February 24, 2020 - After eight long years of fighting, it looks like the Constitution Pipeline may finally be dead: "Williams — with support from its partners, Duke, Cabot and AltaGas — has halted investment in the proposed Constitution project. While Constitution did receive positive outcomes in recent court proceedings and permit applications, the underlying risk adjusted return for this greenfield pipeline project has diminished in such a way that further development is no longer supported," reported the Daily Star.
Mountainkeeper's own Associate Director Wes Gillingham was quoted in the national outlet E&E News, "We need to move away from fossil fuels and move in a just transition into renewable energy," Gillingham said. "This is a huge victory, and one of the things that I am hopeful about — if this holds and they don't try to put in another proposal — [is] it will be the beginning of the end for natural gas production in this region."
We’re optimistic, and can’t thank our friends at Earthjustice enough for their fabulous legal work, as well as the tireless efforts of dozens of organizations and thousands of Mountainkeeper supporters who have fought long and hard to protect NY from being ravaged by another dirty gas project.
For the last 50 years the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) has required federal agencies to assess the environmental impacts before making decisions that might negatively affect our natural resources. If an agency wants to permit a gas pipeline, build a toxic incinerator, or build a highway through Native American lands, it must notify the public and give the people an opportunity to comment on the proposed action. But President Trump's administration is planning to gut NEPA by exempting entire categories of projects from review and allowing companies to write their own assessments. This puts our air, water, public health, and communities at risk.
Catskill Mountainkeeper has been busy this winter, laying out our advocacy work for 2020 and cooking up fun events for our region. We’ve released our 2020 Action Agenda, outlining our top policy priorities for the year, and we’re working with partners to secure funding for the Catskill Park and Region, planning for a snowshoe fun run and walk on the O&W Rail Trail, and spreading the word about the Climate Action Film Festival. Read on to learn more about each of these actions and events, and thanks so much for all you do to make our region such a great place to work, play, and live.Read more
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.”Read more
January 8, 2020 - In today's 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.
January 2, 2020--In response to a strong public outcry from concerned citizens like you, on January 22, 2020 the Town of Kingston Planning Board will revisit the environmental review of a disastrous proposal to build a huge steel and concrete fabrication plant right next to Onteora Lake and Bluestone Wild Forest. These beautiful wild lands are an important Catskills ecosystem and a wonderful recreational resource, and to protect them fully the planning board should issue a Positive Declaration of significance under the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) and require the applicant to complete a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIS), allowing Mountainkeeper and other concerned parties to require consideration of all environmental impacts.
To demonstrate the important regional significance of Onteora Lake, Pickerel Pond, and the Bluestone Wild Forest, please add your signature to our new petition, calling on the Town of Kingston Planning Board to conduct a full, fair, and thorough review of this proposed project.
TO: Town of Kingston Planning Board and Town of Kingston Town Board
COPY TO: NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
As people who use and cherish the Catskill Park’s mountains, forests, lakes, streams, and wetlands, we call on the Town of Kingston Planning Board to recognize both the local and regional character and the economic benefits of recreational use of Onteora Lake, Pickerel Pond, and the Bluestone Wild Forest and to conduct a thorough and rigorous environmental review of the proposed steel and concrete fabrication plant at 850 Route 28, specifically by issuing a Positive Declaration of significance and requiring a full Environmental Impact Statement.
In August 2019, residents of the Town of Kingston, grassroots advocates, the Woodstock Land Conservancy, Friends of Bluestone Wild Forest, Save Onteora Lake, and Catskill Mountainkeeper succeeded in convincing the Town of Kingston Planning Board to rescind (revoke) an initial misguided Negative Declaration of environmental impact related to a proposed large and highly intrusive steel and concrete fabrication plant on a parcel adjacent to Onteora Lake, Pickerel Pond, the Bluestone Wild Forest, and additional new open space lands purchased by the Open Space Institute.
A previous online petition asking for a renewed and vigorous environmental review garnered 1,787 signatures, and volunteers also gathered more than 100 signatures from residents of the Town of Kingston through house-to-house canvassing and petitions carried at Onteora Lake. Legal counsel for the nonprofit organizations wrote to the Planning Board, advising that they must conduct a thorough and rigorous environmental review of the proposed plant in order to insure that recreational activities within the Catskill Park can continue unharmed, that economic benefits tourists bring to the Town of Kingston are not sacrificed, and that habitat, water quality and air quality in the Bluestone Wild Forest and at Onteora Lake, Pickerel Pond, and nearby trout-spawning streams remain pristine.
We are now mobilizing public opinion to insist that the next stages of the Planning Board’s review are rigorous and to oppose the Town of Kingston’s attempts to rezone the parcel in question toward industrial uses.
This petition and work is supported and spearheaded by the Woodstock Land Conservancy, Friends of Bluestone Wild Forest, Catskill Mountainkeeper, and Save Onteora Lake. We thank you for lending your voice to this important issue.
December 11, 2019--Catskill Mountainkeeper released a new report detailing how open space and recreational lands in the Catskills are worth millions of dollars annually to the local economy. The report concludes 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, visitors spend an estimated $170,031,580, and create an additional economic impact of $123,889,686 while supporting 1,882 jobs.
2019 has been a big year for Catskill Mountainkeeper. From a big victory on climate, to helping shift a polluting peaker plant proposal to a battery storage solution, fighting a proposed steel and concrete fabrication plant, and working to shut down an illegal dumping operation, and moving a bill to protect pollinators, we moved the needle on environmental issues in New York and beyond.
We invite you to a Catskill Mountainkeeper benefit dinner on December 7th featuring a talk on the climate crisis by Robert Thurman, renowned author, academic, and expert on Tibetan Buddhism. The evening, hosted by Sarah Johnson and Greg Cornell at their spectacular White Feather Farm in Saugerties, will benefit Mountainkeeper’s work to fight the climate crisis and advance our clean energy future. It’s going to be a great night, and we really hope you’ll be able to join us.Read more