Catskill Mountainkeeper Volume IV

Catskill Mountainkeeper Newsletter


Volume IV Spring 2009

In This Issue
Gas Drilling Forum
The Monitor
Beaverkill Campground
NYRI is Dead

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Our Mission


 By promoting economic revitalization, environmental protection and education, Catskill Mountainkeeper serves as a strong advocate for the protection and enhancement of the Catskill Mountains.  Through a network of concerned citizens, we work to promote sustainable economic growth and the protection of natural resources essential to healthy communities.



4054 St Rt 52
PO Box 381
Youngsville, NY 12791
(845) 482-5400

Click here for fun facts about the Catskills!



As we enter the summer all eyes are on the Catskills.  Over a million visitors are expected to pour into the area for fishing, hiking, boating, camping, swimming, art, entertainment, food, and thoughtful reflection on nature. 

Mountainkeeper is dedicated to protecting the ecological integrity of the Catskills and we are therefore leading the efforts to keep massive off-reservation casinos out and are leading the fight to protect the region from the impacts of natural gas drilling while educating people about the ecology and environmental importance of the region.


I hope you will consider making a $25 donation so we can continue to be a constant advocate for the environment and the issues we strongly believe in.


Best regards,
Ramsay Adams
Executive Director


Getting Your Voice Heard in the Natural Gas Debate
June 23rd Event Focuses on the New York State Regulatory Process

  Drill Pad Spacing

As the search for natural gas in the Catskill region progresses and new regulations are looming, Catskill Mountainkeeper announces the next forum on gas drilling.  The event will be held on June 23rd at the Museum of the Earth in Ithaca, NY.  We are privileged to have Wilma Subra as our keynote speaker for the event. 


As space is limited, we are suggesting people pre-register for this FREE event at 

845-482-5400 or [email protected].


For a comprehensive look at gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale click here. 


The Monitor 



The threat of multiple massive casinos in the Catskills is more imminent than ever before.

There is an aggressive federal push to get the new Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to change the rules that prohibit Native American tribes from building Casinos hundreds of miles away from there reservations, opening Sullivan County to the possibility of at least three off-reservation Atlantic City sized casinos by the Stockbridge-Munsee, the Seneca Cayuga’s and the Mohawks.  Efforts continue at the state level to legalize gambling in the Catskills to allow for casinos and at the local level the Sullivan County Legislature has approved five casinos.  

Casinos are a bad bet for the Catskills and will have a negative impact on the quality of life, the environment and the economy of the region.

There is a strong and growing opposition to the Catskills casinos scheme throughout Sullivan County, the region and the state.  The Albany Times Union, The Village Voice, The New York Post and The New York Times have all voiced strong editorial opinions against casinos in the Catskills.

Even the local paper says it is time to move on:

Read the April 5, 2009  Middletown Times Herald Record editorial: It’s time Sullivan gave up gambling ghost "If Sullivan County wants to celebrate the next 200 years, it can’t waste another minute on casino gambling." 

Help Mountainkeeper Stop The Casinos!  Click here to support our efforts
Gas Drilling
The threat of natural gas drilling in the Catskills is topic A in villages, towns and cities across the area.  Mountainkeeper was a canary in the coal mine and held the first regional forums on the issue back in 2008.  At those forums over a thousand people learned about the issue.  Since that time Mountainkeeper has been moderating the coalition efforts to force the industry and the state to protect the region. 


Our demands that the State revisit the Generic Environmental Impact Statement were successful and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation has since finalized the list of topics it will study to create the new gas drilling rules.  The state expects to finish a draft of new permitting rules early this summer.  On May 15, 2009 Catskill Mountainkeeper along with 19 other organizations requested that Governor Paterson direct the DEC to provide a public comment period of sixty days after the issuance of the Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement.  Click here to read the letter to Governor Paterson. 

We urge you to write your own letter to Governor Paterson,
 Slurry Pit in PA 

EPA Administrator Forecasts Potential Shift on Bush-Era Drilling Loophole
Signaling the potential for an important policy reversal, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson said in a congressional hearing last week that the agency would consider revisiting its controversial position that a popular natural gas drilling technique doesn’t harm groundwater.

A 2004 study conducted by the EPA concluded that hydraulic fracturing, a process that involves pummeling the earth with millions of gallons of water mixed with sand and chemicals to extract natural gas, causes "no threat" to underground drinking water.

The study is often used by the gas industry to rebut concerns over drinking water contamination. It was also the main basis for a provision in a 2005 energy bill that exempts hydraulic fracturing from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The bill says the process is exempt because it doesn’t harm groundwater. Opponents of the exemption are trying to repeal it, and a new study from the EPA would add muscle to their argument.

A ProPublica investigation co-published with BusinessWeek  last November identified serious flaws in the EPA’s 2004 study. They found that the agency negotiated directly with the gas industry before finalizing its conclusions and ignored evidence that the process might indeed contaminate water supplies.

Click here to read the full ProPublica article.


Community Unites to Save the Beaverkill Campground 
Catskill Mountainkeeper applauds the NYS DEC’s decision to partner with Sullivan County to keep the Beaverkill Campground open during these tough budgetary times.

Beaverkill Bridge

Catskill Mountainkeeper organized a campaign to help keep the Beaverkill Campground open including an online petition that received more than 600 signatures in partnership with Friends of the Beaverkill, Roscoe Chamber of Commerce, Livingston Manor Chamber of Commerce and the Sullivan County Visitors Association.  "This is how government should work" said Ramsay Adams, Executive Director of Catskill Mountainkeeper.  "Community leaders organized a campaign; the County and State heard the call and worked hard to find a solution."
Read the May 7th NYS DEC press release here. 

The campground will be open June 26th through the Labor Day weekend.  Click here to make your reservations today.


Route 28 Adopt-a-Highway Program
Catskill Mountainkeeper has adopted two sections of Route 28 in Ulster County to help keep the Catskills clean.  Our next clean-up day is scheduled for September 22nd starting at 10:00am.  If you would like to volunteer, please contact our office at [email protected] for more information.


CMK Route 28 Section 1  Route 28 Section 2


NYRI Power Line Project is Dead
Huge Victory for CARI
 Not Here Not Now

The NYRI proposal generated
massive opposition along the
entire proposed route

New York Regional Interconnect announced this spring it is suspending its efforts to site a power line in New York. It was seeking the okay to run the line from Oneida County to Orange County, but met with much opposition on the local government and community level, including a federal lawsuit by Catskill Mountainkeeper.


Mountainkeeper Featured at Evolver Town Hall:  Beyond Survive – We Thrive!

evolver logo

May 31, 2009 1:30pm – 5:30pm
St. Mark’s Church In-the-Bowery (131 E 10th St)
New York City, NY 10011
Price: $5 w/ RSVP
Recently launched social networking site with a conscience is teaming up with Thrive NY to bring together innovative individuals, groups, and local businesses bent on creating visionary opportunities out of today’s economic and environmental challenges. The likes of Sierra Club NYC, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Green Thumb, and Ann Davlin discuss green jobs, local agriculture, DIY art, alternative currency, and more. Chill out with good food, soak up, the conscious beats of alt-electro goddess Laura Fay Lewis and hip-hop up-and-comers M.G.C.A., and find out what you can do to transform NYC into the ecologically resilient and thriving community we all know it can be.  Visit for more info on this event.


We have done all this with a staff of three and many volunteers.  These are tough economic times but at Catskill Mountainkeeper a little goes a long way.
Consider making a donation to Mountainkeeper today.   



Ramsay Adams                Wes Gillingham                 Beth Scullion
Executive Director           Program Director            Office Manager