Aidan Quinn and Melissa Leo Invite you to Barnfest 2013






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barnfest is free with registration 

Saturday, June 22, 2013
12 pm – 5 pm
ANDY LEE FIELD on Rock City Road
Woodstock, NY
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Picture 11As always, Barnfest is free with registration. Click here to register now!


Trailkeeper Network launches Website

Catskill Mountainkeeper’s Trailkeeper Network, in partnership with the Delaware Highlands Conservancy and Sullivan County Division of Planning & Environmental Management, the Sullivan County Visitors Association and Morgan Outdoors, are pleased to announce the launch of®.® is a one-source outlet for hiking trails and public lands in Sullivan County, NY with easy-to-read, easy-to-access maps and facilities information and guides to hiking safety.

From serious hikers to beginners testing their hiking legs for the first time, from moms with babies in backpacks to senior citizens to seasoned hikers looking for a challenge,® provides access to trail information that matches hiker to trail.® gives hikers the information they need about locations, routes, and facilities to make hiking safer, more accessible, and more fun.® is a unique partnership that brings together a diverse group of local organizations, businesses, and agencies to promote and celebrate the beauty and character of Sullivan County,” explains Emily Deans, Agricultural Coordinator at Catskill Mountainkeeper. “We are excited to launch this comprehensive, easy to use website.® is a great resource that will encourage and inspire residents and visitors alike to get out and explore this special part of the Catskills.”® connects residents and visitors to information about the shops, lodgings, and other local businesses of Sullivan County and provides news about upcoming events, activities, and attractions in the region. ® promotes and supports the complete Sullivan County experience. When people go out to hike, they stop for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, they shop at local outdoor stores and stop by other local businesses, and if they’re from out of town, they may stay overnight. ® inspires people to get outside and connect with the hiking trails of Sullivan County,” states Melinda Meddaugh, Land Protection Coordinator for the Delaware Highlands Conservancy. “To borrow a phrase from the TrailKeeper®  website, ‘look where we live!’ We have incredibly healthy lands and beautiful clean waters that people can see, enjoy, and experience when they’re out hiking these trails.® makes it easy to experience the lands, communities, and local businesses that make Sullivan County so special.” is the result of a partnership between the Delaware Highlands Conservancy, Catskill Mountainkeeper, the Sullivan County Division of Planning and Environmental Management, the Sullivan County Visitors Association, and Morgan Outdoors, with support from the Upper Delaware Council, Sullivan Renaissance, the New York New Jersey Trail Conference, the National Park Service, Sullivan County Community College Hiking Class, and many volunteers.

For more information on®, email [email protected]

or contact Emily Deans, Catskill Mountainkeeper at 845-482-5400 or Melinda Meddaugh, the Delaware Highlands Conservancy at 845-583-1010.

The Answer is Not Fracking or Coal. It’s Neither.

Huffington Post, December 7, 2012
J. Mijin Cha

A few months ago, Joseph Martens, the Commissioner of New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation, rejected calls for an independent analysis of the health impacts from fracking. Martens’ solution was to ask the state’s Health Commissioner to appoint independent experts to do the review. Leaving alone the illogic of rejecting an independent commission only to ask another agency to appoint a commission, there is cause for concern on what the commission will recommend. The Wall Street Journal quotes Lynn Goldman, one of the health experts, as saying, “A decision not to frack is a decision to use more coal.” Not only is this assertion completely wrong, this type of thinking is dangerous to communities.

Goldman posits a false choice. Continuing the moratorium against fracking in New York State does not mean that New York’s only option is to use more coal. In fact, the state currently produces more electricity from renewable energy than it does from coal. Eleven percent of the state’s electricity comes from renewables and by 2020, that share could increase to close to 40 percent. There is no reason why the state couldn’t double down on expanding renewable energy production, rather than allow fracking or increase coal use.  Read more….

Dec 04, 2012 – Fracking Update: Cuomo Administration Short Changes Health Review

Let the Science make the Decision on Fracking

Governor Cuomo has promised that the decision on whether fracking would go forward in New York State would be guided by science, but recent actions by his admininistration are contrary to that goal.  The New York State Department of Conservation (DEC) has now put in motion a process for the health review of fracking that does not give the medical experts the Governor appointed the time to do a thorough review and is not open to public comment.

The DEC has not given the medical experts that were appointed time to do a thorough review of the health impacts of fracking and has limited public comment.

For a quick overview of how we got to this point click here: Peter Mantius: Doctorsfracking concerns being ignored Corning Leader ‎- December 2, 2012

It appears as if the medical experts hired to review the health impact of fracking in New York State are being given just days each to review what the Department of Health (DOH) has already written. One of the experts, Lynn Goldman, made statements to the press that she had a December 3rd, 2012 deadline to complete her work even though she had signed a contract only 10 days prior and at that time had not yet seen the health review. We have learned that the state signed contracts with each medical expert that limits their work to 25 hours each.

The actions of the medical experts will not be a comprehensive independent health impact assessment that New Yorkers have been asking for.  In fact based on the amount of time they’re being given, they will hardly have time to read the data on the health impacts of fracking that has already been written. Catskill Mountainkeeper and our partners have been advocating for a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) since 2008.  Our requests for a comprehensive and rigorous independent HIA that distinguishes itself from other kinds of public health investigations by using quantitative, qualitative and participatory techniques have been ignored.

  • The health review process now has NO public input of any kind, which is totally unacceptable.
  • The comment period on the fracking regulations is a mere 30 days, and the timing over
    the holidays seems designed to stifle public comment.
  • The effort to push forward the fracking decision is anything but the open, transparent,
    comprehensive process that is needed.

Please do these three things to protect New Yorkers:

Write to Governor Cuomo now using our easy email form.

Call Governor Cuomo

NYC Office (212) 681-4580

Albany Office (518) 474-8390
And very importantly, make comments on the problems with the fracking regulations as we report them to you in the next few weeks. It is critical that as many New Yorkers as possible weigh in on what is wrong with the proposed fracking regulations. On November 29th, the Governor authorized the DEC to file a 90-day extension to its initial November 29th deadline for releasing proposed regulations for fracking, paving the way for fracking to begin by spring. A 30-day comment period is in place that would start on December 12th and go through the holidays – which seems to be designed to limit public comment.

Fracking Update: Where Are We In Our Fight to Stop Fracking in New York?


Industry groups angered by NY fracking delay

With deadline next week, groups object to length of process, health review experts

In an update sent to its members Monday, Catskill Mountainkeeper called the three academics “highly qualified medical experts.” But the group, which has called for a ban on fracking, called on the Cuomo administration to bring more transparency to the process and reveal exactly what the experts will be reviewing.“Although the caliber of the experts that have been selected for this task is very high, there are still major problems with this process,” the group wrote.  READ THE ENTIRE STORY HERE

NYS Health Commissioner Nirav Shah names three outside experts to health panel

State’s Review of the Health Impact of Fracking Moving Forward

New York State Health Commissioner Nirav Shah has named three highly qualified medical experts to assist him in the state’s internal review of the health impacts of hydraulic fracturing.  They are John Adgate, chairman of the Environmental and Occupational Health Department at the Colorado School of Public Health; Lynn Goldman, dean of George Washington University’s School of Public Health and Health Services; and Richard Jackson, chairman of the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.

This follows Governor Cuomo’s announcement in October that he was asking for further review of the information that the State has prepared on the health impact of fracking. Although the caliber of the experts that have been selected for this task is very high, there are still major problems with this process.

  • These experts will only be looking at the documentation that has been previously been prepared by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
  • No one outside of the government has seen the information that these experts will be reviewing.
  • There is no transparency – the medical community and the public are being left out of the process.
  • It is unclear whether these three experts will have the independence and autonomy they need and deserve to do the job right.

As we said when this was announced, we agree that a review of the health impacts of fracking is critical but the process that is being implemented is very inadequate to protect the public health.  The only type of health review that would be sufficient is a comprehensive and rigorous independent Health Impact Assessment (HIA), which distinguishes itself from other kinds of public health investigations by using quantitative, qualitative and participatory techniques.

A deadline is looming on November 29th – the date when the state is supposed to have completed its process and issued final regulations on fracking. This date now appears to be virtually impossible for the DEC to meet, which would open the process to additional public input.  Catskill Mountainkeeper will keep you informed about what develops and continue to pressure the Governor to order an independent HIA. Please click the link below to send Governor Cuomo an email.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Fracking battle a strong national, local election issue

Fracking battle a strong national, local issue

Published: 2:00 AM – 11/04/12

Who knew?

Top Photo

Who knew more than five years ago that fracking for natural gas would become such a hot-button national issue that politicians from President Barack Obama to Republican challenger Mitt Romney and virtually every local candidate for Congress would have to take a stand?

After all, back then, fracking — the horizontal natural gas extraction method of hydraulic fracturing — was only a hot topic in places like Sullivan County that sit on the gas-rich Marcellus shale.

But listen to what local folks on both sides of the battle over fracking have to say about it now:

“The largest environmental issue in the country in decades,” says Ramsay Adams, executive director of Catskill Mountainkeeper, who says drilling for the fossil fuel is not only partly responsible for climate change, but also at the center of the debate over the future of the country’s energy policy.   READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE


IT’S ABOUT FRACKING TIME-Hurricane Sandy Abruptly Puts Climate Change on the Election Agenda

If some ‘good’ is to come out of the destruction and devastation of Hurricane Sandy, it is that it will hopefully put the subject of climate change front and center in the national dialogue. This story by Ecowatch summarizes the issue.

By Tom Mitchell

Last week, both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney stressed their commitment to developing oil and gas to improve energy security. Climate change was not mentioned. This position is senseless. The U.S. Midwest has just experienced the worst drought in 60 years, one which has seen economic growth depressed by 0.4 percent GDP as a result and higher food prices resulting from a 13 percent drop in corn production. As the East Coast slowly emerges from the deluge and debris of the past 24 hours, the job of counting the cost has only just begun.

The evidence suggests the U.S. public has already woken up to the need for a change—70 percent now believe the climate is changing and a greater percentage than before want a switch to clean energy. Ignoring numbers like that may be rather more difficult now for both campaigns.

Scientists recently concluded that the drought was made 20 times more likely by climate change and it seems the U.S. public agree. So the message for the politicians is as clear as it can be—more oil and gas equals more extreme weather and other climate change impacts, all of which equal greater economic losses.    Full Story

Read why Nicholas D. Kristof said 10/31/12 in the New York Times why San offers a window into the way ahead.


Watch the New TV Ad By Mountainkeeper and our Partners New Yorkers Against Fracking

New Yorkers Against Fracking Launches New Round of TV Ads in Southern Tier

As scientists and physicians continue outlining the disastrous health impacts of fracking, New Yorkers Against Fracking today began a new effort to outline the negative economic impacts of fracking. In a new television Anti Fracking Ad that will air starting Wednesday in the Binghamton and Elmira markets, Pennsylvania residents detail lies the gas industry told and the devastating impacts on property values that came along with fracking.  Watch the Ad Here or visit Youtube:

Oct 23, 2012 – Action Alert: Pipelines and Compressor Stations – We Need Your Help!


There is a very important eventshappening this week related to the proposed development of natural gas infrastructure needed to exploit the Marcellus and Utica shale formations in the Catskills and WE NEED YOUR HELP!

On Friday there is a rally to stop the construction of a Millennium Pipeline compressor station in the residential community of Minisink.  Residents just south of the Catskills in the Orange County town have been fighting hard to stop the construction of the natural gas compressor station because it will cause pollution, destroy property values and heavily impact roads and other town infrastructure.  In a contentious hearing FERC approved the construction of the station in a 3-2 vote last month.  According to CBS News Minisink residents bussed themselves to Washington, D.C. last week and demanded a second hearing from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.  “Families are going to be destroyed over this,” said Minisik resident Carolyn Petschler.  Petschler said a residential area is no place for a natural gas compressor station. “There’s approximately over 200 families that are within the half-mile, the closest being 650 feet away,” she said.  This is yet another example of what the gas industry does to communities.

Congresswoman Nan Hayworth is coming to meet the residents of Minisink and speak with families about the impacts of this project. Please come rally and say NO to the Minisink Compressor Station. Minisink needs your help! The press will also be attending and we need a large crowd. Bring your signs and help us take a stand!

Mountainkeeper stands with the residents of Minisink and urges our members to join in the rally on Friday, October 26th, at 3pm at the site of the proposed development,  90 Jacobs Road, Westtown, New York. For more information, visit