Town, state seek warrants to inspect controversial Saugerties construction & demolition debris dumps

That fact was divulged at a meeting on May 14 at the Saugerties High auditorium. The meeting, organized by Catskill Mountainkeeper, was attended by about 50; representatives from Congressman Antonio Delgado and state Sen. George Amedore’s offices, along with Ulster County legislators Mary Wawro and Dean Fabiano, were present.

“The [DEC] is aware of the Karolys operation and Department staff have been actively investigating reports of associated illegal activity,” wrote DEC Regional Director Kelly R. Turturro to Catskill Mountainkeeper attorney Emily Svenson in a letter that was passed out. “The property owner refused to grant DEC staff access to the properties to evaluate whether the sites are in compliance with the Environmental Conservation Law. Accordingly, we are currently seeking a warrant in court so that DEC staff will be able to access and inspect the sites.”

DEC shuts down controversial Saugerties construction and demolition debris dumps

“We’re thrilled with this letter, it verifies everything that we’ve been saying,” said Emily Svenson, an attorney that has been petitioning state government to shut down the dumps on behalf of environmental activism group Catskill Mountainkeeper. “We don’t know exactly what will happen next. The Karolyses could challenge this violation, there could be some additional interaction with DEC. I’m not sure how this will play out, but it’s a step in the right direction.”

The town of Saugerties, driven by concerns voiced by neighbors about noise caused by truck traffic in and out of the four sites and about the possibility of harmful chemicals getting into surrounding well water, has been trying to halt the operations in court, but is still waiting for a ruling from state Supreme Court Justice Richard Mott. The DEC says the operation has been in violation of its dumping rules since 2016 and town officials say Karolys’ dumps are breaking the town law to boot. Karolys hasn’t taken this lying down — he’s filed a notice of claim in state Supreme Court, reserving his right to sue the town for, among other things, defamation and violating his rights to use his property.

Suit targets Thompson, developer

However, Gan Eden and Thompson have another lawsuit to deal with filed in May against them by The Center for Discovery and Catskill Mountainkeeper.

The attorney representing both nonprofits did not respond by press time for comment.

The lawsuit argues that the project would adversely affect both organizations and seeks to void the settlement on the basis that the town violated open meetings law and SEQRA.

“I believe it’s overreaching and without merit and our attorneys will vigorously defend the town’s position,” Rieber said.

A Sullivan County judge will decide how the case moves forward later this month, according to Horgan.

Horgan added that the lawsuit assumes that the settlement means the project will be approved by the town when up for review, which is not the case.

Rieber insists the same.

“In other words, we’re gonna give them a fair review just like anyone else would get from the town,” he said.

DEC orders Saugerties dumping site shut down July 3, 2019

Kathy Nolan, senior researcher for Catskill Mountainkeeper, said the orders are good news to residents of the area.

“The DEC apparently looked at all the materials that had been submitted to them and they had inspected the site and they put together a list of dozens of violations that were present on the three properties owned by Joseph and Rachel Karolys and basically shut them down by informing them that it is illegal to proceed in the face of those regulations,” she said.

DEC orders Saugerties dumping site shut down

Climate measure sets ambitious goals for state BY KAREN DEWITT (NYS CAPITOL CORRESPONDENT) , IN ALBANY, NY

June 20, 2019 Katherine Nadeau with Catskill Mountainkeeper said the transition does not necessarily mean that New Yorkers will face deprivation when fossil fuels are no longer available.

“People are looking at climate policy as though they’re just being forced to eat their broccoli,” she said. “And when you look at what we can actually build up, we’re showing you there’s cake out there and here’s where you can go get it.”

Mountainkeeper kids!

Bella Noche Ruffalo                                                                         Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Hello, My Name is Bella Ruffalo and I was born in L.A and I moved to the town of Callicoon NY, in the Catskills, when I was around three years old. The Catskills is filled with dense green lands and incredible amounts of wildlife.  The vibrant colors of green, brown and blue – depending on the season, filled my senses when I first moved to the Catskills.

Some activities that I embarked on during the years that I lived full time in the Catskills were swimming in the Delaware River and frolicking outside in every season. The Delaware is very cleansing since the river is one of the cleanest natural water sources you can swim in. In recent years, the summer has become warmer and the winter temperature has been rising, and we have been getting less and less snow. Some people do not understand how this affects the ecosystem and not just their ski schedule – and this frustrates me, how people just live in the dark. The reason the climate is changing is each day fossil fuels are released into the sky and that affects our ecosystem in a negative way, causing global warming. unnamed-2For example, cars produce chemicals that fly up into the sky and destroy the ozone. But winter is beautiful, even if we get less and less each year so that just means we have to enjoy it while it lasts. Each year when winter comes around in the Catskills, the snow is white and fluffy and it’s almost like powdered sugar. Even though I may not able to enjoy liquid water during the winter I can enjoy the frozen water. Winter and summer may be very different but they both have their own unique beauty. For example, summer is hot and winter is cold.  In the heat and the humidity of the summer, you can see the blossoming of flowers and the hatching of robins and watch them open their eyes and look at the world, both curious and fearful. And for the winter all the birds leave, and the snow falls, and you can look outside your window and see a white desert. The Catskills is one of the most incredible places I have ever been I we fight every day to save it because this place is my Eden.

The Delaware River is a major river on the Atlantic coast of the United States and it is 14,119 miles long. I have mainly seen the Delaware in the Catskills but it can be seen in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware. The Delaware is the cleanest river in the United States in most cases of the Delaware we can drink its water unfiltered. Even our founding fathers saw the importance of the river. They used the river during the unnamed-1battle of Trenton they used the river for cover during the battle in the middle of winter. Just recently there was an oil spill in the Delaware which was caused by a train crash. This made the areas near the oil spill toxic and if it gets in direct contact with your skin it may cause medical problems in future years. Accidents like this can affect the river in a very negative way if it’s not dealt with.

I Grew up in Callicoon NY in the Catskill Mountains but there are many other places to go visit while you’re in upstate New York. For example, Narrowsburg and Bethel.   Since I grew up in Callicoon I’m going to be a little bit biased. I’m sorry about that, but nearest town is Narrowsburg and another nearby town is Bethel Woods where the  Woodstock Music Festival took place, are both an amazing place. Some reasons that you should go to Callicoon are how close you are to the water and the great food and restaurants and unnamedsmall businesses.  Many of the shops and restaurants are owned by families. My favorite restaurant in town is Matthew’s on Main and my second favorite is Pepenos. Matthew’s on Main is an amazing American-based food restaurant. For example, they have burgers, fries, pasta and other foods like that.  Pepenos is an Italian restaurant about 50 feet away from Matthews on main they’ve been growing a lot over time and getting bigger and bigger, so you might need to call for a reservation but their food is amazing and their service is great. Narrowsburg is another small cozy town that sits right on the Delaware River, and there are these two big rocks right under a bridge where go swimming and it makes for a good summer afternoon. My mom also owns a small shop in town called Sunny’s Pop. I would recommend you check it out, downloadshe recently opened it. She sells furniture, teapots and an assortment of other amazing and gorgeous items including vintage clothing. The Items at Sunny’s pop are truly quality. She sells stuff for artists that are trying to be discovered, and their art is unique. Some great food options in town are the Laundrette and the Heron.  The Heron has been around for a good 2 years, they sell an assortment of foods including one of my favorites is fried catfish bites that are seasoned in different seasonings that I cannot name. the laundrette is an Italian restaurant that sells amazing handmade pizzas and great salads even though I don’t normally like salads they caught my eye.

Fort Delaware Museum is a fun Activity to teach your kids about colonial history. Fort Delaware Goes back in time with actors in complete role play and costume. They show kids how to shoot cannons. Teach them about blacksmithing and how the settlers first Unknowngot here. They are open on the weekends and on Columbus Day. You get to enjoy the full settler experience, for example, you get to try farming blacksmithing candle making and baking. And there are also various shops throughout the fort and you can get a tour on TripAdvisor or just get tickets while you’re there. I’ve gone to Fort Delaware multiple times.   It is an enclosed place that’s surrounded by huge wooden walls that are spiked at the end. I would recommend Fort Delaware to anyone who wants to learn about the history of Delaware and Columbus in an interactive way.

Lenni Lenape Indians was a native tribe to the Delaware.  Lenni Lenape means men of men and they were one of the first tribe to live in the Catskill Mountains. Their territory was the Delaware River Basin which is now southeastern New York, eastern brush_shelter_in_Great_BasinPennsylvania and most of Delaware and New Jersey. For most native American tribes, how they treated animals was a big part of their culture, so each way they hunt is very different. The Lenni Lenape hunted fish with a spear and not with fishing poles so it put the fish through the least amount of pain. But if there was a bigger fish they would use a harpoon and they mainly used the wood head for there spears. Lenni Lenape mainly lived in wigwams which were a hut house made out of birch branches and bark. And the inside consisted some sort of blanket or wolf skin no furniture. The Lenni Lenape culture is a very interesting topic and has explored the Delaware for thousands of years.

From the Lenape to the colonial settlers to my peers, the Delaware Valley has been a place that we have called home, and I love it.

Mountainkeeper kids!

The Catskills are covered with beautiful pieces of land and huge bodies of water. In the Catskill’s fresh water lakes, rivers and streams, local beauties such as bass, trout, pike and pickerel roam the rapid waters. Many animals live in the Catskill mountains such as bobcats, black bears, red foxes and so many more. The Catskills are also home to Trout Town USA, a famous trout resort in Roscoe New York. Famous fishermen like Theodore Gordon, the inventor of the Quill Gordon, and Joan Wulff, “the first lady of fly fishing”, came to the Beaverkill to fish! It is an area worth protecting. Mountainkeeper is an organization that works to protect the natural land in the Catskills.


“The beautiful Catskills”



imageCatskill Mountainkeeper’s Top 5 map is your guide to endless fun in the Catskills. While infinite opportunities for adventure await, the Top 5 map highlights only the best. Explore the Top 5 swimming holes, hiking trails, biking trails, fishing spots and ski mountains. Just click on the location icons on the map for more information and directions to each of the sites.

Save Our Farms: NYs Dairy Farms are Shutting Down

Dear Mountainkeeper Supporter —
New York’s dairies are under attack. It’s been an awful couple of years for the dairy industry–milk sales are down, output is up, and there’s a huge glut of milk on the market creating the low milk prices that are driving farms out of business. With the recent announcement that Walmart’s supplier is canceling contracts with local farms and processors in order to open its own mega-processing facility in Indiana to bottle 100 million gallons of milk per year, things have gotten dire.

Catskill Mountainkeeper supports the family farms that are the backbone of life in the Catskills and have provided milk to New York City for more than one hundred years. Statewide, our farms are part of our heritage and we will work to ensure they are a part of New York’s future. Where and how we grow and purchase our food impacts our air and water quality, lifestyle, health, climate change emissions, and communities at large.

This is a local, state and national problem, and we need to do our part to solve it. We’ve been working with some of the foremost experts on this issue, and several things have become clear. We must make our voices heard:

  1. Call Governor Cuomo. Tell him to direct New York schools to buy New York’s milk. (518) 474-8390
  2. Call Senator Gillibrand. Senator Gillibrand sits on the Senate Agriculture committee. Tell her you support New York’s farms, and that our farms can’t survive without a floor price for their milk. (845) 875-4585
  3. Buy local. As we’ve spoken with farmers and experts in the field they’ve let us know that local markets and local demand for local products truly matters. If our communities were voting with our purchases, buying local first, big retailers would not have captured such a huge percentage of the market and would not have the power to force local businesses out of business. We can take the extra effort to buy local or regional products from local distributors or independent stores. We can skip the big box store and buy from our farmers. Find a farmers market near you. If you’re in Liberty or Monticello, Catskill Mountainkeeper’s farmers markets open this month. Click here to learn more.

The dairy crisis and the immediate danger of losing more New York State farms speaks to the problems of our agricultural system. Mega farms and processors are making decisions in corporate offices light years removed from the soil, the animals, the weather, and our communities. Consumers have become farther and farther separated from their basic needs and now we are seeing up close the real costs of how we produce our food. We can change this, and we’re starting now.

We are calling on our elected officials to do everything in their power to ensure that the many farms in the Catskills and statewide are protected and supported until we have a solution. And we’ll continue to spread the word and support our local markets.


Ramsay Adams, Executive Director

Please help us continue this important work by making a donation today!
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Catskill Mountainkeeper
P.O. Box 1000, Livingston Manor, New York, 12758 

Copyright 2017 Catskill Mountainkeeper is a non-profit 501(c)(3) grassroots advocacy organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the unique and irreplaceable Catskill region of New York State. Click here to unsubscribe.


Philipstown Garden Club: Sponsoring an Environmental Forum

The Philipstown Garden Club blazed a new trail last spring by sponsoring a public forum about the transport of crude oil in New York State’s Hudson Valley. Among the 70 people in attendance were members of Ulster County GC, Millbrook GC, GC of Orange and Dutchess Counties, and the GC of Irvington-on-Hudson. We learned about the dangers of moving shale-imbedded Bakken oil from North Da- kota, Montana, and Canadathrough the Hudson Valleyvia barge, rail, and pipeline to refineries in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Read more