Celebrate and Support our Area Agriculture by Attending These Exciting Upcoming Events!

Catskill Mountainkeeper is pleased to support the following agricultural programs and events that are being presented by our partner organizations.  They include workshops for farmers and landowners on evaluating land for agricultural use and increasing land access for farmers, informational sessions for producers on how to better market your products, training for garden educators, and a workshop series on how to get the most out of your organic garden. Please come out to join us in supporting these fun, informative, and important efforts. Land Access Workshop Series for Farmers and Landowners Wednesday, March 21 from 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
 eCenter, 5-1/2 Main Street, Delhi Thursday, March 22 from 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM Duggan Community Center, 3460 State Route 55, White Lake Landowners and farmers are invited to the Catskills FarmLink Introduction to Evaluating Land for Agricultural Use & the Basics of Land Leasing workshops being held in Delaware and Sullivan Counties on March 21 and 22. Catskills FarmLink is an online land access resource, connecting farmers looking for land with property owners interested in maintaining a viable working landscape.  The workshop addresses two commonly asked questions: 1.) How do I evaluate my land for agricultural use, and 2.) How do I develop a land lease? A presentation by Dale Dewing, field crop educator and Watershed extension team leader with Cornell Cooperative Extension, will focus on how to evaluate land for agricultural use.  In a panel discussion of landowners and farmers on lease agreements and food and farm law expert, Jason Foscolo, will provide guidance and examples of personal experience with land leases. Additional workshop details are available on the Catskills FarmLink website. The workshops are free to attendees and RSVP is requested, as space is limited.  To RSVP for the workshop or for a free legal consultation with Jason Foscolo LLC, email info@catskillsfarmlink.org or call Sonia Janiszewski at 914-720-1020.

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MARCH 8, 2012 - WE NEED YOU TO CALL NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY SPEAKER SHELDON SILVER TODAY. HERE IS WHY.

Negative impacts on human health have accompanied gas drilling using hydrofracking wherever it has been done. Despite that, the permit conditions proposed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to “govern” fracking makes little mention of the health impacts of fracking. That is why Catskill Mountainkeeper and our coalition partners are demanding that the legislature require that an independent comprehensive Health Impact Assessment (HIA) be done prior to any further discussions of shale gas. In October 2011, 250 physicians and medical professionals wrote a letter to Governor Cuomo calling for a comprehensive public health impact assessment. This was sent because the concerns outlined in a previous letter sent to The department of health and the Governor were clearly ignored in the draft Supplemental generic environmental Impact statement (SGEIS) . A health impact assessment, which is defined by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, "INCLUDES MANY TOOLS THAT HELP ENSURE THE VALIDITY OF THE FINDINGS AND HAVE MULTIPLE PLACES FOR PUBLIC INPUT TO THE DOCUMENT." This will tell New Yorkers what the “true” costs of gas drilling are. Certainly the risk to the human and animal health in New York State justifies that such a health Impact assessment be done. On Tuesday our allies in the Assembly worked to have this attached to the budget as a resolution. Now the industry is pushing hard to have it removed. The Cuomo administration keeps calling for science not emotion. This is the science. Call Assemblyman Sheldon Silver today! Thank him and ask him to continue the fight to keep a Health Impact Assessment in the Budget. It is very important that he hears from you now. New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver Contact Information: District Office 212-312-1420 Albany Office 518-455-3791
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A Major Victory - Court Upholds Towns Right to Ban Fracking

As reported in the New York Times a New York State Judge has ruled that the upstate town of Dryden in Tompkins County can ban natural gas drilling within it's boundaries.  Passed last year to clarify that Dryden's zoning prohibits the exploration for and production or storage of natural gas and petroleum, the home rule effort landed the Town of Dryden and the Town of Dryden Planning Board in a law suit brought by Denver-based Anschutz Exploration Corporation, which owns leases on more than 22,000 acres in the town and has invested $5.1 million in drilling operations there.  Anschutz argued that the zoning amendments amounted to an attempt by the Town of Dryden to regulate the gas industry, but the Court found that New York state’s oil and gas law does not restrict municipalities from changing their own zoning laws to halt natural gas activities. While Anschutz may pursue appeals and other legal maneuvers to try to reassert its claims, the ruling is a decisive victory for opponents of fracking and advocates of home rule approaches to prevent fracking and related activities by concerned communities. “The town of Dryden has proven in court that citizens -- and not multinational energy companies -- control the future of their towns,” said Wes Gillingham of Catskill Mountainkeeper. Under the leadership of Helen and David Slottje,  Earthjustice and Dryden Resources Awareness Coalition, environmental groups including Catskill Mountainkeeper came to the defense of Dryden and another NY town, Middlefield, when their newly enacted bans on gas drilling activities were challenged at the end of last year. Catskill Mountainkeeper and others have also been pursuing legislative efforts to strengthen the rights of communities to exclude gas drilling through zoning amendments, aquifer protection laws and other home rule activities. This week’s ruling validates New York’s existing home rule law and makes a strong statement endorsing the community efforts already underway across most of New York to enact laws to protect people, animals, farmlands, and existing ways of life from unwanted industrial activities such as gas drilling. According to the New York Times: "Justice Phillip R. Rumsey of State Supreme Court said that state law does not preclude a municipality from using its power to regulate land use to ban oil and natural gas production. The ruling is the first in New York to affirm local powers in the controversy over drilling in the Marcellus Shale, a gas deposit under a large area of New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio."

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The Power of Activism

The exceptional work we have done together, what lies ahead and what you can do

Prior to pursuing their hydraulic fracturing agenda in New York State, the gas industry virtually walked into 32 states and set-up shop with minimal if any opposition. And the results as we know have been devastating for public health, the environment and for the social fabric of communities. But when the gas industry “Goliath” got to New York, they found a small but strong band of “Davids” who stood up and told them “NOT SO FAST”.  Since then our numbers have grown exponentially and together we have waged an unprecedented 4-year campaign to expose the dangerous consequences of gas drilling using hydraulic fracturing. Most importantly we have won some major battles, slowed the process and raised the consciousness of a large part of the state’s citizenry. Significant among our joint achievements was getting then Governor Paterson in 2009 to withdraw the immensely flawed first draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (dSGEIS). 

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Join Catskill Mountainkeeper in Albany on January 23, 2012

The public hearing period run by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to get input for their revisions to the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Study (SGEIS) on fracking is almost complete. The next step in the battle to prevent unsafe and unhealthy fracking in New York is to impact the legislative agenda.  Overwhelming momentum was generated from the SGEIS hearings as so many of you came forward to testify with great emotion, logic, facts and conviction about the threats of fracking.  Crowds had to be turned away because the hearing rooms were packed. The result was increased positive media coverage, a re-commitment to action by those of us who are convinced of the dangers of fracking and an important opportunity to impact the undecided.  Read the full alert...  
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