Love NY: Don’t Frack it Up

Mountainkeeper’s Betta Broad is producing a wonderful series about why we love New York State and why we don’t want it fracked.  The first episode centers on the town of Callicoon including interviews with Jill Wiener, Ramsay Adams, Mark Ruffalo and other great Callicoon folks.  Watch it here:

Logo Love NY: Don’t Frack it Up is an interactive multimedia campaign designed to champion New York’s shared resources and encourage their protection from fracking. Check out the Love NY Don’t Frack It Up! video series and join our social media community. Share what you love about New York’s food, beverages, arts and natural beauty by posting photos, videos, tweets and blogs.

The first three episodes of Love NY: Don’t Frack it Up! will be viewable onYouTube and Facebook: Binghamton: March 4; Callicoon: March 11 and New York City: March 18.

Presenting the New Catskill Mountainkeeper Website!

Mountainkeeper Proudly Flips the Switch on Our Newly Designed Website

Communicating with you is a critical part of our core mission and to satisfy our goal to keep you informed and educated about the issues that are important to the Catskills, we are proud to introduce our new revised and redesigned website.


We have changed our look, added substantial amounts of new content and improved our navigation so that it will be easier for you to find the information you’re looking for.  Under the leadership of Catskill Mountainkeeper Board Member, Ilene Ferber, we are happy to announce our launch.

Here is a snapshot of the site.


We have incorporated many of your great suggestions and we encourage you to visit our site often as we will be continually updating and improving it.  Please tell your friends about it and encourage them to get involved. We’d love to hear from you and have added a “Contact Us” section on each page for your convenience.


Please consider donating to Catskill Mountainkeeper so that we can continue to represent and work for you.  All of our programs and initiatives, including this website, require a tremendous amount of staff time and cost.  Catskill Mountainkeeper is a 501(c)(3) corporation and we are 100% reliant upon financial contributions to do our work.  All of the money that we receive goes to pay for our program costs.

or mail a check to:  Catskill Mountainkeeper, PO Box 381, Youngsville, NY 12791


About Catskill Mountainkeeper
Catskill Mountainkeeper is an independent, not for profit, 501(c)(3) community based environmental advocacy organization, dedicated to creating a flourishing sustainable economy in the Catskills and preserving and protecting the area’s long term health. We address issues of water integrity for the Delaware and Susquehanna River Systems, the defense of the vast woodlands that encompass the Catskill Forest Preserve and the New York City Watershed as well as farmland protection. We promote “smart” development that balances the economic needs and concerns of the Catskill regions’ citizens and the protection of our abundant but exceedingly vulnerable natural resources.
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Community Leaders Unite to Save the Beaverkill Campground


327 people have signed the petition as of Thursday, March 12

On Saturday March 7, 2009 Catskill Mountainkeeper along with the Sullivan County Visitors Association, the Roscoe Chamber of Commerce, the Livingston Manor Chamber of Commerce and the Friends of Beaverkill co-hosted an informational meeting to urge the state not to close the Beaverkill Campground in Sullivan County. The DEC announced that the campground will be one of six in the state that will be shuttered because of the fiscal crisis.  However, available financial data indicate that closing the campground will only save the state a few thousand dollars while dramatically impacting the tourism economies of Roscoe and Livingston Manor.

UPDATE: Sullivan County makes offer to state to run Beaverkill here
Read the Mid-Hudson New Article about the event here

Our Towns: Gas Drillers in Rush for Hearts and Land, New York Times, June 30, 2008

New York Times

Our Towns

Gas Drillers in Race for Hearts and Land

Gas Drillers in Race for Hearts and Land

Development pressures, land prices and activity by oil and gas firms have increased exponentially across a broad expanse of New York from Lake Erie to the Catskills

Published: June 29, 2008


You could have taken a nostalgic drive through the past on Thursday night, through the dreamy green landscape at the outer edges of the Catskills, past sleepy fishing towns like Roscoe and Downsville, to the lovingly restored Walton Theater, built in 1914 for vaudeville acts, honored guests like Theodore Roosevelt and community events of all shapes and sizes.

And, if you got there, you would have received a distinctly less dreamy glimpse of the future. You would have heard an overheated mix of fear and greed, caution and paranoia, of million-dollar gas leases that could enrich struggling farmers, of polluted wells, pastures turned to industrial sites and ozone pollution at urban levels. You would have heard anguished landowners from Wyoming and Colorado, facing issues now improbably appropriate to the Catskills, present their cautionary view of an environment dominated by huge energy companies where some will get rich while their neighbors might just see a hundredfold increase in truck traffic without much else to show for it.

Such gatherings are being repeated throughout a swath of upstate New York, from Walton to Liberty to New Berlin, as thousands of landowners, many of whom have already signed leases with landmen fanning out across the state, contemplate a new era of gas production now hovering almost inevitably over New York’s horizon.

It’s a development born of new technology, rising energy prices and insatiable demand that is turning the Marcellus Shale formation, which reaches from Ohio to Virginia to New York, into a potential trillion-dollar resource in the gut of the nation’s most populous and energy-hungry region.

Development of the Marcellus has been most advanced in Pennsylvania, but since the beginning of the year, development pressures, land prices and activity by oil and gas firms have increased exponentially across a broad expanse of New York from Lake Erie to the Catskills. “It’s kind of a frenzy here,” said David Hutchison, a retired geology professor who attended the meeting.

Experts say the development will have enormous, barely glimpsed consequences for the upstate economy, the state’s finances and the way of life in quiet rural communities like this one, many of them now heavily influenced by the second-home market. There will be questions about the environmental consequences, especially the potential effect on the upstate reservoirs and watershed that provide New York City’s drinking water.

“This is happening, it’s unstoppable,” said Chris Denton, a lawyer in Elmira who is assembling big blocks of landowners to negotiate with gas companies. “And the question is whether we do it in a way that makes sense or a way that’s irrational and irresponsible.”

The Marcellus Shale has been known to be a potential energy source for a century. But advances in horizontal drilling and soaring energy prices have made it attractive to energy firms. A few years back, farmers could lease their mineral rights for a dollar an acre. This year alone prices in many places have soared to $2,500 an acre from about $200.

So, for example, when Henry Constable, 77, a retired dairy farmer who owns 140 acres outside Walton, left the theater on Thursday night, his head was swimming with alternating visions of financial gain and environmental hazard. He did not quite know what he thought. Would he lease his land?

“It’s definitely a two-sided deal,” he said. “I can’t give you an honest answer. I’ll probably sign something, but I don’t know.”

A stranger listening in offered him a business card and started giving him advice.

“Let me give you fair warning,” he began. “I’m a financial adviser and a landowner, so I’m on both sides of this play. First thing, you need to have a good lawyer, to make sure you have a good lease that gives the right to sue or defend yourself if you’re sued in local court. What these companies want to do is sue you in Minnesota or someplace. And you don’t want to sign a walk-down-the-street lease. You need to be working with an oil and gas attorney.”

The man, who declined to identify himself to a reporter, started adding up how much Mr. Constable’s land could be worth at $2,500 an acre and a minimum of 12.5 percent royalties. “That could be $1.2 million per year for every 40 acres,” he said. “Do the math. Assuming you’re just signing a lease and not some other monkey deal, you’re suddenly J. R. Ewing. You have an estate tax problem. You have an income tax problem. You’ve got to talk to somebody soon.”

Most of the meetings have focused on just such issues of what landowners can do to maximize their return and control. This one, sponsored by the Catskill Mountainkeeper environmental group, featured presentations by landowners and environmental and citizens’ advocates like Jill Morrison of the Powder River Basin Resource Council in Sheridan, Wyo., and Peggy Utesch of the Grand Valley Citizens Alliance in New Castle, Colo.

They said those royalty checks came at a huge cost: polluted air and water, industrial noise, well blowouts, toxic chemicals leaching into groundwater and wells and a fracturing of communities. Of paramount importance, many said, would be protecting the New York City watershed, an issue that could touch off regulatory and environmental disputes.

The first wells in New York, which have the required state permits, are already being drilled, and the process could play out over 40 years.

“There are problems and challenges that people haven’t even conceived of,” Ms. Morrison said. “And I can tell you that those of us who have gone through it know it has consumed the last 10 or 15 years of people’s lives. I can’t express enough the profound impacts this will have on people’s lives, on land, water, air, wildlife. You need to do an enormous amount of planning to get out in front of it, because this is the richest industry in the world, and they’re going to come whether you want them or not.”


link to full article is here

New York, Pennsylvania, share common concern over gas drilling

May 22, 2008

Copyright © 2008 Mid-Hudson News Network, a division of Statewide News Network, Inc.
This story may not be reproduced in any form without express written consent.

New York, Pennsylvania, share common concern over gas drilling

Gillingham: “… make
them do it that way”

HONESDALE PA – Catskill Mountainkeeper is taking its latest environmental battle across the river. The rapidly growing concern over the rapid influx of natural gas prospectors threatens the Delaware River, from both sides, says Mountainkeeper Program Director Wes Gillingham.

Speaking before a crowd of more than 500 in Honesdale, about 20 miles inside Pennsylvania from the Delaware River, Gillingham said there is little, now, that would stop gas wells from being drilled practically on the banks of the river. He adds there is little that restricts potentially devastating mining practices, anywhere the wells go.

If wells are to be a part of the scene, the concern is to make sure it is done in the least invasive way.

“They’re not going to do it if don’t make them do it that way. We have to … when I say ‘we’, I’m not just talking about Catskill Mountainkeeper, I’m talking about every individual landowner and resident of this region, really have to take control of this issue, and force best management practices. Landowners, too, can band together and choose not to sign leases, because it’s not worth the risk.”

Attorney Harry Weiss, of Philadelphia, representing a group of Wayne County property owners, agreed the National Park Service authority is generally restricted to the river itself, not adjacent properties. That point also conceded by Upper Delaware Council Executive Director William Douglas.

But Weiss does not see gas prospecting as all bad. “It has potential, if things are done right”, Weiss said. He urged partnerships between property owners contemplating signing leases with drilling companies.

Many of the people attending the more than two-hour session wanted little to do with unchecked natural gas extraction. Among the concerns voiced during a question and answer session were what happens if one property owner is harmed by drilling on a neighbor’s property, what kind of chemicals are used in the extraction process and what recourses do anyone have, if there is damage by drilling companies.

One well is already being drilled in Wayne County, just across the Delaware from Sullivan County. Several people on both sides of the river have been approached by drilling companies.

The forum in Honesdale was organized by the Upper Delaware Council and National Park Service.

For more on gas leasing forum, visit PoconoNews.Net

Kilowatt Ours Blogs on the Catskills

In the Catskill Mountains with Larry Gibson, Homestead School and Green Power Alliance

I am inspired.

As I write my first blog post @, I am resting in the gorgeous Catskill Mountains of New York/Pennsylvania/New Jersey. I was invited to speak here by the Homestead School, an amazing Montessori program for grades pre-K through 6. A student group calling themselves the Green Power Alliance organized this event, “Your Coal Connection,” to raise money and awareness for the the effort to stop mountain top removal coal mining. Larry Gibson from Kayford Mountain, West Virginia is also here to speak. I am so inspired by these enthusiastic, motivated and caring kids and their passion for making a difference. They are a delight and I feel blessed to meet them and their parents. These students recently took a field trip to Larry’s mountain and one of the students wrote the short essay about it. These kids also handed some mountain top removal literature to former President Clinton during a recent campaign visit to their community. The kids urged Bill and Hillary to help the cause.


Ulster’s Open Space Plan is ready for prime time

Ulster’s Open Space Plan is ready for prime time

Kingston – “Ensuring quality of life for future generations” is what it is all about, according to Ulster County Planning Board Director Dennis Doyle, after wrapping up a series of six information sessions on the county’s comprehensive “Open Space Plan”. The sessions were held throughout the county over the past couple of weeks. The final one was Wednesday night, primarily for county legislators.

There were many questions about the 90-page plan, which is a result of a long effort by key stakeholder groups in the county, including the Planning Board and Environmental Management Council.

The plan examines seven “Open Space Resources”

  • Protected open space
  • Water resources
  • Working landscapes
  • Landforms and natural features
  • Ecological communities
  • Cultural and historic resources
  • Recreation resources

Doyle: “Cut through
the noise”

“Rome is burning”

Doyle says ‘quality of life’ comes into play in one simple concept. “Directing growth where it needs to go and preserving places that need to be preserved.”

County Legislature Hector Rodriguez, who chairs the Economic Development, Housing, Planning and Transit Committee, says ‘now is the time’.

“When the resolution was passed back in 2004, it was a bit of ‘Rome is burning’. That’s still the case. I think that right now, we have a real opportunity to partner up with the towns. We’ve already seen leadership at the local level, particularly in New Paltz, Marbletown and Gardiner, and I think it’s time that the Ulster County Legislature join in that effort.”

There were some concerns among a few legislators. Republican Minority Leader Glenn Noonan worried about preempting the ability of municipalities to control their own destinies.

That won’t happen, said Doyle, adding the plan should act as a guide for what municipalities should do.

“Government officials and decision makers are being asked to deal with increasing amounts of information and to make decisions. There is increasing, competing attention for their decisions. I like to call it ‘noise’. We need a way to cut through the noise.”

Doyle said during the info meeting tour, the response was “enormously positive”. Among the suggestions to come during the process that could be included in the plan are to look at “small open spaces”, including highways, as green areas.

The legislature may vote next month. A formal public hearing on the Open Space Plan is November 7.