Protecting Our Natural Heritage and Empowering Communities

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From: Kathy Nolan, Mountainkeeper's Senior Research Director
Re: An update on a proposal for an unnecessary and ill-conceived major hydroelectric dam that would threaten our pristine Ashokan Reservoir and surrounding communities

On February 18th, a notice in the Federal Register alerted communities in the Catskills near the Ashokan Reservoir to a preliminary application filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) by Premium Energy Holdings of Southern California for a large and poorly thought through “pumped storage” project. It would draw from the existing Ashokan Reservoir, plus a newly created dam and reservoir at one of three alternative sites near the Ashokan, for generating hydroelectric power. If you're looking for a deep dive on the proposal, check out this presentation by journalist Ginger Strand.

A lot has happened in the few weeks since then…


Ban on Fracking Adopted throughout Delaware River Watershed!

EPIC BATTLE! HISTORIC WIN! Next up: rules to ban imports/exports

Advocates elated by historic DRBC vote instituting fracking ban and the start of rule process to ban fracking wastewater imports and water exports for fracking

February 25, 2021 – The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) permanently banned fracking throughout the Delaware River Watershed today, affecting four states and water supplies for millions, after eleven years of raging debate and public discourse. The Delaware River Frack Ban Coalition and many members of the public - reported by DRBC to be at 400 during the meeting - joined the virtual DRBC meeting, where a vote on banning fracking in the watershed had been advertised. The DRBC voting members - the Governors of the four states that are part of the Delaware River Watershed (New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware) and a federal representative for President Biden from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - voted to enact the regulations that were pending since the public comment period closed in March 2018. All four states voted to approve the ban; the Army Corps representative abstained.

“Today's vote is a historic victory for all the people who call the Delaware River Basin home and drink the clean water that flows from the Catskills to the Delaware Bay. No longer will they face the threats of water pollution, air pollution, and the disease that comes with fracking. As the Delaware River Basin Commission advances regulations regarding fracking wastes and water withdrawals, we will fight to ban those activities as well; the best way to protect the Basin against fracking's impacts is to prevent them.  Catskill Mountainkeeper has been fighting for this day for over a decade, and we're not alone. We've been fighting alongside tens of thousands of individuals, and hundreds of organizations to keep the dirty, dangerous oil and gas industry out of the Basin. These advocates have persevered against long odds and shown up in every way--at  hundreds of community meetings, hearings, rallies, canoe protests, and in four state capitals to make today a reality,” said Wes Gillingham, Associate Director, Catskill Mountainkeeper.


Release Date: February 18, 2021

Frack Ban Coalition Expects Historic Vote February 25

ZOOM meeting – The Delaware River Frack Ban Coalition is looking forward to a historic vote at the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) special meeting announced for Thursday Feb. 25, 10:30 a.m. The meeting was publicly noticed yesterday by DRBC as a virtual meeting, with no public comment, for “final action on DRBC’s Proposed Amendments to the Administrative Manual and Special Regulations Regarding Hydraulic Fracturing Activities”. The DRBC voting members are the Governors of the four states that flow to the Delaware – New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware – and a federal representative for Prsesident Biden from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The draft gas regulations were issued for public comment on November 30, 2017. How to join the meeting:

“For more than a decade we have provided Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) with the scientific evidence of threats to our health, the impacts to the ecology of the river and the region, and the threat of impacting the drinking water for millions of people. During the public comment period at least 40,000 comments to the DRBC were in support of a full ban on fracking and all drilling-related activities, including wastewater treatment and water withdrawals. This better be the moment in history where the agency listens to the people and the science and makes the right choice for the future of the basin,” said Wes Gillingham, Associate Director, Catskill Mountainkeeper.


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