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Environmental Movement Leaders Convene to Plan Sustainable Energy Future


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April 23, 2012

Contacts: Tina Posterli, Riverkeeper, 516-526-9371
Sue Rosenberg, Frack Free Catskills, 845-246-3449

Extreme Energy & The Fight For Our Future: Panel discussion to kick-off ongoing Hudson Valley collaboration

HUDSON VALLEY – An expert panel of prominent environmental leaders from the region and around the country will convene today to begin an ongoing collaboration to strategize and plan a safer, cleaner, more prosperous energy future for the Hudson Valley in a discussion titled, Extreme Energy & The Fight For Our Future.

Throughout the United States, mountain top removal to extract coal, hydraulic fracturing (hydrofracking or fracking) for natural gas, the Keystone XL Pipeline, and the licensing and relicensing of nuclear power plants are wreaking havoc on communities, the environment and climate. The panel will discuss the need to shift away from these increasingly extreme methods to remove fuel from the earth, and the urgency to change our paradigm for fueling our future to one of renewable energy.

The panel discussion will follow a screening of Peter Bull’s Dirty Business: “Clean Coal” and the Battle for Our Energy Future, Monday, April23 at 6:00 p.m. at SUNY New Paltz Lecture Center 100. Panel experts include: Donna Branham, Keeper of the Mountains, West Virgina; Wes Gillingham, Program Director, Catksill Mountainkeeper; Sue Rosenberg, Frack Free Catskills; Paul Gallay, President and Hudson Riverkeeper; Duncan Meisel,; and Manna Jo Greene, Environmental Director, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater.

Organizers are realizing that the constituencies against extreme energy production must join together and find common ground in order to protect our air, water, and communities. Engaging the growing grassroots power behind these efforts is making a difference in putting the brakes on destructive energy extraction processes in areas across the country, and is essential in developing how we move toward a more sustainable energy path.

“I have been fighting mountaintop removal coal mining and irresponsible mining practices for over two decades,” said Donna Branham of Keeper of the Mountains. “I have seen communities in my county destroyed and people’s heritages eradicated. Although much has been destroyed, we must continue this fight to preserve what is left. It is very important to learn the lessons of the fight in Appalachia for the movement against fracking – there is time to prevent the devastation to the environment before it happens.”

Sue Rosenberg, Frack Free Catskills stated, “Across the country, people are fighting to preserve their communities as they are faced with the ravages and/or risks of future destruction from the processes of extreme energy extraction. These not only threaten communities, but also threaten the entire planet and stand in the way of the essential movement to a clean, sustainable energy future. We are excited that this forum brings voices of these movements together – to learn from one another, to find a common voice and ways to work together.”

“New York needs to be a leader in the new clean energy economy,” said Paul Gallay, President and Hudson Riverkeeper. “Riverkeeper and NRDC showed how we can get there, last October, by issuing the Synapse Report. Now, it’s time for Governor Cuomo, through his Energy Highway initiative, to come up with a bold new blueprint to make it happen. And, it’s crucial that the groups gathering in New Paltz have a voice in this process.”

Wes Gillingham, Program Director, Catskill Mountainkeeper added, “Each one of these energy sources has many reasons why we should not be relying on them for our needs. We are at a time in history where we have to make smart choices. Removing mountains for coal, cooking tar sands with gas in the Canadian wilderness to pipe thousands of miles, keeping antiquated nuclear power plants near fault lines operating and poisoning our aquifers for natural gas are the polar opposites of what is smart and sustainable. It’s time to move on to technologies that show us a promising future, not those that give us more problems to deal with later.”

“As a society, we have put over 98% of our resources into fossil fuels and nuclear energy, and, until recently, less than 2% into energy efficiency and renewables – so it is not surprising that the energy landscape that looks the way it does. In the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster and with rapidly increasing global climate change and decreasing fossil fuel supplies that are ever harder and more dangerous to extract, it is time to rapidly transition to a green energy economy. This is entirely doable, and is the only alternative that is truly sustainable,” said Manna Jo Greene, Environmental Director, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater.

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