Press Release: Mountainkeeper Supports Lawsuit Challenging Pro Gambling Language of Referendum


Catskill Mountainkeeper Supports Lawsuit that Challenges Wording in N.Y. Casino Referendum

Says ballot is not objective
October 2, 2013

“We support Eric Snyder’s lawsuit challenging the state’s irresponsible referendum language – and urge New Yorkers to get the real facts about casinos,” said Ramsay Adams, Executive Director of Catskill Mountainkeeper.
Snyder, a Brooklyn attorney, filed a lawsuit Tuesday in state Supreme Court in Albany, saying a proposed amendment to allow casinos “constitutes the use of public money to advocate the position of a public institution, in violation of the New York State Constitution.”  The language, which the State Board of Elections approved in July, mentions only positive “legislative purposes” of the casino proposal, including “promoting job growth, increasing aid to schools and permitting local governments to lower property taxes.” Referendum language is typically neutral.

“Study after study shows that casinos do more harm than good, especially in rural areas. We oppose casinos in the Catskills because of the pervasive and compelling environmental, social and economic problems that will accompany casino development and ultimately would harm the very people they’re supposed to help.”

For more information on Catskill Mountainkeeper’s position on casinos in the Catskills please visit:  For a copy of the lawsuit,please contact us.

Read the New York Times story on the lawsuit here:

‘Same River’ Comes to Sullivan County!

Same River Poster

Catskill Mountainkeeper is excited to be a part-sponsor of the upcoming performance of ‘Same River’ at NACL Theatre*!

Same River is an improvised, inter-disciplinary performance based on local residents about water and the effects fracking has on communities.

The show will be at NACL Theatre in Highland Lake on Sunday, September 8th, at 4:00 pm and will be performed by The Strike Anywhere Performance Ensemble.

Tickets are limited, so be sure to get yours’ today!

When: Sunday, September 8th, at 4:00 pm
Where:  NACL Theatre, 110 Highland Lake Rd, Highland Lake, NY

Strike Anywhere was founded in NYC in 1997 to promote empathy, free-thinking, and greater social awareness through provocative theatre and educational outreach.
We were fortunate enough to have a quick conversation with SAPE’s Artistic/Producing Director, Leese Walker about the show. Here is some of what she had to say:

CMK: Why did you all decide to create a show focused on the community impacts of fracking?

LWI first learned about fracking when we were invited to perform at NACL’s 10th Annual Catskill Festival of New Theatre in 2010.  We were working on a new format for interdisciplinary improvisation and so I asked NACL’s Artistic Director, Tannis Kowalchuk, if there were any themes running through the festival programming that year.  She responded, “Water.  Definitely water.”  So I thought, “OK let’s make a show about water”.  I asked about local water issues and several people mentioned fracking.   I knew very little about it at that time.  As an ensemble, we researched the process and surrounding issues and came to do an intensive residency in the area.   I had never done an interview-based process before and had been waiting for the right project to come along to employ it.  This seemed perfect.  That first foray into the show SAME RIVER in 2010 was a bold experiment in using an interview process to launch an improvised show.  When we started, we thought the show was about water and fracking.   As we dug in deeper over the last 3 years, we discovered that the show is really about how drilling has impacted communities and relationships.  Water is still present in the show. The dancer who plays the character of water serves as a witness throughout the piece. 

CMK: You interviewed a wide range of people from our communities to create the basis of the show. How did you connect with these people and what was the interview process like?

LWWe perform a residency in conjunction with this show on every stop of our tour.  Having this time in the community allows us to conduct new interviews in each place and custom design the show to reflect the host community.  When we were here three years ago, the show was totally improvised.  Now we have a set structure and characters that are present in every performance but the actual dialogue within those scenes is improvised based on the interviews.  NACL, our host, served as the liaison.  They connected us with different community members so we could gather a wide range of voices for the piece.
The interview process this time around was particularly special because we have been here before and we met with many of the same people that we met with three years ago.  It has been interesting to see how things have changed and what has stayed the same.  It has been wonderful to reconnect with people and I can’t wait to show them how much the show has evolved since 2010.  We have a beautiful production now replete with video projections, stunning lighting design and costumes – if you haven’t seen it before, we are a company of jazz musicians, dancers and actors so the piece is interdisciplinary. 

Screen Shot 2013-09-06 at 12.46.10 PM

CMK: What were the biggest surprises/challenges that arose while collecting these stories?

LWWell, the biggest surprise has probably been to discover how multifaceted people are- all the shades of gray, the conflicting ideas within each person.  Another surprise has been to hear some of the same language coming from the mouths of the most polarized voices on the spectrum, similar phrases or similar examples to prove their point.   It is funny to me.  The project has helped me to humanize viewpoints I disagree with.  I hope it will do the same for audience members. 

CMK: The performances are very audience-driven and participatory. How much has this impacted the tone and content of each performance?

LWEvery incarnation of Same River is different.  It really takes on the flavor of each place that we visit.  We try to capture the conversation.  So naturally, the tone and content morphs and changes to reflect the communities we visit.
We also use a variety of community engagement strategies wherever we go.  We figure out what the host would like to accomplish and custom design an approach to meet those needs.  In past incarnations of the show, we have performed extended residencies in high schools in conjunction with the show  We have had students craft new scenes and join us on stage. We have had community members come out and help us build the set.  At one high school, students worked with an installation artist to create an interactive, large-scale art installation which served as the first act of the show.  We always include a post-show town hall discussion.  This is really important to us because the point of the show is to instigate discussion.  We have found that in a lot of the places we visit, communication has broken down. We hope that by authentically presenting multiple voices on stage we can promote empathy and help to heal divides.

*NACL Theatre is a professional, not-for-profit company that has created over 15 original and ensemble theatre productions since 1997.  To learn more about NACL, and to learn about ways you can support the theatre, please visit their website here.

Over a Thousand Businesses Across the State Call on Governor Cuomo to Reject Fracking

Business Leaders Argue Fracking Won’t Create Jobs; Will Harm Food and Water Safety and Existing NY-Based Businesses

(Albany, NY) New Yorkers Against Fracking, a coalition of diverse organizations, including founding member Catskill Mountainkeeper, announced today that over 1,000 businesses had signed on in support of a statewide ban on fracking, joining health groups, political organizations, consumer groups, and environmental organizations.

The businesses noted that fracking had failed to create jobs in other states – with a national report showing that jobs were moving from the gas industry to the oil industry in Texas and Louisiana and West Virginia data showing that shale gas had not been a job boom – and unnecessarily put people’s health at risk. Furthermore, businesses fear that fracking will jeopardize current jobs and reduce job growth in many industries.

“The gas industry makes a lot of claims about jobs,” said Larry Bennett of Brewery Ommegang. “But we have actually been creating jobs in upstate New York and know that fracking will make it harder for us to grow our business.”
Food industry leaders recently came out in opposition to fracking because of its detrimental effect on agriculture, food safety and water. “This goes beyond affecting chefs, it could have a huge impact on those who live in upstate New York,” said Bill Telepan of Telepan Restaurant. “The drinking water, and the land, and the food upstate will be affected – and then all of us will be affected.”
“Our business depends on water,” said Steve Hindy of Brooklyn Brewery. “We can’t take the chance that fracking wastewater contaminates our state’s water supplies.”

“As responsible business owners, it is imperative that we educate ourselves on the harms of fracking,” said Heather Carlucci, Chef at PRINT. “Hydraulic fracturing, or natural gas drilling, can easily damage our water table and food sources and thus harm two of New York State’s great economic strongholds, tourism and restaurant businesses.”

“In the last two years my companies have created over 100 jobs in New York City, so I know something about job creation. This much is clear: fracking isn’t the answer to our economic woes. Study after study shows green energy creates more local jobs than fossil fuel production over the short and long term. We need a real economic development vision for all of New York that includes local agriculture, tourism, and small business support. Governor Cuomo should start working on that and keep New York safe from fracking,” said Guillaume Gauthereau, co-founder and CEO of and 2012 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist.

“Within a generation, western New York will be the major breadbasket for the Northeast,” said Art Hunt of Hunt Country Vineyards. “We have abundant clean water, clean air and fertile soil. We cannot afford to lose precious acres to development that can harm our water and other natural resources if we hope to continue to feed this country in the future.”

Since the possibility of allowing fracking in the Southern Tier was publicly aired last month, opponents to fracking have been raising their voices. Almost 10,000 people have emailed or called Governor Cuomo and New Yorkers Against Fracking has held rallies across the state including Rockville Center (in Senate Majority Leader Skelos’ district), Brooklyn, Poughkeepsie, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany (at the Governor’s office). Major artists, including Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon and hundreds of others, announced their opposition to fracking with the launch of Artists Against Fracking. Just last week, the Senate Democrats held a forum on fracking in NYC that indicated serious ethical impropriety on behalf of the NYS DEC in colluding with the gas industry, and also showed that serious health, economic, and environmental concerns have not been addressed in the DEC’s review of fracking.

Leaders of the effort at the press conference announced that the businesses pledged to continue organizing businesses throughout the summer.

Summer Supper at Neversink Farm

Neversink Farm Presents an Afternoon Supper to Benefit Catskill Mountainkeeper 

Come join Catskill Mountainkeeper for an incredible intimate afternoon supper at Neversink Farm in Claryville, NY.  Tour the farm while sampling cuisine and non-alcoholic beverages sourced from the Catskills – all beautifully prepared by Chef Patrick Connolly.  There will be food stations by the river, the cut flower field, the barn, the pasture, and the vegetable field.  For the kids there will be friendly chickens and donkeys to pet.  The afternoon’s event is sponsored by Main St. Farm and will feature food and beverages that have been sourced from some of our region’s finest producers.  All proceeds go to support the Agricultural Program of Catskill Mountainkeeper.

 Time: Saturday June 30th from 4:00 – 7:00 PM
Place: Neversink Farm in Claryville, NY.

Get your tickets today! Due to a limited capacity, we highly recommend purchasing tickets in advance.


For a mouthwatering description of the event’s inspired food preparation, and to purchase tickets, click here.

For more information, and for directions to Neversink Farm, click here.

 This event is made possible through the generous support of Red Newt Cellars and Main Street Farm

Catskill Edible Garden Project Launches in Sullivan County


For Immediate Release
May 9, 2012

Emily Deans, Catskill Mountainkeeper, 845-482-5400
Denise Frangipane, Sullivan Renaissance, 845-295-2443

Catskill Edible Garden Project Launches in Sullivan County

(Youngsville, NY) – Catskill Mountainkeeper and partnering organizations –Cornell Cooperative Extension, Center for Workforce Development, Green Village Initiative and Sullivan Renaissance – are pleased to announce the launch of the Catskill Edible Garden Project – Growing the Next Generation of Food Entrepreneurs.  The project involves working with area schools and educational institutions to install and maintain edible gardens, and will additionally seek to provide resources to assist in the development and implementation of garden and food-based curricula integration.

“The Catskill Edible Garden Project 
will offer the opportunity for a hands-on youth development experience and exposure to food and agriculture as important aspects of our culture and community, and potential career opportunities,” said Emily Deans of Catskill Mountainkeeper.

The Project will enhance youth understanding of the food web; raise awareness of the components of a local healthy food system and its connection to healthy communities, and increase understanding of food systems as complex and interconnected aspects of community development.  During May, the construction and installation of three gardens will begin; two are located at schools -  Roscoe Central School and the Sullivan West campus in Jeffersonville ; a third will be at Cornell Cooperative Extension in Liberty.  The Cornell garden will promote the CCE “Eat Smart New York” program.

Build days for the gardens are as follows:  Cornell Cooperative Extension – May 14  8:30 AM;Sullivan West – Jeffersonville Campus – May 19 – 8:00 AMRoscoe Central School – May 22 – 1:00 PM.   Community volunteers are welcome to participate! Click here to get involved.

The Catskill Edible Garden Project
 will also feature a summer youth employment program in partnership with the Center for Workforce Development. Select students from each participating school district will be employed to maintain the gardens throughout the summer.  These students will also participate in agriculturally-based community outreach and CCE’s ‘Choose Health Ambassador’ program.

The Catskill Edible Garden Project
 is a collaboration between Catskill Mountainkeeper, Center for Workforce Development, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Sullivan Renaissance, and Green Village Initiative – a Connecticut-based not-for-profit that has been involved in the development of school garden programs throughout Western Connecticut.

Group Says Fracking Proposal Deficient

North Country Gazette
January 10, 2012

NEW YORK—Catskill Mountainkeeper,Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Earthjustice, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and Riverkeeper, Inc. have announced that, after extensive evaluation and technical expert review, they have concluded that the state must go back and revisit significant aspects of its revised draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (RDSGEIS) before fracking can move forward.  Click here for the full press release.