Save the Date!! Barnfest 2013 – Woodstock!


Save the Date!! Barnfest 2013 – Woodstock!


Join Catskill Mountainkeeper at our 
5th Annual 

Celebrate the FOOD, ARTS and CULTURE of the Catskills
2 stages of live music, theater, film, kids activities, art auction, food trucks, and more


As always, Barnfest is FREE! We do require registration to attend. Click here to register now!


Andy Lee Field – In the Heart of Downtown Woodstock
Rock City Road, 45 Comeau Drive
Woodstock, NY 12498 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.


Ben Hewitt

en Hewitt
Food Activist and best selling author of The Town that Food Saved and Making Supper Safe

Want to help? Click here to volunteer at Barnfest

Media Sponsor:


PEF/ENCON Letter to DEC on Marcellus

December 29, 2009

DEC union asks for more study before permitting gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale

Fracking should wait at least another year, union says

By Krisy Gashler

The union representing nearly 2,000 professional, scientific and technical staff within the New York Department of Environmental Conservation has asked Gov. David Paterson to hold off on allowing natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale for at least another year while state and federal regulators conduct more study on the environmental impact of unconventional drilling.

In a letter Monday, the Steward Council of Division 169 of the Public Employees Federation, PEF/encon, asks the governor to extend the comment period on the gas drilling Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement “for at least another 30 days and to express our judgment that the expansion of gas well hydro-fracturing must not be allowed within the next calendar year, if not longer.

“Although the Marcellus Shale natural gas formation is a valuable resource, public safety and the protection of all of our natural/environmental resources demand that NYSDEC take the time to do a complete evaluation and adequate planning before allowing its use.”

The letter continues, “(New York’s history) is full of examples where better analysis and fact-gathering could have avoided damages to our fisheries, air quality, agricultural, wildlife and water resources.”

New York shouldn’t authorize expanded gas drilling until the federal Environmental Protection Agency completes its newly authorized study, and DEC and local regulatory agencies should be adequately staffed and funded, the letter said.

Wayne Bayer, a DEC environmental program specialist and executive board representative for the union, said the substance of the letter was developed and approved by the union’s shop stewards, a 25-30 person group elected to represent the roughly 2,000 scientific and technical employees in DEC.

“We don’t mean to say that we’re convinced everyone is in total agreement with what we said there, because we could have some people who own property and are going to benefit from this in the Marcellus Shale,” Bayer said. “And we’re not saying that we’re opposed to drilling here completely forever.”

Natural gas is “eminently preferable” to petroleum products because it’s cleaner, domestically produced, and can help New York’s economy, he said. On the other hand, “there seems to be a rush to do this.”

“Too many times in the past, we’ve rushed things, whether it’s pesticide usage, disposal of chemicals into the rivers and water resources. And it costs the state of New York and the federal government lots of money afterwards to try to remedy and correct. So why not take a little bit longer. Like we said in the letter, that gas has been there for millions of years and it’s not going any place. Sure we’d like to have that revenue source, we’d like to pay less money for heating our homes and buildings, but what’s the cost of that? We don’t think enough of those questions have been answered yet,” Bayer said.

Meanwhile, a coalition of 16 business, municipal and not-for-profit groups sent a letter Tuesday to the governor urging him to move forward with gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale.

Signatories include the Independent Gas & Oil Association of New York, the Chamber Alliance of New York State, the Syracuse and Binghamton chambers of commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business, the New York State Economic Development Council, Unshackle Upstate, and the Business Council of New York State Inc.

“We need your support for this compelling economic development opportunity, one that could benefit the State and localities significantly for years to come,” the letter said. “We should embrace our state’s ability to bring New York-produced gas to New York customers, and by so doing create new opportunity and prosperity in our own state.”

The deadline for public comments on the draft environmental impact statement is Dec. 31. DEC Spokesman Yancey Roy said he can’t yet comment on any of the letters being sent to DEC.

“We’re still taking input from the public so it would be inappropriate to address their comments at this time,” he said.

Campaign to Keep Beaverkill Campground Open Successful

Catskill Mountainkeeper Press Release

The New York State Department of Conservation has announced its partnership with Sullivan County to keep the Beaverkill Campground open for the 2009 season

cmk logo - small

Youngsville, NY – April 24, 2009 – Catskill Mountainkeeper applauds the NYS DEC’s decision to partner with Sullivan County to keep the Beaverkill Campground open during these tough budgetary times.
We would like to thank Commissioner Pete Grannis and Region Three Director Willie Janeway for their efforts on this important issue.  Catskill Mountainkeeper organized a campaign to help keep the Beaverkill Campground open including an online petition that received more than 600 signatures in partnership with Friends of the Beaverkill, Roscoe Chamber of Commerce, Livingston Manor Chamber of Commerce and the Sullivan County Visitors Association.
“This is how government should work” said Ramsay Adams, Executive Director of Catskill Mountainkeeper.  “Community leaders organized a campaign; the County and State heard the call and worked hard to find a solution.”
Catskill Mountainkeeper would also like to thank Senator John Bonacic, Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, Legislators Elwin Wood and Jonathan Rouis along with the rest of the County Legislators and Sullivan County Manager David Fanslau.

About Catskill Mountainkeeper
Catskill Mountainkeeper is a member based advocacy organization dedicated to preserving and protecting the long term health of the six counties of the Catskill Region.  As a representative face of the Catskills, we strive to be the eyes, ears and voice that look at issues, listen to concerns and speak on behalf of people who live, work, and recreate here.  Recognizing strength in numbers, we organize concerned citizens to protect existing jobs and industry, take care of abundant but exceedingly vulnerable natural resources, and help to utilize available and often unclaimed local, state, and national funds to prevent and cushion the impact of natural disasters.

Catskill Mountainkeeper
Ramsay Adams
Executive Director

Catskill Mountainkeeper
Wes Gillingham
Program Director

NYDEC Draft Scope Natural Gas Drilling (PDF) Download, October 5, 2008


(Download the PDF from the link above)

Draft Scope for Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement on the Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Regulatory Program

Well Permit Issuance for Horizontal Drilling and High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing to Develop the Marcellus Shale and Other Low-Permeability Gas Reservoirs

Draft Scope (PDF, 404 KB)

The Department is accepting written comments on this draft scope through the close of business on December 15, 2008. A schedule of public meetings in the Southern Tier and Catskills to receive verbal comments will be announced shortly.

Submit comments to: Attn: Scope Comments, Bureau of Oil & Gas Regulation, NYSDEC Division of Mineral Resources, 625 Broadway – Third Floor, Albany, NY 12233-6500

or email to: with “Scope Comments” as the Subject

Executive Summary

The Department of Environmental Conservation is responsible for regulating the development and production of oil and gas resources in New York State. Natural gas exploration and production companies, and mineral rights owners, are interested in developing a potentially significant gas resource in the Marcellus Shale through the use of horizontal drilling and a hydraulic fracturing technique known as “slick water fracturing.” This technique requires large volumes of water. The Department has identified the action of well permit issuance when high-volume hydraulic fracturing is proposed as one which requires further review under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (“SEQRA”). This draft scope and the public meetings where it will be discussed are the first steps in that process.

The Department evaluated its oil and gas regulatory program through development of a Generic Environmental Impact Statement (“GEIS”) which was finalized in 1992 and which sets parameters that are applicable statewide for SEQRA review of gas well permitting. This draft scope describes the topics related to well permit issuance for high-volume hydraulic fracturing that the Department has identified for review in a draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (“dSGEIS”). Written and verbal comments from all interested parties will be considered in the preparation of a Final Scope, and then the dSGEIS will be released for additional public review and comment. The final SGEIS, to be prepared after consideration of comments received on the draft, will set additional parameters for SEQRA review. The Department will then issue well permits for gas well development using high-volume hydraulic fracturing in accordance with both the GEIS and the SGEIS.

Aspects of high-volume hydraulic fracturing identified in this draft scope for further review include the potential impacts of (1) water withdrawals, (2) transportation of water to the site, (3) the use of additives in the water to enhance the hydraulic fracturing process, (4) space and facilities required at the well site to ensure proper handling of water and additives, and (5) removal of spent fracturing fluid from the well site and its ultimate disposition. Noise, visual and air quality considerations are noted, along with the potential for cumulative and community impacts. The well permitting process is described, and regulatory coordination with other jurisdictional agencies and local governments are also discussed.

Narrative background and context is included in this document solely for the purpose of assisting the reader in evaluating the draft scope, is based upon the Department’s experience implementing the GEIS and regulating oil and gas drilling in New York State, and is for reference only. Nothing contained in this draft scope is intended, nor should it be construed, as stating a position with respect to any matters that will ultimately be addressed in the SGEIS. In order to avoid duplication, and to ensure that the SGEIS serves to complement the GEIS, interested persons are urged to carefully review the GEIS in connection with the preparation of any comments. Note that the GEIS also includes a glossary of technical terms.

Seismic testing generates waves of concern

Roadblock for seismic testing thumper trucks?

Seismic testing generates waves of concern


NARROWSBURG, NY — “They create earthquakes underground.” That’s how one official described the activity of thumper trucks, though their actual mission is to engage in seismic testing to help drilling companies understand the makeup of the various layers of materials deep underground.

Essentially, thumper trucks come equipped with a large metal foot, which stomps on the ground. The action creates seismic waves that bounce off the rocks below and are then recorded and measured by instruments on the ground. This information is then sold to drilling companies to help determine the best place to drill for gas or oil.

The Town of Tusten is holding a public hearing on September 29 to hear comments about whether the town should declare a six-month moratorium on seismic testing on the roads of Tusten. The four other towns that are working with Tusten on performing road assessments in advance of what will likely be a lot of gas drilling in the region, are also addressing the issue; the towns are Highland, Delaware, Cochecton and, most recently, Lumberland.

Tusten supervisor Ben Johnson said the testing activity will come before the drilling activity begins, so the town board decided the issue needed to be addressed soon. The fact that a thumper truck operator showed up at the town hall on September 8, seeking a permit to work, added a bit of urgency to the matter.

Johnson said the board would use the six-month moratorium time to write an ordinance that would cover seismic-testing activity.

Johnson said seismic activity has been done in the past with no problem, back in the ’60s and ’70s, but the board wanted to be sure that should any problems arise the town would be protected. Of specific concern is any possible damage to wells or the Narrowsburg sewer system. Also, the board wants to be sure town roads are protected against excessive wear. He added that after the moratorium, a permit will be needed to conduct seismic tests.

Along with possible damage, however, is another question being asked not only here, but in neighboring counties: who actually owns the right to the data gathered by the thumpers. The trucks not only get information from under the road or parcel on which they’re located, but also from neighboring properties.

Farmers in New York’s Southern Tier have been arguing that collecting data from underneath their property without their permission and without compensation is tantamount to theft.

Representatives from the gas companies have argued that the information is similar to gas itself, and that if they can get it out of the ground, it’s there for the taking.

Others say many people are attempting to profit from gas drilling in one way or another, and landowners should be compensated for information taken from under their land, especially information that helps gas companies strike it rich.

Wes Gillingham, program director of Catskill Mountainkeeper, said the information collected by seismic testing could give one side a bargaining advantage. “Suppose you’re a landowner and testing from outside your property shows that you’re in a real sweet spot for drilling. The gas company isn’t going to give you that information, so that would give the gas company an advantage.”

Some people are taking the issue very seriously. According to an article in the Press & Sun-Bulletin, Bradd Vickers, president of the Chenango County Farm Bureau, recently chased away a caravan of thumpers from a road in the Town of Preston after a brief test of wills.

Vickers wants towns to require the testing companies to get permission from landowners as part of the process of getting a permit.

Contributed photo
Thumper trucks like this one take seismic readings of underground features to guide drilling companies in their quest for gas or oil. (Click for larger version)

Natural gas rush will come at expense of NYC’s water

Natural gas rush will come at expense of NYC’s water

Monday, September 22nd 2008, 6:18 PM

Be Our Guest: James Gennaro, councilman

In the recent oil rush film “There Will Be Blood,” early 20th century speculators go door to door and offer struggling landowners money in exchange for the right to drill through the ground and reap the riches that flow underneath.

About 100 miles north of New York City, in the watershed from which 9 million New Yorkers get their drinking water, a similar scene is being played out right now. As a result of a new law recently passed by the state Legislature that will greatly facilitate natural gas drilling upstate, energy companies are paying landowners princely sums for leases allowing them to drill for gas almost 2 miles underground using an environmentally problematic technique called “hydraulic fracturing.”

In the film version of this story, the prospecting enriches everyone involved, but not without terrible environmental and human tolls from contamination. In the real-life version of this story, environmental experts and I warn of the risks that hydraulic fracturing poses for the New York City drinking water supply. As a geologist, environmental scientist and public policymaker who has been deeply involved in efforts to preserve and enhance the city’s drinking water quality for almost 20 years, I believe that this activity will result in the degradation of the water quality in the city’s upstate reservoirs and ultimately lead to city residents being forced to pay in excess of $10 billion for a water filtration plant to clean up the mess.

We cannot allow this to happen. Not to ourselves, and not to our children. With state legislation already passed in stealth, it is now up to the public and the media – and the power of its collective voices – to make sure a bad state law doesn’t pollute New York City’s drinking water supply and cost city taxpayers billions of dollars in the process.

The law in question, S8169A, will help expand drilling prospects greatly across upstate New York‘s Marcellus Shale underground rock formation, including areas within New York City’s drinking water supply watershed. This law could have and should have excluded the area within the city’s drinking water supply, but it didn’t. At a public hearing that I chaired in City Hall on Sept. 10, Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis would not commit to formally excluding our drinking water supply from drilling, but that may change if enough New Yorkers stand up and join me in my protest.

Hydraulic fracturing has contaminated water supplies in other states, including Wyoming and New Mexico. The method, which for each well forces millions of gallons of water, sand and industrial chemicals through earth as deep as 9,000 feet underground, has been decried for its impact on water supplies by numerous environmental groups, including the League of Conservation Voters, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, the Catskill Mountainkeeper and Earthwatch’s Oil and Gas Accountability Project.

There are abundant areas upstate outside of the city’s watershed that overlay the Marcellus Shale where drilling could conceivably proceed with the proper environmental safeguards. But not in our water supply. Never in our water supply. Let’s not let the allure of the short-term economic gain from drilling blind us to the fact that if this is allowed in our water supply, the economic benefits will pale in comparison to degraded reservoirs and a prohibitively expensive filtration plant we wouldn’t otherwise need.

Everyone knows that water and oil don’t mix. Neither do water and natural gas.

James Gennaro is chairman of the New York City Council‘s Committee on Environmental Protection.’It is now up to the public and the media.’

Forests of the Catskills: An Overview

Maple-dominated forests are predominant in the Catskill region, but that beech and birch-dominated forests become more important at higher elevations. Oak-dominated forests are very important along the eastern side of the Catskills, and conifer-dominated forests are largely restricted to mountaintops and stream bottoms. The largely forested Catskill Mountains of southeastern New York are subject to high rates of atmospheric deposition of pollutants and nutrients due to their high elevation and proximity to sources of urban and industrial pollution in the Midwest and Eastern Seaboard

The Catskill Mountains occupy a large area in southeastern New York State that includes significant portions of Delaware, Greene, Otsego, Schoharie, Sullivan, and Ulster counties. The boundary of the Catskill Park, a preserve occupying 2817 km that is embedded in four of these counties. About 40% of the land within the Catskill Park is part of the New York State Forest Preserve and the rest is privately owned. Forest Preserve lands are protected from logging, road-building, and other kinds of local human disturbance, but most of the Catskill area has been altered by logging, agriculture, and fire since the time of human settlement in the region). Despite these disturbances, some significant tracts of first-growth forest remain.

The climate of the Catskills includes cool summers and cold winters, both of which contribute to the popularity of the area for resorts and tourism. Elevations in the park range from 51 to 1219m, reflecting the rugged character of the Catskills that produces a range of climate conditions across the area. The Slide Mountain weather station (808 m elevation) in the central Catskills reports a mean annual temperature of 4.3 °C, and annual precipitation of 153 cm with about 20% falling as winter snow. Both temperature and precipitation vary substantially with elevation in the Catskills.

Forests in the Catskills are dominated by mixed oaks at lower elevations ( 1 100 m), balsam fir (Abies balsamea (L.) Miller) or red spruce (Picea rubens Sarg.), sometimes mixed with paper birch (Betula papyrifera Marsh.), often dominate.. While the forest types described above are typical, other mixtures of deciduous tree species are not uncommon.

Catskills vegetation is dominated by deciduous tree species, although non-forest and conifer species are a significant component of the landscape. Specifically, non-forest types (including open water) collectively occupy 12.7% of the Catskill Park. Deciduous cover types occupy 71.6% and include maple-dominated types (43.5%), beech-dominated types (10.4%), oak-dominated types (9.4%), and other types (3.6%). Evergreen-dominated types occur in 4.3% of the area and include hemlock (3.6%) and spruce-fir dominated types (0.7%). Mixtures of conifers and deciduous species cover 11.5% of the area.

In general, maple species dominate over much of the Catskills Park. Oak species occupy significant areas in the east, and beech types are prevalent in the south-central portion of the park west of Slide Mountain. Evergreen coniferous trees occur in scattered patches throughout the Catskills, particularly along riparian corridors and at high elevations.


A Vegetation Map for the Catskill Park, NY, Derived from Multi-temporal Landsat Imagery and GIS Data

Northeastern Naturalist,  2004 by Driese, Kenneth L,  Reiners, William A,  Lovett, Gary M,  Simkin, Samuel M


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

Hydro projects sought at reservoir dams in the Catskills

By Patricia Breakey
Delhi News Bureau

Published: June 06, 2008 04:00 am

The Delaware County Electric Cooperative is seeking to harness water spilling from four New York City reservoirs to produce enough electricity to power 20,000 typical homes.

Greg Starheim, DCEC chief executive officer, said an application for a preliminary permit and a pre-application document were submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last month.

Starheim said the proposed Western Catskills Hydro Project would involve installing modular design independent intake structures at New York City’s Schoharie, Pepacton, Cannonsville and Neversink reservoirs.

“I am very excited about this project,” Starheim said Thursday. “We started evaluating the potential to produce electricity at the Gilboa Dam a year and a half ago.” The New York City Department of Environmental Protection’s $600 million renovation project for the Gilboa Dam was the impetus for the idea, Starheim said.

“The timing seemed appropriate and we began discussing the preliminary engineering with DEP engineers, which led to the decision to formerly approach the DEP about submitting an application to the FERC,” Starheim said.

“DCEC has reached out to DEP with an interesting proposal; we look forward to reviewing it and to further discussing it,” Michael Saucier, DEP public affairs director, said Thursday.

Starheim said there are no generating facilities at the four dams included in the project.

“There is a tremendous loss of potential energy and the DCEC board is very interested in capturing it,” Starheim said. “This has been a missed opportunity for hydro electric generation and in today’s energy world, we can’t afford to miss opportunities.”

The decision to move ahead with the application process came about when DCEC officials became aware that two private international developers were interested in generating projects at two of the reservoirs.

“The way the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission works is that whoever applies first has an opportunity to pursue the project,” Starheim said. “We were concerned about local projects being operated by outside companies.”

Starheim said obtaining a federal license is a long process that involves numerous studies and structure milestones, but the Co-op is hopeful that the license will be issued as early as 2011. He said construction and operation would take a year or two after that.

“This is the single largest non-developed hydro project in New York and it would help the state achieve its renewable energy quota,” Starheim said.

The amount of electricity generated at the dams would be seasonal and dependent on the amount of water being released.

Starheim said there would be different numbers of modular generating devices at each of the reservoirs, with the greatest potential at the Gilboa Dam. The total design potential would be to general 65 megawatts during peak water time in the spring.

The devices would be installed over the top of the dam and would run all the way to the bottom where the water is released into the rivers. Starheim said the Co-op is only interested in using available water and will not be involved in decisions about how much water is released.

The project is part of the Delaware County Electric Cooperative’s effort to explore ways to secure its entire electricity supply using renewable local energy sources.


Patricia Breakey can be reached at 746-2894 or at

link to 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