Protecting Our Natural Heritage and Empowering Communities

Happening Now


I know you just heard from us this morning about our upcoming composting webinar, but I couldn’t wait to share additional news with you about two huge wins Mountainkeeper is celebrating today.

First, after years of advocacy in the New York State budget process, this year we won big for the Catskills. The NYS Legislature has passed a budget that includes a $300 million Environmental Protection Fund, a $3 billion environmental bond act, and major new investments in the Catskill Park and Forest Preserve. Please take a minute to thank your legislative leaders and our local Catskills representatives for supporting our beloved park and wildlands. And check out this great WAMC piece about the win.

Holding company withdraws its flawed proposal to create a pumped storage hydroelectric facility at the Ashokan Reservoir in the face of fierce community opposition

April 13, 2021 - Premium Holdings, a power company from Southern California, proposed to create an enormous underground hydroelectric plant adjacent to the Ashokan Reservoir. Had the project moved forward, the company would dig into valleys in the towns of Olive or Shandaken and dam streams to create reservoirs as part of “pumped storage” for electricity to be generated using associated water transport tunnels. Today, Premium announced that it was withdrawing the proposal for the Ashokan project, but maintained that it would consider submitting a revised proposal for a similar project around the Neversink Reservoir or the Roundout Reservoir.

Mountainkeeper released the following statement, attributable to Kathy Nolan, Catskill Mountainkeeper's Senior Research Director.

Thanks to our wonderful community in the Catskills for speaking up clearly and forcefully to chase away this poorly conceived project! We must seek and advance truly sustainable approaches to our energy needs and realize what is at stake in areas preserved for their importance to water quality, recreation, natural habitats, and other "eco-system benefits." The New York City reservoirs are an important and sensitive engineering and ecological system--while we're thrilled that the sponsors are pulling out of the Ashokan proposal, we remain concerned and engaged around the potential for this type of project to pop up at another reservoir.

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Read & listen to Allison Dunne's story about the victory on WAMC

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…

 

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