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Success Stories
Mercury Controls at Last
Campaign Update
A Boom in Fracking Threatens Communities Across America
Feature Stories
Big Oil Won't Let the Tar Sands Pipeline Die
NRDC, Redford Challenge Shell
Don't Frack the Catskills!
One Woman, Fighting for Justice, Turns Tragedy into Inspiration
Oil Companies Hijack Canadian Energy Decisions
NRDC Sues to Protect Whales from New Sonar Deployment
In The News
Cleaner Future for Cars
Online Features
Green Burials
This Green Life's Nature Map: Share Your Favorite Places!

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Photo of Catskill Park
Feature Story
Don't Frack the Catskills!
John Adams is the founding director of NRDC. In 2011, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his environmental leadership.

In 1885, New York State set aside part of the Catskill Mountains to be preserved and left "forever wild." Subsequently, it drew a Blue Line around the most critical parts of the Catskills to define the Catskill Park. From that start, and with the backing of Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt, the park has grown into a 700,000-acre refuge of public and private lands stretching across four counties in southwestern New York. Today, though, this forested sanctuary of rolling mountains and rushing streams is gravely threatened by the oil and gas industry, which seeks to blast away at the earth and pump toxic chemicals into the ground to produce natural gas from shale through a process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

We must not allow that to happen. The Catskill Park offers some of the most beautiful vistas and wilderness in the eastern United States. It shelters the headwaters of some of our nation's cleanest rivers and the source of New York City's drinking water. It's a haven for hikers, campers, kayakers and more. But, shockingly, the government of New York State is moving forward with a plan that would allow fracking on private lands in the park. If this is permitted, frackers will erect rigs and derricks, construct large holding ponds and build cluttered drilling pads in the midst of the park's great forests and adjacent to its recreation areas. They will cut through these and other forests to lay new pipelines to transport the gas. Into their wells they will inject water at high pressure laden with industrial and toxic chemicals that can be expected to seep into Catskill Park aquifers. We'll see roads pock-marked and pulverized by truckloads of water, chemicals and equipment. Hazardous pipelines and waste lagoons will threaten park animals, migratory wildlife and human health.

Fracking in the Catskill Park will irreparably mar its celebrated landscape. It is dangerous, damaging and insufficiently regulated. From massive fish kills and sick children to dead livestock and contaminated tap water, fracking has wreaked havoc upon communities nationwide. We must not invite this kind of destruction into our park. Some places simply must be put off limits. If you live in New York State, tell Governor Andrew Cuomo: Don't frack the Catskills!

Go to switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/ksinding to learn more about our broad-ranging work to protect New York State's people and environment from the dangers of fracking.

Fracking in the Catskill Park will irreparably mar its celebrated landscape. It is dangerous, damaging and insufficiently regulated.


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