FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—May 7, 2015
Media Contact: Sandra Steingraber | 607.351.0719
Sixteen Mothers and Grandmothers Arrested This Morning
in Blockade at Crestwood Midstream
Mother’s Day-themed Protest Calls for Halt to Gas Infrastructure Build-Out to Protect the Future of Children
Watkins Glen, NY – In an act of civil disobedience, sixteen women from six Finger Lakes-area counties—including one who is pregnant—created a human blockade this morning at both of the gated entrances of Crestwood Midstream. Holding banners that said, “Happy Mother’s Day! Honoring Mother Earth” and “Mothers Against Crestwood: Because I Said So, That’s Why,” protesters prevented all traffic from entering or leaving the gates before their arrests shortly after 11 a.m. by Schuyler County Sheriff’s deputies and NY state troopers.
None of the protesters arrested this morning had been previously arrested as part of the We Are Seneca Lake movement, which opposes Crestwood’s plans for methane storage expansion in lakeside salt caverns and which has been ongoing since October 2014.
Today’s arrests mark the first since April 22 and bring the total number of arrests to 251 in the seven-month-old civil disobedience campaign.
Thirty other Finger Lakes residents rallied along Route 14, holding signs and banners with Mother’s Day messages and decrying fossil fuel build-out as a direct threat to their children.
Crestwood’s methane gas storage expansion project was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last October in the face of broad public opposition and unresolved questions about geological instabilities, fault lines, and possible salinization of Seneca Lake, which serves as a source of drinking water for 100,000 people.
Arrested protesters were transported to the Schuyler County Sheriff’s department, charged with trespassing, and released.
Protester Abigail McHugh-Grifa, 35, of Rochester in Monroe County, said, “I have a 16-month old son and I’m pregnant. If I’m going to create life, it’s my responsibility to protect it too. I’m very concerned about the climate and for my children’s future. The more money we invest in fossil fuel infrastructure, the deeper we dig ourselves in. I want to do what I can to speed the transition to renewables. So, I’m here doing what I can.”
“Jane Atkin, 68, of Ithaca said, “I have a grandson who is 14. I have two kids, one who lives in Colorado and one who lives in Ithaca. I figure if one lake goes, all the lakes go. And I can’t let that happen. So I’m stepping out and doing what I really believe today.”
Those arrested today were:
Jane Atkin, 67, Ithaca, Tompkins County
Tobi Feldman, 48, Ithaca, Tompkins
79, Rochester, Monroe County
Susan Hughes-Smith, 43, Rochester, Monroe County
Barbara Kazyaka, 52, Spencer, Tioga County
Anna Kelles, 41, Ithaca,Tompkins County
Neely Kelley, 37, Monroe County
Susan Kelley, 49, Hector, Schuyler County
Rachel Kennedy, 39, Tompkins County
Mary Krywe (Meg), 57, Arkport, Allegany County
39, Trumansburg, Tompkins County
Abigail McHugh-Grifa, 35, Rochester, Monroe County
Mary Moore, 71, Monroe County
Jan Quarles, 62, Ovid, Seneca County
Valorie Rockney, 70, Ithaca, Tompkins
Jennifer Wapinski-Mooradian, 42, Trumansburg, Tompkins County
Read more about the arrested protesters at: http://www.wearesenecalake.com/seneca-lake-defendes/.
Read more about widespread objections to Crestwood’s gas storage plans: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/26/nyregion/new-york-winemakers-fight-gas-storage-plan-near-seneca-lake.html?_r=0.
Background on the protests:
Protesters have been blocking the Crestwood gas storage facility gates since Thursday, October 23rd, including a rally with more than 200 people on Friday, October 24th. On Wednesday, October 29, Crestwood called the police and the first 10 protesters were arrested. More information and pictures of the actions are available at www.WeAreSenecaLake.com.
The unified We Are Seneca Lake protests started on October 23rd because Friday, October 24th marked the day that major new construction on the gas storage facility was authorized to begin. The ongoing acts of civil disobedience come after the community pursued every possible avenue to stop the project and after being thwarted by an unacceptable process and denial of science. The protests are taking place at the gates of the Crestwood compressor station site on the shore of Seneca Lake, the largest of New York’s Finger Lakes.
The methane gas storage expansion project is advancing in the face of broad public opposition and unresolved questions about geological instabilities, fault lines, and possible salinization of the lake, which serves as a source of drinking water for 100,000 people. Crestwood has indicated that it intends to make Seneca Lake the gas storage and transportation hub for the northeast, as part of the gas industry’s planned expansion of infrastructure across the region.
*Note that the WE ARE SENECA LAKE protest is to stop the expansion of methane gas storage, a separate project from Crestwood’s proposed Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) storage project, which is on hold pending a Department of Environmental Conservation Issues Conference on February 12th.
As they have for a long time, the protesters are continuing to call on President Obama, U.S. Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, Governor Cuomo, and Congressman Reed to intervene on behalf of the community and halt the dangerous project. In spite of overwhelming opposition, grave geological and public health concerns, Crestwood has federal approval to move forward with plans to store highly pressurized, explosive gas in abandoned salt caverns on the west side of Seneca Lake. While the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has temporarily halted plans to stockpile propane and butane (LPG) in nearby caverns—out of ongoing concerns for safety, health, and the environment—Crestwood is actively constructing infrastructure for the storage of two billion cubic feet of methane (natural gas), with the blessing of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
More background, including about the broad extent of the opposition from hundreds of wineries and more than a dozen local municipalities, is available on the We Are Seneca Lake website at http://www.wearesenecalake.com/press-kit/.
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