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.
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.”Read more
New Information Shows that Proposed Delaware River Gibbstown Fracked Gas Export Facility Along Delaware River Would Violate the Clean Water Act
Top Environmental Organizations, Joined by Mark Ruffalo, Sound Alarm of Clean Water Act Violation and PCBs Further Contaminating the Delaware River Days Before NY, NJ, DE, PA Could Vote on the Project
The Natural Resources Defense Council, one of the nation’s leading environmental organizations, sent a letter to the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) this week detailing how the proposed Gibbstown fracked gas export facility is likely violating federal, state and DRBC water quality rules governing toxic PCB pollution of the Delaware River. The Gibbstown location sits atop an old DuPont site, which has historically been one of the top 10 biggest PCB loading point-sources in the Delaware Estuary. NRDC sent the letter to the Governors of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware, which make up the DRBC along with the Army Corps of Engineers.Read more
Mark Ruffalo, Environmental & Health Professionals Organizations Applaud the Governors of New York, New Jersey & Delaware for Halting Construction of Dangerous Fracked Gas Export Terminal in the Delaware River & Taking Time for Further Review
September 10, 2020 -- At today’s meeting of the Delaware River Basin Commission, representatives for the Governors of New York, New Jersey and Delaware voted to halt construction and to undertake further review of a dangerous fracked gas export terminal in Gibbstown, N.J. The facility proposed project, by New Fortress Energy, would be near the base of the Delaware River. The states will review all of the testimony that was submitted in a recent administrative proceeding contesting the original approval for the project in 2019.
Many public health organizations, medical experts, and over 130 environmental organizations have been raising concerns that the project is dangerous to public health and safety as well as the water quality of the river. Pennsylvania abstained from the vote and the federal government’s representative on the Army Corps of Engineers voted against delay.
Citizens have voiced opposition and submitted over 50,000 public comments this week. Prominent actor and advocate Mark Ruffalo, who lives nearby the river and is on the board of both Catskill Mountainkeeper and Americans Against Fracking, has been outspoken and created a petition and video about the dangers of the project.
“Taking the time that is needed to review the potential public safety and environmental risks that this dangerous fracked gas project poses is an important step forward. It has given the 15 million people who rely on safe drinking water from the Delaware River Basin a much needed sigh of relief,” said actor and advocate Mark Ruffalo. “It comes as no surprise that the Trump Administration’s representative on the Army Corps of Engineers voted against halting the project and reviewing the science and public safety risks, but thankfully the governors of NY, NJ, and DE did. Ireland has stopped the import terminal that the gas was slated for and there is no need for this project other than to line the pockets of fracking industry CEOs.”Read more
Governors of Four States Petitioned by 50,000 people to Vote NO Sept. 10
September 9, 2020, Governors’ Offices in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware – Fierce public opposition to the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Export Terminal proposed for Gibbstown, New Jersey on the Delaware River is being expressed today to the Governors of New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, who are expected to vote on the permit tomorrow at a public meeting of the Delaware River Basin Commission.
“It is outrageous that the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) would even consider allowing New Fortress Energy to move forward with this proposal. This export facility would be shipping LNG to Puerto Rico, Mexico and other ports. Meanwhile, all four states in the Delaware River Basin are suing the federal government over the safety of transporting LNG by rail. The Gibbstown export dock is dependent on transporting this climate catastrophe product through Pennsylvania and New Jersey communities. New York's vote should not be a question! Exporting fracked methane at the expense of our planet is in complete contradiction to the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which is New York State law. We live in crazy times, but a "yes" vote on this proposal is just plain insane,” said Wes Gillingham, Associate Director, Catskill Mountainkeeper.
Representatives of organizations working in a coalition opposing the project are delivering flash drives today to each of the Governors at their state offices and to the Army Corps of Engineers who has the fifth vote on the Commission. The flash drive contains many declarations of opposition calling for a NO vote by the DRBC, which would stop the project. Included in the submission: 50,962 petitions, resolutions adopted by local governments along the truck and rail routes where the LNG would be carried to Gibbstown from northcentral Pennsylvania, and several sign-on letters from elected officials, community organizations, environmental groups, scientists and health professionals.
August 20, 2020
Historic Quarries Discovered in the Bluestone Wild Forest Eligible for National Register of Historic Places Listing
Impacts to quarry sites must now be considered in the environmental review for the proposed steel-and-concrete fabrication facilities at 850 Route 28
Town of Kingston, NY-- In an August 7th letter, New York State notified the Town of Kingston’s Planning Board that the Hemlock Bluestone Quarry Archaeological District is now eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, giving the land special consideration during environmental reviews. The District, located in the Bluestone Wild Forest near Onteora Lake and Pickerel pond, includes newly discovered 150-200 year old quarries and connecting wagon roads. The District is adjacent to and extends onto lands at 850 Route 28 in the Town of Kingston, a site proposed for development as an industrial steel-and-concrete fabrication plant.
“These historic quarries and the Waghkonk Wagon Road that served them are our link not only to the bluestone era in the Catskills of the 19th century but also to the Native American peoples who lived in these valleys and created trails as passageways through the mountains,” said Kathy Nolan, Senior Research Director for Catskill Mountainkeeper, “They must be protected,” she continued, “and they can often generate recreational and economic activity for their communities, while highlighting the special features of an area.” Close to 3,000 people have signed Catskill Mountainkeeper’s online petition to protect the Bluestone Wild Forest, Onteora Lake, and Pickerel Pond, prior to the announcement of this new discovery.
Proposed Industrial Plant Could Drain Pickerel Pond and Harm Bluestone Wild Forest--Noise Impact Analysis Flawed and Inadequate
Concrete and steel fabrication plant adjacent to gateway to the Catskill Park puts 150 year old cultural and historic artifacts at risk
Town of Kingston, NY—Today Catskill Mountainkeeper and Woodstock Land Conservancy submitted new information to the Town of Kingston Planning Board outlining potential harmful impacts from a proposed industrial steel and concrete fabrication plant project at 850 Route 28 and calling on the Planning Board to require a full and comprehensive environmental review. The proposed industrial facility is surrounded by the Bluestone Wild Forest, which contains Onteora Lake, Pickerel Pond, and hundreds of miles of multi-use hiking and mountain biking trails.Read more
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
Pollinator Crisis Threatens Food Supplies and Ecosystems: Award-Winning Film Illuminates the Problem and Showcases Solutions
With bird, butterfly, and bee populations declining precipitously, a new award-winning Mountainkeeper short film tells the story of these amazing, important creatures & encourages New York State to protect pollinators
Livingston Manor, NY – One out of every three bites of food we eat exists thanks to bees, butterflies, birds, and other pollinators. These creatures are a critical part of our ecosystem, yet all of these populations are in decline. Without urgent action, our entire food web is at risk. In this time of global pandemic--when people worldwide are focused on tackling the immediate public health crisis and building strong, resilient communities over the long term--the need to maintain food security and ensure pollinator health is even more important. Pollinators are key to our entire food supply and natural ecosystem.
That’s the message of an award-winning eight minute short film--Save The Pollinators--released today by Catskill Mountainkeeper. The film features experts from throughout the Catskill region telling the story of why pollinators are so important to our ecosystem and food web, why their populations are declining, and what individuals and New York State can do to help.Read more
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."Read more