First, after years of advocacy in the New York State budget process, this year we won big for the Catskills. The NYS Legislature has passed a budget that includes a $300 million Environmental Protection Fund, a $3 billion environmental bond act, and major new investments in the Catskill Park and Forest Preserve. Please take a minute to thank your legislative leaders and our local Catskills representatives for supporting our beloved park and wildlands. And check out this great WAMC piece about the win.
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.
From: Kathy Nolan, Mountainkeeper's Senior Research Director
Re: An update on a proposal for an unnecessary and ill-conceived major hydroelectric dam that would threaten our pristine Ashokan Reservoir and surrounding communities
On February 18th, a notice in the Federal Register alerted communities in the Catskills near the Ashokan Reservoir to a preliminary application filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) by Premium Energy Holdings of Southern California for a large and poorly thought through “pumped storage” project. It would draw from the existing Ashokan Reservoir, plus a newly created dam and reservoir at one of three alternative sites near the Ashokan, for generating hydroelectric power. If you're looking for a deep dive on the proposal, check out this presentation by journalist Ginger Strand.
A lot has happened in the few weeks since then…
Ban on Fracking Adopted throughout Delaware River Watershed!
EPIC BATTLE! HISTORIC WIN! Next up: rules to ban imports/exports
Advocates elated by historic DRBC vote instituting fracking ban and the start of rule process to ban fracking wastewater imports and water exports for fracking
February 25, 2021 – The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) permanently banned fracking throughout the Delaware River Watershed today, affecting four states and water supplies for millions, after eleven years of raging debate and public discourse. The Delaware River Frack Ban Coalition and many members of the public - reported by DRBC to be at 400 during the meeting - joined the virtual DRBC meeting, where a vote on banning fracking in the watershed had been advertised. The DRBC voting members - the Governors of the four states that are part of the Delaware River Watershed (New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware) and a federal representative for President Biden from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - voted to enact the regulations that were pending since the public comment period closed in March 2018. All four states voted to approve the ban; the Army Corps representative abstained.
“Today's vote is a historic victory for all the people who call the Delaware River Basin home and drink the clean water that flows from the Catskills to the Delaware Bay. No longer will they face the threats of water pollution, air pollution, and the disease that comes with fracking. As the Delaware River Basin Commission advances regulations regarding fracking wastes and water withdrawals, we will fight to ban those activities as well; the best way to protect the Basin against fracking's impacts is to prevent them. Catskill Mountainkeeper has been fighting for this day for over a decade, and we're not alone. We've been fighting alongside tens of thousands of individuals, and hundreds of organizations to keep the dirty, dangerous oil and gas industry out of the Basin. These advocates have persevered against long odds and shown up in every way--at hundreds of community meetings, hearings, rallies, canoe protests, and in four state capitals to make today a reality,” said Wes Gillingham, Associate Director, Catskill Mountainkeeper.
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.
On February 9, 2021, Catskill Mountainkeeper, the Catskill Center, and the Catskill Park Coalition convened a top-notch panel of New York State leaders to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the park in 2021. The engaging conversation ranged from funding priorities to high use issues, and panelists identified lots of work to come.
The panel included:
- Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos;
- Senator Michelle Hinchey;
- Assemblymember Aileen Gunther;
- Assemblymember Chris Tague;
- Jeff Senterman, Catskill Center and Catskill Park Coalition; and
- moderated by Katherine Nadeau, 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
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, December 8, 2020
Network of Historic Quarries and Wagon Roads in the Bluestone Wild Forest Spans Over 1,000 Acres--Proposed Steel-and-Concrete Project Would Destroy Key Features
Proposed concrete and steel fabrication plant at the eastern gateway to the Catskill Park puts 150+ year-old cultural and historic artifacts in the unique historic district at risk
Town of Kingston, NY—Today Catskill Mountainkeeper (Mountainkeeper) and Woodstock Land Conservancy (WLC) submitted new evidence about the historical significance of over a thousand acres of interconnected quarries and over 18 miles of interconnected wagon roads in the Bluestone Wild Forest to the Town of Kingston Town Board and Planning Board. This discovery confirms the need for a comprehensive environmental review of the proposed industrial steel-and-concrete fabrication plant at 850 Route 28.
Kathy Nolan, Senior Research Director for Mountainkeeper, called the new findings “dramatic and inspiring.” “These historic resources must be fully investigated and protected during and following that investigation,” she said. “We can see in this work an emerging picture, not of one isolated quarry, but of a thriving and vitally important industry, written into the landscape and now being carefully reconstructed to bring history alive.”
The 46-page report, Geoarchaeology of the Stony Hollow Wagon Road and Quarry Network (circa 1830 – 1905); Ulster County, New York, prepared by geologist Paul Rubin of HydroQuest, details artifacts such as building foundations, laid stone pillars, cut dimension stones, parts of wagon wheels, and a historic 46-inch long, flat-bladed pry bar used to split bluestone along bedding plane partings.Read more
December 1, 2020--Today’s action to stop the dangerous fracked LNG proposal at Gibbstown, NJ, is to create a Twitter Storm--a flurry of tweets--so that the DRBC governors and their Twitter followers will see opposition to this project all day long. There's more info about this project at the bottom of this email if you're looking for some background.
You can help make our Twitter storm a success in the following 4 ways:
- Write your own tweets using the handles and hashtags in this post once you click "Read More".
- Use our “click to tweet” links or copy and paste the sample tweets in "Read More"! (You can also add photos we’ve provided below to your tweets.)
- Search on #DRBCNoLNG in Twitter and retweet the tweets in the search results. (Click on the “Latest” tab to see the most tweets.)
- Check out the sample tweets below for tweets that you can copy and paste. Though they have times with them--we're working to get out as many of the same tweet at the same time--feel free to use any of them if you're seeing this another time.
Click "Read more" to check out twitter handles, hastags, and sample tweets and join the storm!Read more