I’m Posting every day in 2011!

I’ve decided I want to blog more. Rather than just thinking about doing it, I’m starting right now.  I will be posting on this blog once a day for all of 2011.

I know it won’t be easy, but it might be fun, inspiring, awesome and wonderful. Therefore I’m promising to make use of The DailyPost, and the community of other bloggers with similiar goals, to help me along the way, including asking for help when I need it and encouraging others when I can.

If you already read my blog, I hope you’ll encourage me with comments and likes, and good will along the way.


John Dwyer


Very Important Reading

Don’t Buy This Shirt Unless You Need It

by Yvon Chouinard & Nora Gallagher
Late Summer 2004

Near the headquarters of Patagonia, on the central coast of California, the Chumash Nation enjoyed a good life for thousands of years. They lived in small villages and possessed fur blankets, intricate baskets and soapstone pots decorated with shells. They painted elaborate abstracts in mountain caves. In every village were game-playing fields and sacred buildings. Almost every day, most Chumash enjoyed a cleansing sweat in the village temescal. In each village was a granary for stockpiling food that would later be distributed to those in need.
Chumash traded exquisite olivella shells for black pigment, honeydew melons, pine nuts, wild tobacco and various herbs and salt. By the 16th century, theirs was a complex society of hunters and gatherers with a far-reaching, sophisticated trade network.
Other nations along the western coast shared this life. Gerald Amos, a member (and former chief) of the Haisla Nation in Kitamaat, northwest Canada, recalls a friend of his father who would leave home in the dark to paddle to his trapline four miles by water. He would spend the day walking the lines, checking and resetting the traps. “Along the way back to the boat, during the late fall and early winter, the coho salmon would be still in the creeks that they passed, so they would stop at one of these creeks and take a couple of coho, which they would clean and pack home in their backpack together with what-ever animals they had taken in their traps. The fish provided them with their supper later that night.”
Such lives are often called subsistence, which brings to mind the barest, hardscrabble survival. But there is another way to look at them. At Patagonia we choose to call them “economies of abundance.” In an economy of abundance, there is enough. Not too much. Not too little. Enough. Most important, there is enough time for the things that matter: relationships, delicious food, art, games and rest.
Many of us in the United States live in what is thought to be abundance, with plenty all around us, but it is only an illusion, not the real thing. The economy we live in is marked by “not enough.” We once asked the owner of a successful business if he had enough money and he replied, “Don’t you understand? There is never enough.”
We don’t have enough money, and we also don’t have enough time. We don’t have enough energy, solitude or peace. We are the world’s richest country, yet our quality of life ranks 14th in the world. As Eric Hoffer, a mid-20th century philosopher, put it, “You can never get enough of what you don’t really need to make you happy.”
And while we work harder and harder to get more of what we don’t need, we lay waste to the natural world. Dr. Peter Senge, author and MIT lecturer, says, “We are sleepwalking into disaster, going faster and faster to get to where no one wants to be.”
We might call this economy, the one we live in, the economy of scarcity.

Lest you think the economy of abundance is gone with the old Chumash, consider Europe. Europeans still buy only a few well-made clothes and keep them for many years. Their houses and apartments tend to be smaller than ours; they rely on public transportation, and small, efficient home appliances and cars. Europeans enjoy a 25 percent higher quality of life than Americans (while we consume 75 percent more than they do).
Or, look at the people of Bhutan, whose king insists on measuring “gross national happiness.”
Any person or nation can grow fatter and fatter, richer and richer, sleepwalking toward disaster. Or we can choose to remain lean and quick, wealthy in beauty and time and, that word that inspired our forefathers, wealthy in happiness.
In Patagonia’s environmental campaign this year, we looked at the plight of wild salmon and what it might take for us to become what Ecotrust calls “a Salmon Nation,” a nation of people who make choices that contribute to the health of whole watersheds and the economies of the people who live in them. A salmon nation is a nation of abundance, where people live in a way that fish can thrive. If you think this is an impossible dream, check out Seth Zuckerman’s essay “The Gift: Salmon Recovered” and learn how wild salmon rebounded in Alaska after the state employed sophisticated tools like sonar, stream bank counters and airborne spotters to ensure their salmon were not overfished. In the last two decades, commercial catches in Alaska have more than doubled.
At Patagonia, we are dedicated to abundance. We don’t want to grow larger, but want to remain lean and quick. We want to make the best clothes and make them so they will last a long, long time. Our idea is to make the best product so you can consume less and consume better. Every decision we make must include its impact on the environment. We make ski jackets that are the right jackets, with no compromises, yet they are elegant enough to wear over dress clothes in a storm in Paris. (Most ski jackets sit in the closet nine months out of the year.) We want to zero in on quality.
In the economy of abundance, wild salmon are given back rivers in which to run. Trees grow to their natural height. Water is clean. A sense of mystery and enchantment is restored to the world. We humans live within our means and, best of all, we have the time to enjoy what we have.

Riverkeeper News Update: September 29, 2011


Raw Sewage Continues to Flow into Beacon Harbor
No More Dumping! Bill Protecting NYC Waterways Passes
Visitors from Japan Share Stories from Fukushima
Fracking Call to Action!
Help Save River Herring and Shad
EcoSalon on Indian Point to be Held October 13
Whole Foods Market Opening in Yonkers Benefits RvK
Architects’ Sailing Challenge Benefits Riverkeeper

Beacon discharge sewage spill

Raw Sewage Continues to Flow into Beacon Harbor
Raw sewage is flowing into the Beacon Harbor from a pipe at the northeastern corner of the Harbor. Discovered by a member of the public on Saturday, September 17, the discharge has been flowing for at least 10 days.  Riverkeeper sampled the discharge and strongly advises members of the public to avoid contact with the water in Beacon Harbor until the cause of the discharge has been determined and testing confirms that water quality has returned to acceptable levels.

Read full press release

RvK historic water quality data for Beacon Harbor

More on Sewage Right to Know for New York State

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Illegal Dumping

No More Dumping! Bill Protecting NYC Waterways Passes
Riverkeeper commended the New York City Council for passing Int. 53-A, a bill which will increase transparency and strengthen enforcement against illegal dumping in New York City’s waterfronts. The bill will require the Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Sanitation, and Department of Small Business Services to coordinate enforcement efforts through a formal plan and to issue a biennial report detailing the implementation of the coordinated plan.

Read full Press Release

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Visit from Japan
View the Video on YouTube

Visitors from Japan Talk About Fukushima
Riverkeeper was proud host to a Japanese delegation, including a farmer and her two teenaged children from the  Fukushima region. They shared first-hand accounts of the impact of the nuclear disaster on their lives and listened to what is being done in the battle to shut down Indian Point.  Prior to arriving at the Riverkeeper office, the delegation appealed to the UN High Commission on Human Rights to recognize and address the plight of children in the Fukushima region. The farming family asked specifically to meet with local organizations who are working to close Indian Point and traveled half way across the world to plead with us not to let what happened in Fukushima happen here. 

Images on Flickr
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fracking protest signs

Fracking Call to Action – October 21

The DRBC has scheduled a special meeting from 10:00 am to 12 pm on October 21, 2011 at the War Memorial in Trenton, NJ to “consider adoption of the regulations”, which would lift the current moratorium on gas drilling in the Delaware River Basin. This would allow fracking to begin in areas of the Basin where the state has given the go ahead (Pennsylvania currently allows fracking; New York will not allow fracking at least until the completion of its fracking environmental impact statement). The DRBC gas drilling regulations would pose a major threat to the New York City Watershed, as the Basin area currently provides 50 percent of the clean, unfiltered drinking water that nine million New Yorkers depend on daily.

Please join us at the steps of the War Memorial at 7:30 am to line up for the hearing. There will be more details on logistics of this event so please check our website for updates.
More details
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shad and herring

Help Save River Herring and Shad

The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council is to meet Oct. 11-13 in Galloway, N.J. and is expected to advance new protections for river herring and American shad at sea that will contribute to the resurgence of their coastal populations.

The plan, Amendment 14, includes a range of options to monitor and control the unrestricted catch of river herring and shad by ocean fishing vessels targeting squid or mackerel. From 2005 to 2009, only 8 percent of mackerel and 4 percent of Loligo squid fishing trips were monitored by observers—much lower than similar U.S. fisheries.
Learn More
Take Action button
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eco-salon fall 2011 graphic

EcoSalon on Indian Point to be Held October 13

Riverkeeper invites you to attend a conversation on Thursday, October 13, in New York City on our campaign to close the Indian Point nuclear power plant.  Our guest speaker will be Hamilton Fish, publisher of the Washington Spectator, president of the Public Concern Foundation, and former publisher of the Nation magazine.  We will discuss Riverkeeper’s work to prevent the relicensing of Indian Point to operate for another 20 years, as we head toward critically important federal and state hearings on the fate of the plant.  All proceeds will support Riverkeeper’s Indian Point Campaign.
More Information and to Purchase Tickets

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Whole Foods Opening graphic

Whole Foods Market Opening in Yonkers Benefits Riverkeeper

Whole Foods Market, the world’s leading natural and organic foods supermarket and America’s first nationally certified organic grocer, will open the doors to its Yonkers store on Wednesday, October 19 at 9 am.  The new location will open with a traditional bread breaking ceremony. Opening day will be celebrated with tastings, vendor sampling, special sale items, a limited number of signed copies of Robert F. Kennedy’s book, the Riverkeepers and more.  Plus, 5 percent of the total sales from opening day will be donated to Riverkeeper! Join us on the 19th!

Learn More

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Architects regatta 2011
Photo courtesy architectsregatta.org

Architects’ Sailing Challenge Benefits Riverkeeper
Riverkeeper thanks the New York Architects’ Regatta Foundation for making us a beneficiary of the 11th annual New York Architects’ Regatta Challenge, held on September 15th.  We are delighted to be a not-for-profit partner in this event that celebrates sailing on the Hudson.  Sponsorship proceeds from the event will support Riverkeeper’s work to protect the Hudson River and its tributaries, and the New York City Watershed which supplies drinking water to nine million New Yorkers.  Special thanks to Dan Frisch at Daniel Frisch Architecture and Dan Allen at Allen + Killcoyne Architects for bringing this partnership to Riverkeeper.

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Ongoing Sewage Discharge at Beacon Harbor Poses Public Health Risk

water quality header

View as webpage

Water Quality Notification:

Ongoing Sewage Discharge at Beacon Harbor Poses Public Health Risk
Beacon discharge sewage spill
Water flowing out of spillway and into the harbor.

Raw sewage is flowing into the Beacon Harbor from a pipe at the northeastern corner of the Harbor. Discovered by a member of the public on Saturday, September 17, the discharge has been flowing for at least 10 days.  Riverkeeper sampled the discharge and strongly advises members of the public to avoid contact with the water in Beacon Harbor until the cause of the discharge has been determined and testing confirms that water quality has returned to acceptable levels.

Riverkeeper’s Patrol Boat was on its monthly water quality patrol when the report of the spill was called in to us on Sept. 17. Lipscomb reported the discharge to the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) through its 24-hour dispatch number on Sunday Sept. 18. Riverkeeper also notified the Beacon Harbormaster and Beacon Pool staff.

Boat Captain John Lipscomb returned to the harbor on Friday the 23rd to investigate the discharge, found the discharge was still flowing, and sampled for sewage contamination.  The sample taken directly at the discharge pipe hit the limits of Riverkeeper’s on board lab system at >24,196 Enterococcus per 100/ml. That is more than 397 times greater than the EPA guideline for acceptable water quality – 61 Enterococcus per 100/ml.

Beacon discharge sewage spill map

The Public Has the Right to Know about Sewage in our Waterways

New York State and Dutchess County have no laws that require public notification of a sewage discharge into public waterways such as this, even when the discharge is in an area where the public is known to come into direct contact with the water. Riverkeeper is currently working with State Senator Adriano Espaillat to pass a Sewage Right to Know Law for New York State that will require public notification of all sewage discharges into our waterways. Eleven other states currently have sewage notification laws and some New York counties have one, or are in the process of adopting one.

READ MORE http://river.convio.net/site/MessageViewer?em_id=8302.0&printer_friendly=1

October 21, 2011 is Don’t Drill the Delaware Day!

Riverkeeper Event

Save the Date! Fracking Call to Action – October 21

Fracking demonstration

View more images on our Flickr site


October 21, 2011: 10:00AM to 12:00PM


Patriots Theater at the War Memorial, 1 Memorial Drive Trenton, N.J. map

For over three years, environmental groups have been fighting to protect the Delaware River Watershed from pollution from toxic gas drilling; 69,800 people filed comments with the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) during the comment period on their draft natural gas development regulations, breaking all past records of public interest. In August, Riverkeeper filed a lawsuit along with other environmental groups seeking to stop the DRBC from moving ahead with these inadequate regulations without completing environmental studies required by federal law.

But now the DRBC has scheduled a special meeting from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm on October 21, 2011 at the War Memorial in Trenton, NJ to “consider adoption of the regulations”, which would lift the current moratorium on gas drilling in the Delaware River Basin. This would allow fracking to begin in areas of the Basin where the state has given the go ahead (Pennsylvania currently allows fracking; New York will not allow fracking at least until the completion of its fracking environmental impact statement). The DRBC gas drilling regulations would pose a major threat to the New York City Watershed, as the Basin area currently provides 50 percent of the clean, unfiltered drinking water that nine million New Yorkers depend on daily.

If you want to make a statement about gas drilling and fracking in the Delaware River Watershed, come stand with us on October 21 in Trenton. This is our chance to stand together and insist on protecting our water!

The members of the DRBC – the Governors of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware and the Army Corps of Engineers as the federal representative – will decide the future of this Basin, the Wild and Scenic Delaware River, and the water supply for over 15 million people regionally with their action on October 21. We need to tell them “Don’t Drill the Delaware!”

We will be sending more information on how to get to this hearing and other logistics in October. In the meantime, please mark your calendars and plan to make your voices heard on October 21!

October 21, 2011 is Don’t Drill the Delaware Day!

More information




Risks to human health are present at every step of the hydraulic fracturing gas extraction process.  This includes the potential for contamination of drinking water sources through surface spills, well casing failures, blowouts, and other events, migration of drilling and fracking fluids during drilling or fracking or over time to ground water sources and aquifers through naturally occurring fissures, well blow-outs and well casing failures, noise and VAD (Vibro-Acoustic Disease), radioactive contamination and air contamination by emissions from venting, pipeline leaks, compressor stations and the intense truck traffic required over each well’s life-cycle.


Despite these known hazards, the oil and gas industry is exempt from important provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and other federal environmental laws. The absence of federal regulatory oversight has left it up to individual states to regulate this industry and adequately enforce those regulations.



Many of the chemicals used in the fracking process are proven toxins.  These include benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene, xylene, naphthalene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, methanol, formaldehyde, ethylene glycol, glycol ethers, hydrochloric acid, sodium hydroxide, and others, which are hazardous if inhaled, ingested, or contacted by the skin and are considered caustic, carcinogenic, mutagenic, and teratogenic.  Of the hundreds of chemicals tested by Endocrine Disruption Exchange, they report that 93% of them affect health and 43% are endocrine disruptors. Endocrine disruptors are man-made chemicals that, when absorbed into the body, mimic hormones or block hormones and disrupt the body’s normal function. They have been linked to infertility, ADHD, autism, diabetes, thyroid disorders.  Even childhood and adult cancers have been found to be linked to fetal exposure to endocrine disruptors.


In addition to the chemicals used in fracking, the wastewater that is a byproduct of the drilling process picks up salts, naturally occurring radioactive material, barium, magnesium and various other volatile organic compounds, which are also carcinogenic. It has been definitively concluded that the wastewater contains radioactivity and other toxic materials at levels that are frequently geometrically higher than the level that federal regulators say is safe for wastewater treatment plants to handle.


Exposure to any one or to combinations of this very long list of toxins carries adverse health effects that are also well known and include virtually every system of the body. Known adverse health effects include neurological, pulmonary, gastroenterological, dermatological, immunological, hematological, endocrinological, ophthalmological, reproductive, and genetic illnesses and abnormalities. Intense or chronic exposure to some of these toxins and combinations of toxins can result in death.

The time course for manifestation of illness related to the toxins associated with gas drilling may be months, years, or decades.  Environment-related cancers can take 15 to 30 years to develop. In Louisiana, where the petroleum industry is well established, parts of the state are called “cancer alley” as a result of higher lung, liver and other cancers associated with the industry.


Contrary to the hard evidence, the drilling industry loudly proclaims that toxic exposures to those living near drilling sites, downwind from drilling sites, and downstream from drilling sites do not take place.  This follows a pattern by other industries, such as the cigarette industry, to deny very obvious health consequences of using their “product”. In the 1970s the inhabitants of Love Canal finally succeeded in attracting attention to their plight only when they invited state and federal officials to visit their homes and to expose themselves to the noxious smells and visible chemical vapors and fumes that choked their throats and burned their eyes.


Crystal Stroud was a woman in good health before drilling began. She then started to experience loss of hair, tremors, heart palpitations, stomach cramps, loss of balance and slurred speech – symptoms often described by people at other drilling sites around the country. After a thorough investigation it was found that she had barium poisoning, which is extremely rare except for people who work and live near industrial sites.  Her well water was tested and found to be contaminated with levels of barium, chloride, strontium, manganese, lead, methane, radiological material, and radon. Her health improved somewhat when she stopped drinking her water.

In Dish, Texas, Mayor Calvin Tillman reports that air pollution from drilling has ruined the quality of life for residents. They report problems with nausea, headaches, breathing difficulties, chronic eye and throat irritation and brain disorders.  Results from a study by an environmental firm hired by the town and the Texas Railroad Commission found high levels of multiple chemicals used in fracking fluid, including benzene, toluene and xylene arsenic, barium, chromium, lead and selenium in residential water wells. Given the absence of such symptoms prior to drilling and with no other reasonable source of contamination identified, these findings point to inadequate containment of drilling associated toxins, resulting in correlated adverse health effects.

A recent study from Duke University confirms one plausible mechanism for exposure and adverse health effects related to drilling by demonstrating a significant increase of methane levels in the water supplies of communities near drilling sites. It is incumbent on our elected officials not to ignore this and other strong and compelling evidence and instead to use it to protect us from the dire consequences of unsafe gas drilling using hydrofracking. We cannot proceed blindly, compromising the quality of our water, air, and soils and significantly and negatively impact the health of our citizens for decades.

Prepared by Catskill Mountainkeeper, www.catskillmountainkeeper.org; info@catskillmountainkeeper.org; 845 482-5400