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.

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:


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

Picture 11

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


Breaking News: Huge Victory – Fracking Delayed in New York



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.

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.
Click here to unsubscribe


New York Steps Closer To Allowing Hydrofracking

link to full article here:

New York state would throw open its share of one of the world’s richest natural gas deposits to drilling under recommendations made by its environmental agency, creating a potential boom feared by environmentalists.

While taking steps to protect New York City’s drinking water, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recommendations to Governor Andrew Cuomo would lift an effective moratorium on the controversial natural gas extraction technique known as hydraulic fracturing.

Also called “fracking” or “hydrofracking,” the process blasts vast amounts of water mixed with sand and chemicals deep into shale rock, freeing trapped gas. Critics say leaks of the chemicals at the surface endanger groundwater and that drilling operations pollute the air.

“The summary announced today seems to completely ignore the fact that the fracking is unsafe and that the industrial waste produced by this process is hazardous and needs to be treated as such,” said Ramsay Adams, executive director of Catskill Mountainkeeper.

Industry officials say opponents have exaggerated the environmental impact, while economic benefits to the state would be significant. New York is home to a large piece of the Marcellus Shale, a massive formation believed to be one of the richest natural gas deposits on the planet.

Natural gas drilling in New York state would lead to $11.4 billion in economic output and raise $1.4 billion in state and local tax revenue, according to a study led by Timothy Considine, a professor of energy economics at the University of Wyoming and an advocate for drilling in New York.

“Governor Cuomo has made a courageous and sound decision based on the facts and the merits of shale drilling,” Considine said. “The upstate New York economy is quite depressed and needs a shot in the arm. This will be very good for that particular region.”

The DEC’s recommendations could become law after a 60-day period for public comment and an environmental impact statement. The agency recommended not drilling in the watersheds that serve New York City and Syracuse.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the DEC made the right decision in rejecting drilling in the city’s watershed.

“Governor Cuomo and (DEC) Commissioner Joseph Martens deserve an enormous amount of credit for protecting the unfiltered drinking water supplies of more than 9 million New Yorkers, while increasing our ability to harness the benefits of New York’s natural gas resources,” Bloomberg said in a statement.

Sheldon Silver, New York Assembly Speaker and a Manhattan Democrat, urged the state to wait until the federal Environmental Protection Agency finishes its review.

“There are simply too many unknowns to risk inflicting long-term, potentially catastrophic damage to New York’s environment and water supply,” he said.

Drilling also would be banned within primary aquifers and surface drilling prohibited on state-owned land, including parks, forest areas and wildlife management areas.

Environmentalists have argued that if drilling in the watershed is unsafe, it should be considered unsafe anywhere.

“All parts of the state deserve to be protected equally from this environmentally destructive drilling technique,” Environmental Advocates of New York said in a statement.

Considine, the University of Wyoming professor, looked at the environmental impact of drilling in the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania to gauge the impact in New York. Of the 2,139 wells drilled from 2008 to 2010 in the Pennsylvania Marcellus shale, 1,924 incurred environmental violations, the report said.

(Additional reporting by Edward McAllister; Writing by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Dale Hudson and Lisa Shumaker)

‘Fracking’ ban omits river land, infuriating foes

link to full article here: Steve Israel

Times Herald-Record
Published: 2:00 AM – 07/01/11

ALBANY — The state’s long awaited regulations for “fracking” would ban such drilling for natural gas in the New York City watershed — a tiny fraction of which is in Sullivan County — and in the Syracuse watershed.

The proposed regulations, which will be given to Gov. Andrew Cuomo Friday, also would prohibit fracking within primary aquifers like reservoirs and lakes, and within 500 feet of their boundaries, according to a summary released Thursday by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

The Delaware River basin, which covers much of western Sullivan County — and sits on the gas-rich Marcellus Shale — is not included in the ban on the controversial horizontal drilling technique of hydraulic fracturing.

And while the state’s proposed regulations would not allow that drilling on the surface of state-owned land, including parks, forests and wildlife management areas, fracking would apparently be permitted beneath the land.

While the recommendations aim to strike a balance between environmental protection and economic development, about 85 percent of Marcellus Shale in the Southern Tier — along with much of Sullivan — would be available for drilling under the proposed rules that are sure to elicit thousands of comments in a 60-day public comment period beginning in August.

No permits for drilling can be issued until those comments are reviewed and a final Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement is released. The final version of regulations will become state law, which would further extend the delay for drilling permits.

Other highlights of the summary include:

– No permits will be issued within 500 feet of a private water well.
– Drilling will not be allowed within 2,000 feet of a public well or reservoir until at least three years of experience elsewhere have been evaluated.
– Drilling must be consistent with local zoning.
– No permits will be issued within a 100-year flood plain.
– The DEC must approve plans for wastewater disposal.
– Drillers must disclose the ingredients of all fracking fluids — which contain toxic chemicals — to the DEC. The additives must be made public “subject to appropriate protections for proprietary information.”

While the DEC touts the proposed environmental protections, one leading anti-drilling group slammed the summary.

“A road map for the industrialization of the Catskills; the fact that the Delaware River isn’t protected is outrageous,” said Ramsay Adams, executive director of Catskill Mountainkeeper. “It’s clear they haven’t developed a plan to deal with wastewater and there’s no cumulative impact study. We’ll fight like hell to stop this.”

Pro drillers said they needed more time to review the recommendations, which will be released July 8.

“IOGA of New York looks forward to reviewing the (recommendations) to determine if the protections … strike a fair balance between protecting New York’s environment and allowing the expansion of natural gas exploration,” Brad Gill, executive director of the Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York, said.

EPA focuses on water in ‘fracking’

link to full article here:

As new proposals move ahead on possibly opening much of the state to a controversial natural gas drilling technique, federal environmental regulators are working on a study to examine how those methods will affect water supplies.

But while the state’s rules, currently under review, could lead to the drilling of the first horizontal natural gas wells during the early part of next year, the study by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency isn’t expected to be completed until 2014. A draft of the EPA study will be available next year.

“With the timing, we’re not in sync with the state schedule,” said Judith A. Enck, the administrator for the EPA’s Region 2 office, which includes New York.

Some environmental activists have urged the state to wait until the results of the EPA study are released before opening the door to high-volume hydraulic fracturing drilling techniques. An Energy Department panel is expected to issue its own recommendations later this summer.

State environmental officials, however, have said they believe the state’s proposed rules are the most comprehensive in the nation.

State Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens said last week that the state could amend its rules if the EPA study uncovers any weaknesses in the regulations.

Enck said she expects the EPA to take a comprehensive look at how hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking,” and horizontal drilling techniques that use millions of gallons of water to blast free natural gas deposits affect water supplies.

“We care a lot about the air impacts of hydraulic fracturing. We care a lot about the impact on the landscape from hydraulic fracturing. But more than anything, we care about the water impacts,” Enck said Tuesday during a meeting with reporters and editors at The Buffalo News.

Brad Gill, executive director of the Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York, said the potential benefits of stepped-up natural gas drilling — from thousands of new jobs to lucrative payments to landowners — are too valuable to delay.

More than 3,000 hydraulically fractured horizontal wells already have been drilled in Pennsylvania, creating thousands of jobs and spurring economic activity across much of the north-cental part of that state.

“We’re delaying and losing out on economic opportunity,” Gill said Tuesday during a live chat on The News website, buffalonews. com. “There’s no telling how more delayed the EPA will be, and it’s not exclusive to New York State. Nobody knows the state’s industry better than the DEC. In 30 years, I’ve never seen an EPA agent out on a New York State drill site.”

In addition to the impact of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water supplies and wells, the EPA study will examine the treatment and disposal of millions of gallons of water, treated with chemicals and sand, used to “frack” each well.

“It’s going to be a very detailed analysis,” Enck said. “The water issues are the ones that are the most challenging.”

A consortium of environmental groups released a critique Tuesday of the DEC’s proposed rules that found them lacking in 10 main areas.

The consortium of five environmental groups criticized the state plan for not calling for a ban on any chemicals, even toxic ones, in fracking fluid. It also faulted the plan for not categorizing fracking drilling waste as hazardous waste and for allowing sewage plants to treat that waste.

“No amount of regulation, no amount of permitting guidelines and no amount of laws and ordinances can protect our water and communities from a reckless industry when our regulatory agencies don’t have the staff and resources to enforce the laws they have, no matter how stringent they are,” said Ramsay Adams, executive director of Catskill Mountainkeeper.

Horizontal wells go straight down for about a mile, then gradually turn at almost a 90- degree angle and continue for a half mile to nearly a mile horizontally, through the gas-rich layer of rock known as the Marcellus Shale.

Drillers then inject millions of gallons of water, chemically treated to kill bacteria and prevent scale buildup up on pipes, into the well at high pressure to produce tiny cracks in the rock to free the gas. They also use small explosive charges.

The technique allows drillers to tap into much larger supplies of gas from a single drill site, which can have as many as six wells extending out in different directions. A single well can cost more than $4 million, but successful wells can produce gas at very high rates.

In addition to the potential impact on water supplies, opponents say the drilling activity can cause other environmental damage through increased truck traffic and the construction of roads and pipelines through rural areas.

Most of the drilling, however, probably would miss most of Western New York, except for the eastern-most portion of Allegany County.

Unlike the layer across much of Central New York, geologists said the Marcellus Shale throughout most of the western part of the state is too thin and shallow to hold vast quantities of natural gas. Instead, most of the drilling is expected to focus on the portions of the Southern Tier from Steuben County eastward to Delaware County.