Protest of Plans for Unsafe Storage of Natural Gas under Seneca Lake
Some 10 Arrested as Human Blockade Continues Protesting Methane Gas Storage Facility on Seneca Lake in NY State
From an Article by Stefanie Spear, EcoWatch.com, October 29, 2014
UPDATE: Ten people were arrested on October 29th blockading the two gates at Crestwood, on Seneca Lake. Seven were arrested at the north gate, blockading a truck, and charged with disorderly conduct and trespassing. Three were arrested at the south gate and charged with trespassing. All have been released and have a November 5th court date.
After blockading the gates of Texas-based Crestwood methane gas storage facility on the shore of New York’s Seneca Lake for two days last week, including a rally with more than 200 people, the human blockade continues.
For the second morning in a row this week, the “We Are Seneca Lake” protesters are blocking the Crestwood gate with protesters expanding the blockade to include a second driveway. With last Friday marking the day that the construction project on this huge gas storage facility was authorized by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to begin, community members, after pursuing every other avenue to stop this project, are participating in ongoing nonviolent civil disobedience as a last resort.
“We are not going away,” said renowned biologist and author Sandra Steingraber, PhD. “The campaign against dangerous gas storage in abandoned salt caverns near our beloved lake will continue with political pressure on our elected officials—who should be protecting our drinking water, our health and our wine, and tourism-based economy—and nonviolent acts of civil disobedience.”
These community protestors are not the only ones against this project. Last week, the Tompkins County legislature approved a resolution that opposes gas storage on the lakeshore, while the Yates County legislature passed a similar resolution the prior week. These counties now join the Board of Supervisors of both Ontario and Seneca counties, which previously passed motions opposing gas storage, along with the Geneva City Council and the Watkins Glen Village Board that oppose this project.
“As a registered nurse, I know that we need clean drinking water, and it’s important to protect people from all of the insidious byproducts of petrochemical companies,” said Coby Schultz a resident of Springwater in Livingston County. “This area is too precious and water is too valuable of resource to exploit so recklessly.”
On Monday, Steingraber joined Thom Hartmann on The Big Picture sharing her reasons why this project must be stopped. Watch here:
Barbara Schiessher of Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association agrees with Steingraber: “The expansion of the Crestwood facility will affect everyone who lives, works or plays on the lake, or consumes agricultural products from the region, including its award winning wines. It will affect the 100,000 residents who get drinking water from the Lake. It increases the likelihood of contamination of our air, soil and water, plus the always present risk of gas leakage, unpredictable explosions and sink holes such as have occurred in a number of salt cavern storage facilities of natural gas and LPG.”
Some 64 Arrested at Vermont Governor’s Office Demanding End to Gas Pipeline
Source: Rising Tide Vermont, Will Bennington, October 28, 2014
MONTPELIER, Vt. – Sixty-four people were arrested last night, after occupying Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin’s office for over six hours, demanding a ban on new fossil fuel infrastructure and that the governor stop supporting a fracked gas pipeline in the western part of the state.
Half the group occupied the governor’s office, while the other half stayed in the main lobby of the building. 500 people attended a rally outside of the building, supporting the sit-in.
“We are fed up with a broken, unaccountable, and biased process that is ignoring the clear and present danger of expanding fossil fuel infrastructure so that Gaz Metro and International Paper can increase their profit margins,” said Jane Palmer, a landowner in Monkton along the Phase 1 pipeline route. “The Shumlin administration is ignoring the thousands of Vermonters, including impacted landowners and over 500 ratepayers, who know we can’t afford this project.”
Demonstrators from across the state are concerned that the Shumlin administration, including the Public Service Department, are promoting dirty fracked gas as a climate solution, despite the well known climate impacts of extracting and burning fracked gas.
Dr. Maeve McBride, coordinator of 350 Vermont, said, “Today, hundreds of grassroots Vermonters are sitting in to call for a ban on new fossil fuel infrastructure, including Vermont Gas/Gaz-Metro’s proposed fracked gas pipeline, and to demand energy and climate solutions that are transparent, accountable to our communities and put people and the planet first. As the Governor said himself, these solutions need to come from the grassroots, not from the top down.” McBride was among those arrested.
Supporting arguments made before the Public Service Board over the past two years, the demonstration focused on how, despite industry rhetoric, fracked gas may actually be worse for the climate than other fossil fuels.
“The science is clear – whether the goal is avoiding CO2 emissions or sparking a transition to an emissions-free energy system, the fracked gas boom and this pipeline are no substitute for ambitious energy and climate policies, weatherization, efficiency and decreased consumption,” said Dr. Rachel Smolker, a Hinesburg resident. “Once the gas bubble pops, ratepayers are going to be stuck with higher bills, paying the cost of this pipeline for years to come and still struggling to heat their homes.”
After police issued a final dispersal order, sixty-four people stayed in the building. All were removed from the building by Vermont State Police, and cited with criminal trespassing.
The coalition planning the event is also calling for a blockade at the Vermont Gas Pipeyard in Williston, Vt., this coming Saturday at 9 am.