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.


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


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:

“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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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. 

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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.”

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RELEASE: The Public Speaks Out Opposing Gibbstown LNG Export on Delaware River

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.


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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.



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PRESS RELEASE--June 5, 2020

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.

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