On Wednesday, February 22, 2012, in the VIP room of the Goldstein Fitness Center, the students of the Pforzheimer Honors College were treated to a engaging and informative presentation from Ms Dana Gulley, the Outreach and Development Coordinator of Riverkeeper Inc. The first thing Gulley did was explain what the Riverkeeper Inc. organization actually is. Riverkeeper is a member-supported “watchdog” organization, dedicated to defending the Hudson River and its tributaries, and protecting the drinking water supply of nine million New York City and Hudson Valley residents. For more than 44 years, Riverkeeper has been New York’s clean water advocate. The organization has helped establish globally-recognized standards for waterway and watershed protection and has served as the model and mentor for the growing Waterkeeper movement that includes nearly 200 Keeper programs across the country and around the globe.
Gulley then discussed a few of the biggest movements Riverkeeper has going on right now, including the attempt to block the “fracking initiative” in New York state. Fracking is a technique used to access natural gas locked in rock formations. A mixture of chemicals, water, and sand is injected underground to “fracture” shale formations and unlock the natural gases. This technique would contaminate our water supply because the toxic waste generated would ultimately be mixed in with drinking water. Riverkeeper is staunchly fighting fracking and has sent over 600 pages of technical comments to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, encouraging the public to mobilize their opinions as well.
A major movement that Riverkeeper advocates for is the Indian Point Campaign, which opposes the renewal of the nuclear plant’s license. Indian Point is ranked the most dangerous nuclear plant in the United States with twenty-million people living within 50 miles of its base. If a dangerous situation were to occur at Indian Point, there would be astronomical effects on these residents. Riverkeeper and the State of New York have intervened and are currently trying to stop Indian Point from getting their license renewed.
Gulley ended the presentation by offering students the opportunity to volunteer and become active in the Riverkeeper organization. Students are able to participate in different events that Riverkeeper hosts, volunteer their time or apply for an internship. If you are interested please visit the official website: www.riverkeeper.org