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
High Use and Overuse In the NYS Forest Preserves
November 15, 2020 - Catskill Mountainkeeper is excited to present a one-of-a-kind opportunity to hear the experts really dig deep on the issues of high use and overuse in the Catskills and Adirondacks: on Thursday, October 22 at 6pm, we hosted a free online panel discussion with advocates, as well as state and national agencies, to explore challenges and solutions.
Katherine Nadeau of Catskill Mountainkeeper, Andy Mossey of The Catskill Center, and Rocci Aguirre of The Adirondack Council shared their first-hand experiences of the damaging impacts of overuse on our trails, and brainstormed potential solutions.
Ingrid Peterec from the National Parks Service offered her perspective about how these issues are addressed in our national parks and discuss tactics New York State might use to better manage visitors to the forest preserves. And Katharine Petronis, Deputy Commissioner of Natural Resources at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation discussed how New York is promoting sustainable use of state lands, particularly during the State’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sit back, enjoy the conversation, and drop us a note at [email protected] with any questions.
Roundup Kills Pollinators and Causes Cancer--Tell Home Depot and Lowe's to Get it Off Store Shelves
October 6, 2020--In recent years, US beekeepers have seen almost one-third of their hives decline. Bees pollinate 80% of the world's crops, including chocolate, coffee and almonds--without them, our food systems will fail. While there are many overlapping reasons for this ecological crisis, one of them is the overuse of toxic herbicides. In response, Mountainkeeper is mounting a campaign to get the worst of these herbicides off store shelves. Join us today--tell Home Depot and Lowe’s: stop selling glyphosate.
Glyphosate is one of the world’s most commonly used herbicides, and it's the main ingredient in Bayer-Monsanto’s Roundup. While it effectively kills weeds, glyphosate is one of the most deadly things a bee can encounter.
The University of Texas in Austin studied Roundup by taking 2,000 bees from a hive. One group was fed sugar syrup, while the other was given glyphosate. The bees who were fed the herbicide had intense gut infections, and only 12% survived.
Aside from compromising the well-being of pollinators, glyphosate is also a human health hazard. In fact, the World Health Organization named Roundup a carcinogenic back in 2015.
In 2019, Costco stopped selling Roundup because it causes cancer. Demand that Lowe’s and Home Depot take the same action to put human health and ecological conservation first. And please forward this email to a friend--we need all the help we can get standing up to the big box stores.
Mountainkeeper's Video: High Use & Overuse In the Catskills
October 1, 2020--It goes without saying that summer 2020 was unlike anything we’ve experienced before. The global pandemic changed much of our day-to-day lives, including the way we think about travel, vacations, and what we value in the places we love. Folks throughout our area and neighboring regions discovered--or rediscovered--the allure and splendor of the Catskill Park, one of New York’s two constitutionally protected “forever wild” parks.
But as the summer went on, many visitors discovered that the park did not feel very wild or pristine. Today Mountainkeeper is releasing a short film highlighting what was going on at some of the "hot spots" where we saw trash-littered trails, crowds of people overwhelming natural spaces, and cars creating traffic hazards as they lined roads that were never intended to accommodate parking.
To be clear: parks across the state and nation saw a huge influx of visitors this summer and many of the agencies managing these lands struggled with the same problems. What we saw at the “hot spots” in our region is not the result of inaction or mismanagement by any one entity--we all have a role to play in protecting the park. But here in the Catskills, where focused attention on effective park management is a relatively recent phenomenon, we’re behind the eight ball.
The good news is that this is a problem created by people that can be solved by people working together. Our regional advocacy groups (including Mountainkeeper), state agencies, municipalities, and residents must take what we’ve learned from this summer and collaborate to devise better ways for people to get into the park safely, while protecting our natural resources. We need to maintain a welcoming, accessible park for visitors to enjoy, while conserving pristine wild places for the benefit of nature and the well being of all the creatures who live here.
Mountainkeeper is thrilled that so many New Yorkers are discovering the gem that is the Catskill Park; we are proud of our region and want to share its beauty and bounty with visitors from near and far. And we’re excited to work with friends like you--along with state agencies, municipal leaders, and others--to address these issues of high use and overuse head-on.
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
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.
Ulster County issues cease and desist order against town of Kingston polluter
August 24, 2020 - Click the headline above to read the Daily Freeman's coverage of Mountainkeeper's ongoing work to stop illegal dumping.
Historical assessment could undermine plan for fabrication plant on Route 28
August 21, 2020 - Click the link above to read the Daily Freeman's coverage of New York State's August 7th letter notifying 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 determination will require the owners of a proposed concrete and steel fabrication plant to conduct an additional archaeological assessment to determine if historic quarry resources are located within the proposed project area and if so, how the site preparation work (including blasting) and construction will impact these resources.
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.