What’s Going On in the Town of Highland?



Please attend the public comment session  Tuesday, April 12 at 6:30 PM – at Town Hall in Eldred

 On March 15, our Town Board voted to take two important actions:

  • The Board voted unanimously to engage attorney Helen Slottje on a pro bono basis to draft a zoning ordinance that will prohibit high-impact industrial uses.
  •  The Board discussed a draft 6-month moratorium on industrial uses associated with natural gas drilling, and voted unanimously to hold the required public comment session on TUESDAY, APRIL 12 AT 6:30 PM, before  voting on its passage.


If you cannot attend, please e-mail Town Clerk Doreen Hanson at highlandtownclerk@hvc.rr.com to voice your support, or write to the Town Board care of: Town Clerk, The Town of Highland; PO Box 138; Eldred, NY  12732

Key points:

  • Natural gas drilling will transform our town into an industrial zone.
  • The Board is right to pass a moratorium and draft a new zoning law. 
  • They have a responsibility to protect the health, safety and welfare of all town residents.
  • They have the authority under NYS Home Rule and land use law to prevent our town from becoming an industrial zone.
  • They are correct to consider the property rights of all town residents as they address this critical issue.

OUR HARD WORK IS EARNING RESULTS.  Passage of a moratorium and local zoning ordinance will not only help protect residents of the Town of Highland but will set an example for other towns we hope to persuade to take positive action on this critical issue.   Our solidarity as a town is making a big difference!  THANK YOU!

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FRACK! -the movie

a documentary film by David Morris

Saturday, April 2, 2011 at Moutainview Manor, Glen Spey, NY

Presented by: Homestead School, Heirloom Acres, Mountain View Manor, and Lumberland Concerned  Citizens (LCC).

‘Potluck’ dinner at 5:30pm

Movie at 6pm followed by “Q&A

Second screening at 8pm followed by “Q&A”

 with very special guests:  Mark Ruffalo – Oscar nominated actor; David Morris – director

 and Panel Speakers:

Wes Gillingham – Catskill Mountainkeeper

Bruce Ferguson – Catskill  Citizen

Pat Carullo – Damascus Citizens for Sustainability

Julie & Craig Sautner – residents of Dimock, PA

 Performances by Grammy nominee Vanessa Carlton, and Kevin Vertrees & His Jazz Ensemble

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Towns Take Action!  Legal Forum Update

On Saturday, February 19, 2011, the Highland and Lumberland Committees on Energy and the Environment (CEE) hosted an informational forum on municipal rights and the gas industry.  Open to the public and led by representatives of two law firms that are working in the area of civil rights, home rule and municipal powers regarding natural gas drilling, the forum provided a number of possible options for towns concerned about the inherent dangers of natural gas drilling.  Members of the Lumberland and Highland Town Boards, along with Planning Board and Zoning Board officials and CEE members, gained valuable information and have begun working to create zoning ordinances that will protect our towns from the serious environmental and economic consequences of natural gas drilling using the controversial process of horizontal drilling and chemical hydrofracking.

For more information, you can visit the web sites of the featured speakers:

Ben Price of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (www.celdf.org) 

CELDF is working with communities to draft local ordinances that ban natural gas drilling. These ordinances begin with a Bill of Rights for town residents (including a right to water along with rights for ecosystems and nature), and then ban activities that would violate those rights. The local ordinances written by CELDF seek to subordinate corporate “rights” to local self-governance.  Pittsburgh and Buffalo have passed ordinances banning natural gas drilling. 

 Helen Slottje of the Community Environmental Defense Council (www.cedclaw.org

CEDC presents a different approach, in which existing statutory and decisional law in New York State provides a mechanism for New York municipalities to pass local land use ordinances that prohibit industrial activities within their boundaries.  CEDC believes that land use ordinances can be crafted in a manner that will withstand legal challenges under the present legal regime. The Town of Ulysses in Tompkins County, NY is one of the towns working with CEDC to draft local land use ordinances.


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Urgent Help Needed to Keep Drilling Moratorium!


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CBS News Reports:

A Burning Debate Over Natural Gas Drilling

Read Article.        View Video.

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Actor Mark Ruffalo speaks out against fracking

Watch the full episode. See more Need To Know.

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Who are Highland Concerned Citizens?

We are ordinary citizens trying to deal with an extraordinary challenge:  the proposed development of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale.

All over the region, citizens’ groups are sounding the alarm about the fact that natural gas development will transform our beautiful Catskills communities into industrialized zones.  We are concerned about environmental, social and economic damage that will last for generations to come.  We are concerned that the choices we make here in the Upper Delaware watershed will affect communities in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and as far away as Chesapeake Bay.

With so much at stake, our intention is to

  • Provide accurate and timely information from reputable sources.
  • Encourage a respectful discussion in our community.
  • Alert citizens to specific opportunities to make their voices heard on this critical issue.

Demand transparency and hold our elected leaders accountable.

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