Catskill Park Coalition News

Catskill Park Coalition News

Nearly 600 Pristine Acres Added to Catskill Park – On Tuesday, Catskill Mountainkeeper joined the Nature Conservancy, Catskill Center, New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC), the Catskill 3500 Club and New York/New Jersey Trail Conference to celebrate the acquisition of 590 pristine acres in the Catskill Park.

This land includes three parcels on the slopes of 3,600-foot Balsam Mountain, one of the 35 peaks over 3,500 feet in the park. Thanks to the efforts of the Catskill Park Coalition (CPC), and especially Alan White of the Catskill Center, this property was transferred from the Nature Conservancy to the NYSDEC, and added to the Catskill Park Forest Preserve.

Lost Clove

This acquisition follows the successful “Catskill Park Awareness Day” on February 25, when 49 coalition members met with the Governor’s office, DEC and multiple State Senators and Assembly Members to advocate for the Catskill Park. The Awareness Day legislative agenda included this priority land protection project, as well as the urgent need for additional forest rangers in Catskill Park, and budget requests for the Catskill Interpretive Center, the Environmental Protection Fund and the Catskill Association of Tourism Services. A special thanks to Mountainkeeper citizen activists, Melissa Gould, William Gutmann and Carolin Walton-Brown, who joined us on Awareness Day.

Catskill Park Coalition Website Goes Public – Catskill Mountainkeeper is pleased to announce the launch of the new Catskill Park Coalition website, which you will find at
The Catskill Park Coalition was formed in 2013 by Catskill Mountainkeeper, the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development, and The Natural Resources Defense Council. The coalition has since grown to include more than 25 member groups, all united in the goal of securing funding and resources to preserve the Park’s historic and scenic integrity, while strengthening the recreation-based economy of surrounding communities in the region.

The new website includes news articles that explain the Coalition’s origins and activities, including the first broadscale Catskill Park Awareness Day on February 25, as well as a moving essay on what the Catskill Park means to all of us, whether locals or visitors from across the State and Nation.

CDC Website

We have also included a section titled “Our Catskills,” which at the moment is a static site, but which we are planning to covert to an interactive blog in which anyone and everyone can offer comments, share stories, upload images, call attention to situations in the Park deserving attention and rally us all to action.

We expect to add regular updates to the website, including announcements of future actions where we hope you will join us.

We invite all of you to visit the site – again, – and once we go interactive, to offer your impressions and suggestions.

Please support our work to protect and promote Catskill Park! We rely on your donations, so please give generously using the links below:

Tell President Obama That We Don’t Want Fracking Here, or Anywhere!

rallyPresident Obama is coming to Cooperstown, NY this Thursday, May 22nd, and it’s critical that we show up in force to rally against fracking!

Lately, President Obama has been making headlines stressing the importance of addressing climate change. But his support for fracking completely undermines this message.  Not only does fracking cause widespread water contamination, dangerous air pollution, and terrible health and community impacts, but it is a major contributor to global warming. Tell Obama to ban fracking now!

Fracking bans, like baseball, started in Cooperstown. The Village is located in the Township of Otsego, the first town to ban fracking in New York, and in the Town of Middlefield, one of the first towns to defend its fracking ban in court. The citizens of Cooperstown know fracking would destroy their thriving tourism industry, which has been a viable and sustainable economic force for the small towns and villages of upstate New York for well over a century.

President Obama will be speaking at the Baseball Hall of Fame to promote tourism, but if he truly wants to support tourism in upstate New York, he needs to change his view on fracking.

So join us from near and far to tell President Obama: no fracking way!

WHEN: Thursday, May 22, morning/mid-day – time to be announced as soon as we have it; check our Facebook page for updates

WHERE: Cooperstown, outside of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, 25 Main St., Cooperstown, NY

WHO: Concerned New Yorkers and organizations

CARPOOL: Sign up here to carpool from Binghamton, Ithaca, Syracuse and elsewhere

Bring food, water, weather appropriate clothing and appropriate footwear!

Major Rally to Oppose Fracking at the Democratic Convention

Are you closer to Long Island than to Cooperstown?

Then join Catskill Mountainkeeper and New Yorkers Against Fracking at the New York State Democratic Convention, also this Thursday, May 22nd.  Bring your friends, family and fellow New Yorkers to urge Governor Cuomo to ban fracking.  The voices of his constituents are louder in person!  Show the governor that all eyes are still on him and his response to this important issue.

The majority of New York Democrats and residents are opposed to fracking and are for a Health Impact Assessment. Fracking’s detrimental impact on the environment and people’s health has been documented in other states, but we are still waiting for a comprehensive Health Impact Assessment to fully understand the consequences of the new technology.  Come rally to be sure New York’s future is healthy and frack-free!

WHAT:   Hundreds of New Yorkers rally to oppose fracking

WHERE: Hilton Long Island, 598 Broad Hollow Road, Melville New York

WHEN:  Thursday, May 2210 AM

TRANSPORTATION: Bus from Manhattan, click here

Rockland/Westchester, click here

Hudson Valley, click here

Democrats Introduce Fracking Waste Bills


Credit AP Photo


A trio of Democrats in the New York State Senate are introducing legislation that would ban the use of hydraulic fracturing waste products. The minority conference released four bills that would ban fracking waste from being shipped into the state; ban waste products from being retooled and reused on roads and highways; ban the sale of liquid fracking waste; and prohibit water treatment facilities and landfills from accepting fracked waste products. Manhattan Democrat Liz Krueger sponsored the bill to prohibit the sale of any fracked liquid waste products.  She says toxic materials from other states are being dumped in New York.  “I learned from the scientists and the medical doctors we had testifying yesterday that large quantities of the fracking waste are actually being imported across state lines into our state. Some is poured directly into municipal wastewater systems. Some of it is ending up just dumped on roads. Some of it is actually being sold. And much of it, the scientists and doctors believe, is literally just being dumped into landfills both legally and illegally. The research they were showing on the impact on human health and the toxicity of water contamination truly terrified me.” Adirondack Mountain Club Executive Director Neil Woodworth says the legislation is needed because New York does not have the protocols for treating the waste products from fracking.  “Some of the drill cuttings that basically are created when the horizontal well is drilled contain very, very strong brines. They contain organic hydrocarbons like benzine, toluene, xylene. They contain radioactive substances. And the same thing goes for the water produced when you frack a well. None of this can happen in New York right now. But in Pennsylvania they are looking for ways to dispose of these waste products and they’re trying to do it in New York. And we haven’t even cleared this process to be legal in New York State, let alone qualifying our landfills, our wastewater treatment plants to handle this material.” Catskill Mountainkeeper is an advocacy group that promotes economic development and protection of the Catskill wilderness region. Program Director Wes Gillingham says the bills attempt to address a serious health and environmental concern. He says the fracking industry has been operating for years without the public understanding the impacts of the industrial activity.  “They’ve been getting away with business as usual that’s causing severe impacts to communities. And this is a real health threat. At the Chemung County landfill, for instance, you can see them bulldozing piles of the drill cuttings. So when that dries, then you’ve got wind and you’ve got dust carried to communities right nearby there. What’s their exposure to the radiation? That’s a serious question. Besides stopping this stuff going to the landfills and these public waste treatment facilities, we should also be doing comprehensive study in the places where the stuff has been going and to see whether there’s a serious health threat happening right now.” The legislation introduced Tuesday would also require the state Department of Environmental Conservation to establish regulations for the disposal of waste products. Although legal in neighboring Pennsylvania, fracking in New York remains on hold under a de facto moratorium, with polls showing the public split on the issue.

Fracking Lobby Day in Albany

We Need Your Voice in Albany to Keep Fracking and Its Toxic Waste Products Out of New York State 

albanypitThis Monday, May 12th, join Catskill Mountainkeeper in Albany for the Fracking Lobby Day.  This legislative session there are five fracking bills under review by New York State legislators and we need you to tell your elected representatives that we want them to support bills to keep fracking and fracking waste out of New York State.

Just last week, a hazardous waste bill that would have eliminated the import of fracking waste from out-of-state operations failed to make it out of committee for a full Senate vote by just ONE vote! We can’t let this happen again.  Come and let the Senate know it failed us and it’s time for them to clean up their act on fracking.

Join us in Albany and tell Governor Cuomo, the Senate, and the Assembly that you want a moratorium on fracking and a health impact assessment, so that we will know once and for all the full range of health impacts from fracking.

Click here to register for Fracking Lobby Day

The Capital Building, Albany, NY

 Monday, May 12, 2014, 9:00 am

For a complete schedule of the day’s events and to review the legislative agenda, click here.  You must register by close of business on Friday.


Save the Date: Fracktivists Needed to Greet Governor Cuomo at the Democratic Convention

cuomosOn May 22, Governor Cuomo is attending the Democratic Convention on Long Island– and we must be there in full force demanding a ban on fracking.  This is a very important event for Cuomo – and for New Yorkers fighting to protect our state from fracking.
The governor will describe his vision for New York’s future and will ask for our support.

We must show him that our support hinges on his handling of the fracking issue. Join us

in asking Governor Cuomo for an independent and comprehensive Health Impact Assessment on fracking and its related infrastructure, because the public deserves to know the full impacts of this under-evaluated, inherently dangerous industrial process.

WHEN: Thursday, May 22nd from 10:00am to noon

WHERE: State Democratic Convention, Hilton Long Island/Huntington Hotel

598 Broad Hollow Road, Melville

TRANSPORTATION: Buses from Manhattan, Westchester, and Hudson Valley to be announced soon



Watch Love NY, Don’t Frack It Up – the Callicoon Episode

Love NY, Don’t Frack It Up!

lovenyCatskill Mountainkeeper’s Energy and Climate Program Manager, Betta Broad, and grassroots activist Susan Van Dolsen co-produced a wonderful series of videos that showcase our beloved New York State.  Each episode in the series focuses on a different region of New York and clearly illustrates why our state is better off without fracking.

If you haven’t seen it yet, you should check out the Callicoon episode which features Mountainkeeper Board Member and climate activist, Mark Ruffalo, Mountainkeeper Executive Director, Ramsay Adams, and Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy’s Jill Wiener.


Learn what’s to love about New York and why we shouldn’t frack it up by watching more of these great videos, here:

Breaking News: Oil Explosion in Lynchburg, Virginia Amplifies Urgent Need to Derail Expansion of Oil Trains in New York State

oil trainsThese days, there’s a lot of crude oil from the nation’s heartland running through New York State and if the oil companies have their way, there’s going to be a lot more.

Production from shale fields in the nation’s interior and Canada has dramatically increased.  Since there’s limited capacity for shipping petroleum products by pipeline, energy companies are turning more to rail transportation to ship its crude to coastal refineries, and then export.

As a result, the nation’s oil industry now wants to make Albany, our state’s capital, a major refining and export center.   Help us stop the expansion of crude oil transportation – send a letter to Governor Cuomo today!

Recently, a permit application from a company called Global Industries, LLC, which already processes crude oil at the Port of Albany, was submitted to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to expand its refining capacity substantially. If allowed to expand, this would mean increased oil-by-rail traffic through New York’s major cities and along its important waterways, including the Hudson River.

Here’s the problem: The safety of these oil trains are regulated by antiquated laws and regulations promulgated by both the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) and our state’s DEC.  This means the likelihood of these trains crashing is much higher than it should be.

In fact, after a major oil train derailment in the province of Quebec about 10 miles from the US boarder devastated a small town last year killing 47 people, there’s been a push in both Congress and in our neighbor to the north to better regulate and limit oil train traffic.

Just yesterday, another oil train derailed and exploded in Lynchburg, Virginia, near the James River, which supplies drinking water to the downstream residents of Richmond. This increased rail transport of heavy crude oil presents a dangerous threat to our communities and waterways, in New York and across the nation.  

One environmental advocate has called this issue Governor Cuomo’s “Keystone Moment.” In fact, in response to yesterday’s oil train accident, Governor Cuomo sent a letter to President Obama asking the federal government to overhaul the USDOT safety regulations, starting with taking DOT-111 trains off the rails now.  We applaud this stance and hope the governor will take a similar stance with New York State regulation by opposing the expansion of refining capacity at the Port of Albany.

Please join us in calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration to bolster its review of Global’s plan to expand its crude-oil facilities on the Hudson River.

As New York citizens, we must do everything possible to stop these under-regulated, dangerous oil trains from traversing our rails.  We want the DEC to perform an extensive evaluation of Global Oil’s operations and environmental track record, to impose the most stringent safety requirements and oversight, and to limit the number of these potentially killer trains from traversing our rails.

We can’t afford a spill or an explosion that will devastate our towns, cities, waterways or environment.  Please send a letter today.

Deadline to Comment on the State Energy Plan Extended

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority announced on Friday that the deadline to submit comments to the New York State Energy Plan has been extended to May 31, 2014.

They also released two new supporting documents for public review, the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Potential Study of New York State and the New York State Greenhouse Gas Inventory and Forecast Study.

The draft plan perpetuates the use of climate changing fossil fuels and would meet energy needs by producing or importing massive amounts of natural gas.  We need a plan that supports the immediate transition from a fossil fuel based economy to one based on clean, renewable energy.

If you haven’t yet submitted your comments, click here to comment today. 

Fractivist and Local Hero, Helen Slottje, Awarded Worlds Largest Environmental Prize

Catskill Mountainkeeper congratulates Helen Slottje for winning the Goldman Prize. This recognition brings with it a $175,000 cash award and international acclaim. Her generous legal work, much of which is pro-bono, in New York State has helped over 172 communities enact bans against fracking.  By educating citizens and advancing the concept of “home rule” in New York State, Helen has been a leading force fighting against the gas industry.

If you are interested in enacting a ban or moratorium in your community, visit the Community Fracking Defense Project’s website to learn how we can help:

The New York State Energy Plan should rely on Renewable Energy, Not Fracked Natural Gas 

In January, the Cuomo administration released a draft of its New York State Energy Plan, and the window to submit comments is quickly closing. To submit your comments by the April 30thdeadline, click here today!

What are State Energy Plans?
energy planState energy plans help to guide and build consensus among stakeholders in moving toward a shared goal of meeting future energy needs in a cost-effective and sustainable manner.

Why are State Energy Plans important?
A well-constructed state energy plan provides an assessment of current and future energy supply and demand, examines existing energy policies, and identifies emerging energy challenges and opportunities.  The plan, as well as the process to develop the plan, informs the future direction of state energy policy, programs, and funding allocation.  At least 36 states have active energy plans and 18 states are updating or developing new state energy plans, including New York.

What you should know about New York’s State Energy Plan:

The draft New York State Energy Plan perpetuates the use of climate changing fossil fuels and would meet energy needs by producing or importing massive amounts of fracked natural gas.

  • The plan completely ignores methane emissions in its calculations to reduce carbon emissions 50% by 2030. It is true that burning natural gas emits less carbon than burning other fossil fuels like coal, however that is only a part of the story.  Methane, the primary component of natural gas, is a far more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.  In fact, a recent study by the Nobel Prize winning United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says methane will contribute to global warming 86 times more than carbon dioxide over the next twenty years.  Thus, the methane that leaks during the fracking process from pipelines, compressors, wells and processing units eviscerates any perceived advantage.

  • The plan projects increased natural gas usage, which would require building a massive natural gas infrastructure of new gas-fired power plants, pipelines, compressor stations, and LNG facilities. This infrastructure would contribute to widespread health and environmental impacts in communities across the state.  It would also tie us to climate-changing fossil fuels for decades to come because the initial investment would need to be paid off.   Instead of building a natural gas infrastructure, we should invest in an infrastructure for clean, renewable energy.

  • While the plan outlines major growth in natural gas usage, it has no growth in renewables after 2020.  Rather than building a fracked-gas bridge down the dead end road of fossil fuels, we should support the work that is already happening in New York State to expand renewable energy development. Power generation from wind and solar more than doubled in our state between 1990 and 2012 (surpassing any other energy source). This plan makes no commitments to increase the proportion of our energy produced by renewable sources, despite substantive academic research showing that the technology and capacity to create 100% of New York’s energy from renewables is possible by 2050. All that we are lacking is the political will.

The IPCC reports that nations have so dragged their feet in addressing climate issues that another 15 years of failure to significantly limit carbon emissions will result in the problem being virtually impossible to solve with currently known technologies.

The stakes are incredibly high and the window in which we can do something about climate change is closing. The New York State Energy Plan needs to wean us off polluting fossil fuels and move us to renewables such as solar, wind and geothermal, before it’s too late.

Make your voice heard!  Submit your comments today.

Breaking News! NY-Sun Initiative Extended

The NY Public Service Commission announced earlier today that they are extending the NYSunsuccessful NY-Sun Initiative to install ten times more solar power in New York State by 2023. The Governor’s expansion of the state’s landmark solar program will support thousands of jobs, lower solar costs and increase energy reliability for New Yorkers.

Since its launch in 2012, NY-Sun has resulted in almost 300 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaic capacity installed or under development, more than was installed in the entire decade prior to the program. The NY-Sun extension is expected to:

  • Build 3,000 megawatts (MW) of solar, enough reliable clean electricity to power nearly half a million New York homes.Create 13,000 new solar jobs in New York.
  • Cut climate change emissions by another 2.3 million tons annually, the equivalent of taking almost 450,000 cars off the road
  • Save New Yorker ratepayers billions of dollars by reducing the need to fire up our dirtiest and most expensive fossil power plants.
  • Spur millions of dollars of investment in the state’s growing clean energy economy.

Thank you Governor Cuomo! This is the type of bold action that we’d like to see outlined in the State Energy Plan.

Mountainkeeper moved!

Thanks to your support, Catskill Mountainkeeper has expanded our programming and photo-5staff to better serve the region and New York State.  After working elbow to elbow in our one room office for several years, it was time to move.

Now headquartered on Main Street in Livingston Manor, Mountainkeeper has become a part of the small town community that makes the Catskills unique, rich and beloved.

A special thanks to long-time Mountainkeeper supporter Dan Levinson whose vision and enthusiasm helped us outfit the new office with his custom designed (and built) furniture!

We will soon be joined by The Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce for a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open our new, more spacious office. Stay tuned for the announcement, and in the meantime, come by and pay us a visit. We’d love to see you.

Our new address: 43B Main Street, PO Box 1000, Livingston Manor, NY 12758


Save the Date! An Afternoon Supper at Neversink Farm 

neversinkJoin Catskill Mountainkeeper for an afternoon of live music, guided farm tours, berry picking and a delicious spread prepared by James Beard award-wining chef Patrick Connolly.

Neversink Farm in Claryville, NY
July 19, 2014, 3-6 pm.

Call us today to reserve your Early Bird Tickets. Adults $50, children $20.