rendered almost meaningless, as climate change has created a “new normal” where we are seeing the increased frequency of weather events that previously were defined as 100-year, 500-year and even 1,000-year occurrences. We experienced two 100-year floods and the 500-year flood in a five-year period.

Even if the proposed regulations were more stringent, our government does not have the ability or willingness to enforce regulations. A recent study showed the Department of Environmental Conservation has lost one third of its staff. And in case after case, the Federal Environmental Protection Agency has been walking away from dealing with fracking pollution.

Ironically, it is the carbon emissions from burning natural gas and other fossil fuels that is accelerating climate change, which in turn is increasing the intensity of storms.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has maintained a moratorium as the Department of Health and DECstudies the science on fracking. If there was ever a sign that fracking is not right for New York and we need to move to clean energy, the Colorado disaster is it.

Wes Gillingham is program director at Catskill Mountainkeeper.

Catskill Food Initiative


Catskill Food Initiative logo

Promoting sustainable economic growth in the Catskills through agriculture

Catskill Farm New York FarmA critical component of Catskill Mountainkeeper’s mission is to facilitate sustainable

economic growth in the Catskills.  Since agriculture, our region’s number two industry behind tourism, has the strongest potential to fuel this growth, we have created the Catskill Food Initiative.


 Click here to find out more about our agricultural programming

We Need YOUR Comments Now to Stop the Gas Industry!

Don’t Let the Gas Companies Build Their Invasive Infrastructure

The fracking fight in New York appears to be at a stalemate with Governor Cuomo not yet signaling a clear decision against fracking.  Can he avoid succumbing to industry pressure to frack New York?
   Compressor Station on Federal Road, Erin, NY

Certainly the gas industry is betting that he cannot.  They have been quietly drafting plans to cover our state with an infrastructure to bring natural gas to market – with much of it projected to be shipped overseas where the prices are higher.  This is why it is so important for you to take immediate action and submit your comments today on the prosposed regulations which would permit Liquified Natural Gas facilities of any size throughout the state.  Our colleague, Sandra Steingraber, has once again made this process streamlined and effective with herReturn of 30 Days: The Infrastructure Regs. She will be collecting comments for the 30 day period and then submitting them to the New York State Department of Conservation.

The gas industry’s plans to create a massive infrastructure in New York means that the people who would be affected by drilling are not just those who live in the upstate areas where fracking might be approved, but EVERYONE who lives near a toxic and potentially explosive pipeline, compressor station, or Liquid Natural Gas storage facility.  There are currently over 53 proposed or approved gas infrastructure projects across the State, including several in New York City and its suburbs.

To keep natural gas in a highly pressurized state for travel through pipelines, compressor stations are located every 40 to 100 miles along the route to market.  Compressor stations have been documented to cause air, water and noise pollution.  Studies from air around compressor stations have shown extremely high levels of carcinogens and neurotoxins.  Lisa Jackson, former Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said in relationship to other fracking infrastructure, “You are going to have huge smog problems where you never had them before.”   High levels of ozone (smog) have been shown to have a direct correlation to an increase in asthma and other respiratory diseases. You only need to look to Pennsylvania – where gas companies have constructed over 450 compressor stations in five years - to see how quickly and extensively gas drilling can impact communities.

The full picture of the complexity and invasiveness of this infrastructure in New York has yet to emerge, but we are seeing a very disturbing pattern; industry scrambles to build a massive web of pipelines, compressor stations, and Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) facilities to reach new markets here and overseas so they can drive up the price of gas.  We must prevent the industrial build out of New York State, which threatens hundreds of communities. 

This coming year will be the most critical in our fight and will determine once and for all whether or not New York will get fracked.  Right now we are asking you to take action on three issues:

#1 – The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)’s insufficient proposed regulations to govern Liquid Natural Gas plants in New York State.  Comment period deadline November 4, 2013.

#2 – Plans to use abandoned salt caverns under Seneca Lake for natural gas storage.  Comment period deadline October 16, 2013.

#3 – The Port Ambrose Liquid Natural Gas port that would connect ocean-going ships to proposed on-shore infrastructure. Although the scoping comment period has ended, Governor Cuomo can still veto it.

To help you take action on these three issues, our colleague Sandra Steingraber is replicating her tremendously successful campaign for commenting on New York State’s fracking regulations and will send you an email once a day for the next Thirty Days when you sign up to participate.  She will explain each issue and offer the background science so that you fully understand why building this infrastructure is so wrong for New York. Please make your first comments now! 

Mark your calendars to come to the public hearings and rally in Albany on October 30th from 10 am – 12 pm to comment on the the NYS Liquid Natural Gas regulations.

As we’ve said, the coming year will be the most critical in our fracking fight.  In addition to participating in this campaign, we strongly urge you to educate and involve your friends and family.  Please send them this email and ask them to join us.