Watershed Wednesday

It’s #WatershedWednesday, and Mountainkeeper is working with our partners at the Delaware River Frack Ban Coalition to raise awareness about different aspects of the Delaware River Basin Commission’s (DRBC) proposed fracking waste regulations, and what they would mean for life in the Delaware River Basin (DRB) watershed and beyond. 

This week, we’re focusing on how these regulations would permit the import of radioactive frack wastewater into the Delaware River Watershed, and what this harmful practice would mean for communities and the environment. While discharge of frack wastewater is prohibited, these regulations would allow this wastewater to be stored within the Delaware River Watershed. The extreme health risks of these radioactive chemicals have been known since the 1950s, and it is doubtful that nearby communities would have any control or say over what facilities these toxic chemicals are stored in. Evidence shows that the containers and pipes used to store and transport this caustic waste are prone to leaks and spills, and in some cases have been deliberately dumped.

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Help Protect Pollinators

Flower with a butterfly and bee on a background with the words "Pollinators are threatened you can help" and Catskill Mountainkeeper's logo.

The evidence is piling up: neonicotinoid insecticides (neonics) kill pollinators—essential beings like bees, birds, and butterflies, critically important to agriculture and wild ecologies. Neonics are a leading cause of the massive bee die-offs in New York and around the globe that threaten our food security and agricultural economy. But we can fight back by banning needless use of neonics through the Birds and Bees Protection Act (BBPA).

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EPA Approved Use of Toxic “Forever Chemicals” for Fracking

A new report from Physicians For Social Responsibility reveals the shocking fact that energy companies have been using PFA (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) toxic "forever chemicals" to frack and drill natural gas wells with the blessing of EPA, which had signed off on the process a decade ago. This outrageous dereliction of duty by the EPA has left the door wide open for extensive use of these dangerous chemicals, which pose huge threats to human health and the safety of our water supply.

Fracking should be banned everywhere; as we work toward that goal, ensuring that PFA's are not allowed to be used in fracking fluids is the least EPA can do.

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Meet Mountainkeeper's Trail Stewards!

June 15 - 2021 This summer, Mountainkeeper is partnering with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and hitting the trail with two full-time Trail Stewards! Our Stewards are stationed at the Beaverkill Campground Day Use Area, Crystal Lake Wild Forest, and Big Pond from Thursday – Monday all summer long. Working alongside Forest Rangers, they greet visitors, educate folks on Leave No Trace Principles that help protect our wild places, and provide info on Mountainkeeper’s work to protect this spectacular part of the world. Click "Read More" to meet Kate, Lenny, and Noah.

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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.

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Ashokan Update 3.30.21

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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Mud in the Esopus & A Massive Hydro Project

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.

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Roundup Kills Pollinators and Causes Cancer--Tell Home Depot and Lowe's to Get it Off Store Shelves

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.

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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.

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Let's Keep Talking About Food Systems!

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.

With thanks,

Iris Fen Gillingham 
Program Associate
Catskill Mountainkeeper

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