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.
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
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.
August 24, 2020 - Click the headline above to read the Daily Freeman's coverage of Mountainkeeper's ongoing work to stop illegal dumping.
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.
August 14, 2020 - Join Catskill Mountainkeeper and more than 125 other organizations and say “NO” to a proposed fracked liquified natural gas (LNG) terminal in Gibbstown, NJ that would pose serious environmental, health, and safety risks in the Delaware River Basin and beyond. We’re calling on the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) to reverse its misguided earlier decision to approve this dirty and dangerous terminal, and fulfill its duty to protect the region’s ecologically and economically important resources. DRBC could vote on the facility in an upcoming meeting. Your voice matters now, more than ever.Read more
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.Read more
The Covid-19 crisis has changed absolutely everything for all of us. But, as our local communities, New York State, and the nation at large grapple with the implications of this human health and economic crisis, some bedrock truths have not changed: we need clean air, clean water, a stable climate, and justice for all, not only to survive, but to thrive and build a more resilient and sustainable future.
Over the next few weeks, Catskill Mountainkeeper will send a series of emails--entitled Now, More than Ever--exploring how we can work together to fix the broken public and private systems that have failed us and to advance the innovative policies that will drive the kind of systemic change needed to help New York State rebuild smarter and stronger as we recover from the pandemic.