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Riverkeeper’s 10 Biggest Victories in 2012


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What a year! You gave Riverkeeper the ability tackle the biggest challenges facing our river and our drinking water. Thanks to your donations, your time and your activism, we can proudly reflect on a year of extraordinary success.

We Got the Facts Out—and Held Off New York’s Rush to Frack
New York started 2012 promising to open vast areas of countryside in five Southern Tier counties to industrial gas drilling. In the face of unprecedented opposition—including a record 66,000 comments sent by people like you—New York ended the year in retreat. Fracking regulations for the Delaware River Basin were not finalized and New York has agreed to review fracking’s impact on public health, a key Riverkeeper concern.

We Won a Landmark Case that Suspends Licensing for U.S. Nuclear Reactors—and Made the Case to Close Indian Point

We started Indian Point’s relicensing hearings with two key victories. Our recent win in federal court means the Nuclear Regulatory Commission can’t grant any more licenses until it confronts the risk of storing radioactive waste at U.S. reactors—including Indian Point. And a new study we co-sponsored provided an influential blueprint for replacing Indian Point—at a cost to households like yours of about $1 per month.

We Expanded Water Quality Testing—and Passed the Most Important State Environmental Law of the Year
Adding to our 2,300 samples from the Hudson River, we tripled the number of tributary miles we test in partnership with local volunteers. The data, a coalition of 25 partner groups and tens of thousands of residents like you built the public case for the Sewage Pollution Right to Know Act, which will require public disclosure when sewer discharges could put public health at risk.

We Won a Multi-billion Dollar Commitment to Reduce Water Pollution in New York City—and Your Right to Enforce It
New York City will invest $2.4 billion to reduce the 27 billion gallons of sewage and stormwater discharged annually into the Hudson River Estuary and New York Harbor. We made sure decision-making will remain public—and citizens like you will have the right to enforce this landmark clean water agreement.

We Gained a New Toxic Cleanup Plan for Gowanus Canal—and Reached the Halfway Point of the Upper Hudson PCB Cleanup
From the top of the estuary to the bottom—from historic dredging of the Upper Hudson to the plans being formulated to clean the Gowanus Canal and Newtown Creek, we are ensuring that toxic cleanups remove the pollutants that still foul our estuary, and make too many of our fish unsafe to eat.

We Stopped Water Pollution Riverwide—and Acted as the Environment’s First Responder after Superstorm Sandy
Traveling 5,100 miles in our patrol boat, Capt. John Lipscomb and dozens of citizen watchdogs like you identified and stopped pollution, ranging from illegal dumping and sewage spills to widespread toxic pollution from Superstorm Sandy.

Photo courtesy Gene Helfman

We Won New Protections for Our Signature Hudson River Fish
Our multifaceted campaign to restore our badly depleted fish stocks took several big steps forward, with Endangered Species Act listing for the iconic Atlantic sturgeon, new fishing regulations for herring, and the completion of field work for the American shad study funded by our enforcement of water pollution laws.

We Preserved Your Access to the Hudson River
We stopped the City of Poughkeepsie from privatizing a public dock for the near-exclusive use of a private tour boat operator, preserving access for all of us—including the fishermen and scientists who joined our case.

We Ensured the Lower Esopus Creek Will Again Run Clear
EPA’s proposed designation of the creek as “impaired” after years of abuse means New York State and City officials must finally heed the outcry from local residents and take actions to end high-volume, muddy discharges from the Ashokan Reservoir and rectify the damage those discharges have caused.

Photo courtesy Celine Daly

We Empowered the Grassroots to Make a Difference
Our volunteers gave more than 3,500 hours, cleaning seven tons of trash from 30 river communities during the first-annual Riverkeeper Sweep, marking Hudson River Day with a riverwide day of outreach about water quality, creating the Brooklyn Riverkeeper Action Group—and sending thousands of messages to decision makers to protect our environment. Thank you.

Help us make 2013 as successful—or more. Please make a donation to support Riverkeeper’s annual fund drive by December 31, and your donation will be matched by our Board of Directors and Junior Council.

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