EPA Fails to Protect Public Health & Enforce Environmental Laws—Catskill Mountainkeeper Joins Lawsuit to Hold Agency Accountable

NRDC represents Mountainkeeper and other organizations from across the US calling on EPA to issue emergency rule

Livingston Manor, NY - Today Catskill Mountainkeeper joined the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and other grassroots groups from across the country in suing the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

On March 26, 2020 the EPA announced a new policy  allowing polluters like power plants and factories to determine for themselves whether or not they can comply with monitoring and reporting requirements and that the agency may or may not enforce failure to comply with permit requirements.

These monitoring and reporting requirements are critically important to protecting communities already burdened by pollution--monitoring and reporting are the way communities know if they're being exposed to additional toxins, and its often the monitoring and reporting that signals a problem in facility operations, before it becomes a crisis. Requiring monitoring and reporting and enforcing permits are some of the most basic and important ways the EPA enacts its mission to "protect public health and the environment."

In response, Catskill Mountainkeeper joined a petition filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) on April 1 calling on the agency to issue an emergency regulation amending its March 26 non-enforcement policy. Under federal law, EPA had one week to respond. The agency ignored the petition, and today the groups sued.

"Catskill Mountainkeeper has one ask of the EPA: do your job. The EPA was established to protect our communities and environment, but it is shirking its responsibility,” said Wes Gillingham, Associate Director of Catskill Mountainkeeper. “As our country struggles with a pandemic—one that is proven to be exacerbated by toxic air pollution—the EPA is allowing power plants, compressor stations, mines, well pads, and chemical plants to spew toxic pollution into our air and water without even the basic requirement that they report their emissions. The policies coming out of the EPA under this administration are downright dangerous, and now we have to force the agency to do its job.” 

The NRDC and partners’ lawsuit is here: https://www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/complaint-epa-non-enforcement-20200416.pdf

The NRDC and partners’ petition is here: https://www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/petition-emergency-rulemaking-20200401.pdf

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Advocates & Mark Ruffalo Praise Fracking Ban in NYS Budget as Momentous Achievement

Groups praise Governor Cuomo and the NYS Legislature for making the state’s ban on fracking permanent law as part of the 2020 NYS Budget

Albany - Environmental and public health organizations applauded Governor Cuomo and the NYS Legislature for permanently banning hydraulic fracturing as part of the 2020 NYS Budget. This year, the Governor and both houses of the legislature prioritized the fracking ban: Senator Jen Metzger and Assemblyman Steve Englebright introduced legislation to permanently ban hydraulic and gelled propane fracking, and Governor Cuomo included the hydraulic fracturing ban as part of his executive budget. The final budget addresses both forms of fracking by enshrining the state’s hydraulic fracturing ban into permanent law, and kicking off a process to ultimately ban the dangerous practice of gelled propane fracking. 

"The science on the dangers of high-volume hydraulic fracturing is clear and non-controversial, and agreement to institute a permanent statutory ban is a big victory for public health and the environment," said Senator Jen Metzger. "The bill I introduced in December would have also banned fracking with gelled propane, and while the budget language doesn't quite get us there, it puts us on the right path and would effectively head off any industry stampede for permits to use this destructive process."

Actor and advocate Mark Ruffalo said, “While Trump is rolling back environmental regulations, Governor Cuomo, Senator Jen Metzger and the New York State legislature are protecting our water, air, land and public health by enshrining the fracking ban into state law. Thank you to our elected leaders and all the New Yorkers and the Onondaga Nation and Native people who dedicated their time and energy to organizing the anti-fracking movement.”

Sandra Steingraber, PhD, a biologist, author, and co-founder of Concerned Health Professionals of NY, said, "Never has the importance of listening to science been clearer. New York State's ban on fracking follows overwhelming scientific evidence that drilling and fracking are disastrous for the environment, climate change, and public health. Thanks to Governor Cuomo and the New York State legislature for enshrining the ban on hydraulic fracturing into permanent law and moving toward a ban on the equally dangerous practice of gelled propane fracking. This is a truly momentous achievement."

"With this budget, New York State leads the world in stopping the environmentally destructive practice of hydraulic fracturing," said Ramsay Adams, Catskill Mountainkeeper's Executive Director."The historic ban is included today thanks to Governor Cuomo, the State Legislature, and all of the grassroots activists that have worked tirelessly over the years to bring this to fruition."

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Environmental Organizations & Advocates Praise Governor Cuomo for Permanent Fracking Ban in NYS 2020 Budget

January 20, 2020 -- 

Albany - Governor Cuomo announced the introduction of a bill to permanently ban fracking as part of his New York State 2020 Budget. Advocates and environmental organizations across the state applauded the Governor’s leadership on this important bill to permanently protect the public health and environment of New Yorkers for generations to come. 

In 2015, Governor Cuomo’s administration, including the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and NYS Department of Health, announced the completion of the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS) process and a public health review that found high-volume hydraulic fracking was a danger to public health and the environment and therefore it would be not permited in New York State. Since that time, more than a thousand additional peer-reviewed scientific studies have been published that overwhelmingly confirming the serious public health and environmental risks and harms of fracking. Governor Cuomo’s announcement today was welcomed and applauded. 

Actor and long-time anti-fracking advocate Mark Ruffalo, "Today Governor Cuomo showed our state and the nation once again what real climate leadership looks like by announcing a legislative fracking ban as part of NYS 2020 Budget. By listening to the science, he is on the right side of history in working to ensure that NY's fracking ban becomes the law of the land.”

“Governor Cuomo’s bold announcement to pursue a permanent fracking ban will protect New Yorkers’ health, water, and the communities we cherish, and we call on the New York State Legislature to make the ban law” said Ramsay Adams, Catskill Mountainkeeper’s Executive Director. “Between today’s announcement and the nation-leading Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York is walking away from powering our grid with fossil fuels. In the years since Governor Cuomo implemented the regulatory ban on fracking in New York, the science has become indisputable: fracking isn’t safe.”

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Catskill Mountainkeeper's Response to Governor Cuomo's 2020 State of the State

January 8, 2020 - In the 2020 State of the State address, Governor Cuomo announced plans for a $3 billion bond act. Catskill Mountainkeeper issued the following statement in response, attributable to Ramsay Adams, Executive Director.

 

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Outdoor Recreation on Catskill Lands Brings 2.7 Million People, Thousands of Jobs, and $170 million annually, Economic Study Confirms

As the Catskills Grow Into a Premier Destination, Outdoor Recreation on Protected Lands Supports the Region

Kingston, NY--Open space recreational lands in the Catskills are worth millions of dollars annually to the local economy, an update to an earlier study confirms. Research concluded that recreational opportunities on publicly owned lands in the Catskill Park and the Catskill-Delaware Watershed, plus private lands open to the public, draw over 2.7 million visitors annually. These visitors spend an estimated $170,031,580, while creating an additional economic impact of $123,889,686 and supporting 1,882 jobs. The full report is online at catskillmountainkeeper.org/reports.

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Environmental Groups Urge Governor Cuomo to Sign Green Bills

December 10, 2019--

Environmental Groups Urge Governor Cuomo to Sign Green Bills

Albany—Today a group of leading environmental organizations gathered in support of various legislation that has not yet been signed into law. This year, the New York State Senate and Assembly passed more environmental legislation than has been passed in over a decade. While many bills have been signed into law, Governor Cuomo has just 22 days in which to sign outstanding measures that would lead to cleaner water and air, and a less toxic environment

Catskill Mountainkeeper

“New York passed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) and Governor Cuomo embraced the law when he signed it this summer," said Wes Gillingham, Catskill Mountainkeeper's Associate Director. “Now it's time for the Governor to sign the CLCPA's companion bill into law and make the most ambitious climate act in the country the law of the land.”

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TravelStorys Give Visitors and Locals a New Interactive Way to Experience the Catskills

TravelStorys App provides free GPS guided tours that share the stories of the Catskills

LIVINGSTON MANOR and ARKVILLE, NY – The stories of the citizens and settlers of the Catskills illustrate the uniqueness of the region, and today Catskill Mountainkeeper and the Catskill Center release new TravelStorys audio tours that allow listeners to hear the stories of the Catskills as they travel at the pace of their own curiosity.

The Gateway to the Catskills: Livingston Manor, Roscoe and more! and Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway audio tours are both available through the free TravelStorys app (available for download on smartphones). TravelStorys bringsthe little-known stories about the land to life, and by using GPS technology, stories on the tours automatically play as listeners pass through each site.

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New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Orders Saugerties Illegal Dumping Site Shutdown

SAUGERTIES, NY – On July 1 and July 2, 2019 the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) issued two Notices of Violation ordering the owners of three illegal dump sites in Saugerties, NY to shut down operations and begin removing all the waste on the sites. According to the notice, the dumping sites violated state clean water and solid waste laws and regulations 39 times, putting neighbors and waterways at risk.

In response, Catskill Mountainkeeper issued the following statement:

According to the Notices of Violation, Joseph and Rachel Karolys must shut down their illegal dumping sites and safely dispose of the waste they’ve been accepting for years. This is a huge victory for the neighbors who have been fighting to protect their community and local waterways from the dumps and we look forward to seeing the waste moved to a location where it can be properly managed.

Catskill Mountainkeeper is grateful for the Department of Environmental Conservation’s strong response, sending a clear message that New York will not stand for this type of criminal activity. We also applaud the Town of Saugerties for their swift and steady action throughout this effort and all the elected officials who spoke up on neighbors’ behalf. Mountainkeeper calls on the State Supreme Court to expedite its pending review of this situation.

This is a huge victory and proof that by working together we can protect our Catskills communities.

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GlidePath Proposes Battery Storage Only Alternative to Lincoln Park Project

February 1, 2019

Catskill Mountainkeeper Applauds Local Community and Regional Leaders 

on Demanding Path Toward Renewable Energy Project

Town of Ulster, NY -- After more than a year of environmental review and staunch public opposition, GlidePath has significantly revised its controversial proposal for battery storage and a natural gas “peaker” plant (gas-powered intermittent energy generator) at Lincoln Park in the Town of Ulster, near Kingston in Ulster County.

 

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MEDIA STATEMENT: Plastic Bag Ban Commitment Nearly Perfect, Bottle Bill Expansion Spot-On

Catskill Mountainkeeper Supports Governor Cuomo’s Call for a Ban on Single Use Plastic Bags, Calls for Fees on Other Single Use Bags

LIVINGSTON MANOR, NY – Sunday afternoon, Governor Cuomo announced his commitment to a ban on single use plastic bags in the executive budget as well as a pledge to expand the state’s bottle deposit laws.

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