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.
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…
There’s trouble brewing for some of our Catskills reservoir towns and communities! Right now, there are two big threats facing the Ashokan Reservoir, and Mountainkeeper needs your help in fighting back to protect this vital drinking water source as well as the surrounding lands, waters, ecosystems, and communities.Read more
October 6, 2020--In recent years, US beekeepers have seen almost one-third of their hives decline. Bees pollinate 80% of the world's crops, including chocolate, coffee and almonds--without them, our food systems will fail. While there are many overlapping reasons for this ecological crisis, one of them is the overuse of toxic herbicides. In response, Mountainkeeper is mounting a campaign to get the worst of these herbicides off store shelves. Join us today--tell Home Depot and Lowe’s: stop selling glyphosate.
Glyphosate is one of the world’s most commonly used herbicides, and it's the main ingredient in Bayer-Monsanto’s Roundup. While it effectively kills weeds, glyphosate is one of the most deadly things a bee can encounter.
The University of Texas in Austin studied Roundup by taking 2,000 bees from a hive. One group was fed sugar syrup, while the other was given glyphosate. The bees who were fed the herbicide had intense gut infections, and only 12% survived.
Aside from compromising the well-being of pollinators, glyphosate is also a human health hazard. In fact, the World Health Organization named Roundup a carcinogenic back in 2015.
In 2019, Costco stopped selling Roundup because it causes cancer. Demand that Lowe’s and Home Depot take the same action to put human health and ecological conservation first. And please forward this email to a friend--we need all the help we can get standing up to the big box stores.
August 14, 2020 - Join Catskill Mountainkeeper and more than 125 other organizations and say “NO” to a proposed fracked liquified natural gas (LNG) terminal in Gibbstown, NJ that would pose serious environmental, health, and safety risks in the Delaware River Basin and beyond. We’re calling on the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) to reverse its misguided earlier decision to approve this dirty and dangerous terminal, and fulfill its duty to protect the region’s ecologically and economically important resources. DRBC could vote on the facility in an upcoming meeting. Your voice matters now, more than ever.Read more
Many thanks for taking part in Mountainkeeper's recent food system webinars. We hope you enjoyed the conversations and Q & A with our experts panelists, and gained some new insights into the challenges and opportunities in transforming our food systems. We're writing to follow up: would you like to revisit any part of the conversation, or did you miss the second event? You can find the June 29th webinar online here.
Many of you asked how else you can help; here are some links and ideas to keep the momentum going:
- The more people who learn about the issues and opportunities in transforming our food system, the more change we can create. Will you help expand the discussion by forwarding this email to at least one person so they can watch the webinar recording?
- You can learn more about NOFA-NY and join their mailing list to stay up to date on agriculture projects happening across the state.
- Learn more about Gabriela Quintanilla's work and how to be an ally to farmworkers and foodchain workers on the Rural Migrant Ministries website.
- For additional background, here is an article that helps to explain the dairy crisis. Though it was written in 2018, it offers a very helpful expansion on the topics discussed by our panelist Alice Diehl, dairy activist and farmer.
Let’s keep asking questions about how we can create justice, equity, and sustainability in our food system. We appreciate all of your support and hope you will become part of our food system's vital transformation!
And if you can, please make a donation to support Catskill Mountainkeeper's work on farming and food. No gift is ever too small, and every contribution will directly support this important work.
Iris Fen Gillingham
The Covid-19 crisis has changed absolutely everything for all of us. But, as our local communities, New York State, and the nation at large grapple with the implications of this human health and economic crisis, some bedrock truths have not changed: we need clean air, clean water, a stable climate, and justice for all, not only to survive, but to thrive and build a more resilient and sustainable future.
Over the next few weeks, Catskill Mountainkeeper will send a series of emails--entitled Now, More than Ever--exploring how we can work together to fix the broken public and private systems that have failed us and to advance the innovative policies that will drive the kind of systemic change needed to help New York State rebuild smarter and stronger as we recover from the pandemic.
An incredibly important article from The New York Times, “E.P.A., Citing Coronavirus, Drastically Relaxes Rules for Polluters,” shines a light on a huge new threat to our health and the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)--the federal agency tasked with safeguarding our nation’s water and air--is aiding and abetting polluters by allowing them to, “determine for themselves if they are able to meet legal requirements on reporting air and water pollution.” Now it's up to our federal representatives to hold the EPA accountable.Read more
For the last 50 years the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) has required federal agencies to assess the environmental impacts before making decisions that might negatively affect our natural resources. If an agency wants to permit a gas pipeline, build a toxic incinerator, or build a highway through Native American lands, it must notify the public and give the people an opportunity to comment on the proposed action. But President Trump's administration is planning to gut NEPA by exempting entire categories of projects from review and allowing companies to write their own assessments. This puts our air, water, public health, and communities at risk.
Catskill Mountainkeeper has been busy this winter, laying out our advocacy work for 2020 and cooking up fun events for our region. We’ve released our 2020 Action Agenda, outlining our top policy priorities for the year, and we’re working with partners to secure funding for the Catskill Park and Region, planning for a snowshoe fun run and walk on the O&W Rail Trail, and spreading the word about the Climate Action Film Festival. Read on to learn more about each of these actions and events, and thanks so much for all you do to make our region such a great place to work, play, and live.Read more