Study Co-Sponsored By Mountainkeeper Shows Outdoor Recreation on Catskill Lands Brings Millions of People and Millions of Dollars

Posted on February 18, 2013 by

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PDF of Catskills Study

February 6, 2013 —

REGION — The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is touting the beneficial impacts of its reservoirs and other holdings on the Catskills, which are highlighted in a new study commissioned by the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development (CCCD), Catskill Mountainkeeper (CMK), and Catskill Heritage Alliance (CHA).

According to the study, outdoor recreational activities that rely on public and protected lands attract a total of 1,717,927 visitors annually. These visitors had an estimated economic impact on the region’s economy of $46,207,000 and supported 980 jobs. Furthermore, all outdoor recreational activities, including both those that rely on public and protected lands and those that rely on private lands, attracted a total of 2,496,753 visitors. These visitors had an estimated economic impact of $114,768,000 on the region’s economy and supported 2,413 jobs.

“This economic impact study confirms with hard data the exceptional economic potential of this landscape of mountains, forests, streams, farmland and villages,” said Kathy Nolan, chair of the Catskill Heritage Alliance. “It shows the choice before us in dollar terms: erode what nature gave us and undermine our economic sustainability, or build on the potential to strengthen the economic future of the region.”

“The new numbers confirm what we’ve known for a long time,” echoed Ramsay Adams, founder and executive director of Catskill Mountainkeeper. “The natural beauty of our region is a unique, world-class asset.”

Carter Strickland, the commissioner of the DEP, which employs nearly 1,000 people in the watershed, said, “We are proud that our efforts to encourage recreation throughout the watershed have strengthened the tourism economy that has been a hallmark of the Catskills for decades. New York City currently owns 114,833 acres in the Catskills that are open for fishing, hiking, boating and other forms of low impact recreation that attract people from other regions of the state and country. In the past five years alone, we have removed the permit requirements from 52,198 acres of that recreation land, making it even easier for our neighbors and visitors to enjoy.”

The economic impacts generated by recreational activities, and of the operations of organizations that protect and manage the natural areas of the Catskills, were estimated using the Money Generation Model (MGM) economic impact. These models were developed for the National Park Service and have been used for similar evaluations of many parks around the country.  READ THE ENTIRE RIVER REPORTER ARTICLE HERE

WATCH THE VIDEO PRESENTATION BY STUDY AUTHOR BRIAN ZWEIG,  KATHY NOLAN FROM MOUNTAINKEEPER AND OUR OTHER STUDY PARTNERS.

Breaking News: Huge Victory – Fracking Delayed in New York

GOVERNOR CUOMO DELAYS FRACKING DECISION

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH COMMISSIONER DR. SHAH SAYS HE NEEDS MORE TIME TO COMPLETE HEALTH REVIEW FORCING THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION TO MISS KEY DEADLINE

In an incredible victory for Mountainkeeper and activists across New York State – Dr. Shah, the State Department of Health Commissioner sent a letter to Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens stating:

“As we have been reviewing the scope of these studies, I have determined — and prudence dictates — that the DOH Public Health Review will require additional time to complete based on the complexity of the issues. My team and I will be in Pennsylvania and Washington in the coming days for first-hand briefings on these studies and their progress, which will assist in informing the New York review. I have also extended the term of the DOH outside expert researchers to continue to assist my review. I anticipate delivering the completed Public Health Review to you within a few weeks, along with my recommendations.”  Read the entire letter here

In response Commissioner Martens issued a press release stating:

“Commissioner Shah advised me today that the Public Health Review of the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS) of high-volume hydraulic fracturing is still on-going.  The Department of Health’s (DOH) Public Health Review, which was undertaken at my request, is important to our consideration of high-volume hydraulic fracturing and I will not issue a final SGEIS until that review is complete and I have received Dr. Shah’s recommendations.  He has indicated he expects his review to be complete in a few weeks after he has had an opportunity to review recent studies underway which are pertinent to the evaluation of high-volume hydraulic fracturing impacts on public health.”  Read the entire press release here

According to Dr. Kathleen Nolan, MD, MSL Catskill Mountainkeeper’s High Peaks Regional Director:
“As Mountainkeeper has long recommended, Dr. Shah is wisely taking the time to come to a careful decision about what needs to happen to protect New York from the harmful effects of fracking.  We hope that his future plans include a call for a rigorous, comprehensive, open and participatory Health Impact Assessment that will define and quantify the full range of health hazards involved in the production and distribution of natural gas.”

Catskill Mountainkeeper commends the Governor, Commissioner Shah and Commissioner Martens on their decision to take the prudent approach to this very controversial issue by proceeding with the utmost caution.  We hope that the DOH and the DEC will continue to recognize the need for more in depth study of this dangerous practice.  We will keep you updated as we learn more.

INCIDENTS AND DEVELOPMENTS CONTINUE TO PROVE THAT GAS DRILLING ISN’T SAFE. HELP US TAKE ACTION!

The number of places where drilling has poisoned the water, air and land in communities keeps rising and we can expect that as drilling continues, these incidents will go up.  This has not lessoned the pro-drilling forces from pushing for more drilling at every opportunity and with total disregard for the consequences.  Below is a digest of some of the recent events that reinforces our need to be vigilant and active.

PENNSYLVANIA DEP LASHES OUT AT GAS DRILLING COMPANY FOR POLLUTING DRINKING WATER
depIn a public letter to citizens yesterday, Pennsylvania DEP Secretary John Hanger lashed out at Cabot Oil & Gas for denying their responsibility for water contamination in Dimock, PA. He said that there is overwhelming evidence that they are responsible for the gas migration that has caused families to be without a permanent water supply for nearly 2 years.  He continued that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will seek court orders to make Cabot pay for all costs relative to constructing a new 5.5 mile water main to bring drinkable water to Dimock, PA. Cabot’s response has been to launch a public relations campaign and much misinformation concerning who will be party to that solution and who will end up paying for it.  To read Secretary John Hanger’s full statement, click here.

EPA TELLS RESIDENTS OF PAVILLION, WYOMING NOT TO DRINK THEIR WATER
Pavillion MapThe EPA has told the residents of Pavillion, a rural community on the Wind River Indian Reservation in central Wyoming, not to drink their water and to use fans and ventilation while bathing or washing clothes to avoid the risk of explosion.  This warning came after the EPA found benzene, metals, naphthalene, phenols, methane and other contaminants in groundwater and area wells. The EPA has identified at least three water wells containing chemicals used in the fracking process, but will not say whether there is a definite connection until they complete their current study of the effects of fracking on water.  While we understand that the EPA cannot make definitive statements until all of their scientific testing is in, this is another clear case of how fracking has poisoned the water in a community.  Click here to join the thousands who have signed our petition asking the DEC not to greenlight gas drilling using hydrofracking until they can review the results of the EPA’s scientific study. Read the petition and signatures here.

ORGANIC FARMER IN PA FILES LAWSUIT STATING THAT DRILLING POLLUTED HIS WATER AND LAND
A Pennsylvania organic tomato farmer, George Zimmerman has filed suit against Atlas Energy

Gas Drilling Site in Hickory, PA
Atlas

Inc.for polluting his soil and water with toxic chemicals used in or released there by hydraulic fracturing.  Water tests near his home found seven potentially carcinogenic chemicals above “screening levels” set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Baseline tests that were done on the property a year before drilling began were “perfect”.  However, tests done in June 2010 found arsenic at 2600 times acceptable levels, benzene at 44 times above limits and naphthalene 5 times above federal standards. These are substances that can’t be made by nature, and yet that is what is now in the ground.  If Zimmerman wins, it would be the first case to prove that hydraulic fracturing causes water contamination.  He said he has invested about $11 million in the estate, which includes a winery and an heirloom-tomato business, but he now just wants to walk away because he believes it has been ruined by gas drilling.  Zimmerman rates his chances of selling it, as “slim to none” because of the proven water contamination.   For more on this story, click here:

Despite this clear and empirical evidence the rush to drill continues.

DEC PROPOSING TO ALLOW FRACKING IN OUR STATE FORESTS
state forests mapThe DEC has said that they are “inclined to consider natural gas developed on State Forests due in part to the fact that it is a cleaner burning energy alternative.”  That is, of course, the rationale that the gas industry uses. While it may be true that the burning of natural gas may produce fewer particulates and other polluting emissions than other fossil fuels, it also causes more strain on the water supply, introduces pollutants into the water supply, chemically poisons land in the case of accidental chemicals spills and more.  Right now commercial mines in State Forests are prohibited. State forests were created precisely in order to protect these lands from development, and that status should be maintained. The DEC is taking public comment on its draft forest management plan until October 29. You can comment by emailing the DEC or mailing them at:
Strategic Plan for State Forest Management
NYS DEC, 625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233-4255.”

For a thorough analysis of the this issue read the story Julia Reischel in the Watershed Post

SMALL GAS PIPELINES CAN NOW BE BUILT IN NEW YORK STATE
Despite the fact that gas wells using hydrofracking are not yet approved in New York State, gasPIPELINE
companies can now apply for and get permission to build shale gas pipelines that connect their well pads to larger pipelines because approval of these smaller pipelines is not covered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).  The approval is done by the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) who can approve pipelines that are up to 10 miles in length.  Each pipeline is approved individually, and because PSC is not doing a cumulative impact analysis pipelines are likely to proliferate dangerously and with massive environmental degradation.  On Wednesday October 20th, Mountainkeeper Program Director Wes Gillingham will testify at the PCS public hearing.  The written comment period lasts until October 29th, 2010.  We urge you to click here to submit written comments asking that all pipelines regardless of their length be under DEC approval jurisdiction.

THE DRBC HAS POSTPONED THE RELEASE OF THEIR DRAFT REGULATIONS
The DRBC did not release their draft regulations on drilling for natural gas using fracking last week DRKas they had previously scheduled.  They have now delayed that release until November or December 2010.  While some groups have hailed this as a “victory”, it is unclear whether this delay is good news or bad news for safe gas drilling.  Regardless of their intention, we have to keep up the pressure to require them to wait until the science has been reviewed and analyzed before releasing any regulations.   We need to tell the DRBC Commissioners that it is essential that the cumulative impact study be completed before they issue draft regulations.  Please write a letter to the Commissioners today calling on them to keep a moratorium on drilling in place until the results of the scientific studies can be reviewed and analyzed.  Click here to send a letter to the Commissioners from the Delaware Riverkeeper’s site.

Seismic testing generates waves of concern

Roadblock for seismic testing thumper trucks?

Seismic testing generates waves of concern

By FRITZ MAYER

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.

*** ALL INFORMATION IN THIS POST IS DIRECTLY SOURCED FROM: ***

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

WALTON, N.Y.

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.”

E-mail: peappl@nytimes.com

link to full article is here

Catskill Mountainkeeper, UDC and NPS to Co-sponsor May 21 Public Forum on Natural Gas Issues

Catskill Mountainkeeper Press Release
link is here:
http://www.catskillmountainkeeper.org/node/408
Catskill Mountainkeeper, UDC and NPS to Co-sponsor May 21
Public Forum on Natural Gas Issues

YOUNGSVILLE – The Catskill Mountainkeeper, The Upper Delaware Council, Inc. (UDC) and National Park Service Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River (NPS) will co-sponsor a free Public Information Forum on Natural Gas Issues on Wednesday, May 21, from 7-9 p.m. in the Honesdale Middle School gymnasium, located on Grove Street in Honesdale, PA.

The objective of this forum is to present factual information on natural gas and its exploration methodologies, extraction techniques, the DEP’s regulatory authority, potential environmental impacts, and the execution of mineral rights leases by property owners.

Catskill Mountainkeeper will focus on the environmental impacts that natural gas drilling will have on the region, including its potential impacts on ground water, drinking water and the reservoir systems that provide drinking water to both New York City and Philadelphia, as well as the impacts on air quality, wildlife and tourism.

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.
Speakers will include:

* Wes Gillingham, program director of the Catskill Mountainkeeper non-profit organization;
* Patrick O’Dell, a petroleum engineer with the National Park Service (NPS) Geologic Resources Division;
* Ron Gilius, director of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Bureau of Oil and Gas Management;
* Lester Greevy, Esq., a specialist in mineral rights law from Williamsport in Lycoming County, PA;
* Paul M.Schmidt, Attorney, co-representing the Damascus Citizens For Sustainability.

Following delivery of their remarks, the panel will participate in a question-and-answer session with the audience.
All are welcome to this free program. No reservations are required.

For more information, contact:
Beth Scullion
Caskill Mountainkeeper
845.482.5400
beth@catskillmountainkeeper.org
Catskill Mountainkeeper
Ramsay Adams
Executive Director

Catskill Mountainkeeper
Wes Gillingham
Program Director