Catskill and Adirondack groups applaud state budget funding for state land stewardship 

April 12, 2022  Albany, NY  Catskill and Adirondack conservation and recreation groups applaud the New York State legislature and Governor Hochul for passing an ambitious budget that prioritizes land stewardship and environmental protection. The final budget includes nearly $50 million for State Land Stewardship within an historic $400 million Environmental Protection Fund. 

Within State Land Stewardship, the final budget includes $8 million in funding dedicated specifically for Adirondack and Catskill “visitor safety and wilderness protection activities to address issues relating to overuse.”  

"Governor Hochul, the Senate, and the Assembly deserve all the credit they've received for investing in the Catskills and Adirondack Parks in this year's budget and putting a $4.2 billion bond act before voters. These investments are always needed, but the COVID 19 pandemic shifted people outside, intensifying the impact on our public lands. Funding will improve trail safety and maintenance, in addition to supporting public education and outreach to help visitors enjoy the parks while preserving the Catskills' and Adirondacks' splendor," said Katherine Nadeau, Catskill Mountainkeeper's deputy director.

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Mountainkeeper Joins Binghamton Residents to Promote Climate Plan Based on Jobs, Justice, and Energy Security

Assemblymember Lupardo, environmental justice advocates, and community residents spoke to media in advance of public hearing on the Climate Action Council’s Draft Scoping Plan

"In New York, we're lucky--we're up against a climate emergency, but we're not stuck sitting around waiting for solutions," said Wes Gillingham, Catskill Mountainkeeper's Associate Director. "The Climate Action Council's final plan must focus on solutions we can implement now, identify how to pay for the transition New Yorkers need and deserve, and prioritize justice for all New Yorkers. We have the law and the process to transition away from fossil fuels that are destroying our planet, health, and lives. Today, the focus is on how to make this transition a reality."

Click 'read more' for the full release from April 12, 2022's press conference at the Climate Action Council's public hearing.

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Mountainkeeper Sues to Stop Development at 850 Route 28 in Town of Kingston

Activities at the site contaminated water bodies and wetlands on site at the eastern gateway to the Catskill Park 

March 28, 2022 Town of Kingston, NY—A resident of the Town of Kingston and two nonprofit organizations whose staff and members regularly use the Bluestone Wild Forest today filed an Article 78 action against the Town of Kingston’s Zoning Board of Appeals, Robert Cologero, in his role as Code Enforcement Officer, 850 Route 28 LLC, U.S. Crane and Rigging LLC, and Thomas Auringer for construction activities and illegal storage of cranes, rigging, vehicles, and industrial equipment at 850 Route 28.

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A Big Step Forward for Esopus Creek Protections

Department of Environmental Conservation Requiring Additional Analysis Around Alternatives to Ashokan Reservoir Releases, their Drinking Water Impacts, and How Climate Change Will Affect Releases

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) announced today that it is sending the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP) back to the drawing board for further analyze the adverse environmental and human impacts of muddy releases from the Ashokan Reservoir.

“Requiring further analysis is absolutely the right move,” said Kathy Nolan, Catskill Mountainkeeper’s Senior Research Director. “We need the strongest plan possible to address releases from the Ashokan Reservoir; one that explores all available options to prevent muddy water from harming streams and rivers, one that protects drinking water supplies, and one that mitigates challenges that the climate crisis is imposing on communities and waterways.”

Click "Read More" for Mountainkeeper's full release.

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Mountainkeeper Applauds Regulations to Protect New York from Bee-Killing Insecticides

New York State still needs Birds and Bees Protection Act to protect state’s water, land, and people from neonicotinoids’ toxic harms

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC)’s announcement that it will limit the unrestricted use of pesticides that harm bee and other pollinator populations is very welcome: neonicotinoids kill New York’s pollinators, including birds, bees, and butterflies, and they threaten our food, food production, and public health. The new restrictions eliminate the most common neonicotinoid insecticides from consumer products and non-professional residential uses, yet much more needs to be done. We look forward to working with NYSDEC and the state legislature to pass the Birds and Bees Protection Act to remove neonic-treated seeds from New York, one of the most common pathways for the toxins to enter our food and water.

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The Devil’s in the Details at the DRBC

DRBC Proposes Fracking Regulations that Put River & Communities at Risk

West Trenton, NJ - On October 28, the Delaware River Basin Commission published draft natural gas regulations that lift the current moratorium on imports of fracking wastewater into the basin and exports of water for fracking operations outside of the basin. While the Delaware River Frack Ban Coalition Organizing Committee is still reviewing the draft regulations, our organizations are already concerned with loopholes we have discovered and call on the Commission to close them in order to protect the basin’s water resources and the communities that rely on them. Click "read more" for further analysis and Mountainkeeper's comment.

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BREAKING: Toxic Forever Chemicals Used in Fracking

NY Times uncovers shocking dereliction of duty at the US Environmental Protection Agency

July 12, 2021, Livingston Manor, NY--Hiroko Tabuchi's groundbreaking piece in today’s New York Times sent shock waves through public health and environmental organizations as advocates learned not only that energy companies are using toxic PFAS* “forever” chemicals to frack and drill natural gas wells, but also that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had actually signed off on this process, which poses huge threats to human health and the integrity of our water supply. Click "read more" to see Mountainkeeper's statement.

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Catskills Citizens Send Premium Energy Holdings Packing

Holding company withdraws its flawed proposal to create a pumped storage hydroelectric facility at the Ashokan Reservoir in the face of fierce community opposition

April 13, 2021 - Premium Holdings, a power company from Southern California, proposed to create an enormous underground hydroelectric plant adjacent to the Ashokan Reservoir. Had the project moved forward, the company would dig into valleys in the towns of Olive or Shandaken and dam streams to create reservoirs as part of “pumped storage” for electricity to be generated using associated water transport tunnels. Today, Premium announced that it was withdrawing the proposal for the Ashokan project, but maintained that it would consider submitting a revised proposal for a similar project around the Neversink Reservoir or the Roundout Reservoir.

Mountainkeeper released the following statement, attributable to Kathy Nolan, Catskill Mountainkeeper's Senior Research Director.

Thanks to our wonderful community in the Catskills for speaking up clearly and forcefully to chase away this poorly conceived project! We must seek and advance truly sustainable approaches to our energy needs and realize what is at stake in areas preserved for their importance to water quality, recreation, natural habitats, and other "eco-system benefits." The New York City reservoirs are an important and sensitive engineering and ecological system--while we're thrilled that the sponsors are pulling out of the Ashokan proposal, we remain concerned and engaged around the potential for this type of project to pop up at another reservoir.

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Read & listen to Allison Dunne's story about the victory on WAMC

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Release Date: February 18, 2021

Frack Ban Coalition Expects Historic Vote February 25

ZOOM meeting – The Delaware River Frack Ban Coalition is looking forward to a historic vote at the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) special meeting announced for Thursday Feb. 25, 10:30 a.m. The meeting was publicly noticed yesterday by DRBC as a virtual meeting, with no public comment, for “final action on DRBC’s Proposed Amendments to the Administrative Manual and Special Regulations Regarding Hydraulic Fracturing Activities”. The DRBC voting members are the Governors of the four states that flow to the Delaware – New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware – and a federal representative for Prsesident Biden from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The draft gas regulations were issued for public comment on November 30, 2017. How to join the meeting: https://www.nj.gov/drbc/meetings/meeting_feb252021.html

“For more than a decade we have provided Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) with the scientific evidence of threats to our health, the impacts to the ecology of the river and the region, and the threat of impacting the drinking water for millions of people. During the public comment period at least 40,000 comments to the DRBC were in support of a full ban on fracking and all drilling-related activities, including wastewater treatment and water withdrawals. This better be the moment in history where the agency listens to the people and the science and makes the right choice for the future of the basin,” said Wes Gillingham, Associate Director, Catskill Mountainkeeper.

 

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For Immediate Release:
December 9, 2020

Delaware River Basin Commission Votes to Approve Gibbstown Fracking Terminal

Shameful move comes after tens of thousands speak up in opposition

The Delaware River Basin Commission voted to approve a permit for a highly controversial fracked gas terminal to be built in South Jersey, despite a flood of public comments opposing the dangerous project.

“This is an outrage. There are communities--including environmental justice communities--all along the fracked LNG transport path that will be harmed as a result of today's vote,” said Wes Gillingham, Associate Director at Catskill Mountainkeeper. “Fracking and shipping liquified natural gas around the world contributes to a climate travesty at the exact moment when these states and our nation should be doing all they can to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Delaware River Basin Commissioners have failed the people they represent. They are ignoring climate science, public health experts, and the basic facts of this project. Governor Murphy, Governor Carney, Governor Wolf, as a result of today's vote, you now fit into the category of CLIMATE CHANGE DENIER.”

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