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Crestwood Promises Minor Changes to Gas Storage Plans at Seneca Lake. We Are Seneca Lake vows to continue opposition

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Aug 092016
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Media Contact: Lindsay Speer 315-383-7210 lindsayspeer@gmail.com

Crestwood Promises Minor Changes to Gas Storage Plans at Seneca Lake

We Are Seneca Lake vows to continue opposition

 

August 9, 2016 – Watkins Glen, NY—In a last-ditch attempt to make its project palatable to residents of the Finger Lakes, yesterday Crestwood’s attorneys promised the Department of Environmental Conservation that it was cutting back the scale of its plans to store explosive gases in old salt caverns under the shores of Seneca Lake.  These promises did not impress members of We Are Seneca Lake.

“Butane storage was always a minor part of the project,” noted Ruth Young, of We Are Seneca Lake and former Schuyler County Legislator and former Democratic Committee chair in Schuyler County.  “This slight reduction from 2.1 to 1.5 million barrels still builds 70 percent of the propane storage, and changes nothing about the plans to store methane. The risks still remain and threaten Seneca Lake as a drinking water source, a tourist hotspot and world-class wine region.”

“These reductions are not enough,” explained Lindsay Speer, of We Are Seneca Lake. “It’s like a smoker promising to cut back from 3 packs to 2 packs a day with a promise not to smoke in bed: it still puts the kids in the house at risk for asthma and house fires. Underground gas storage in any quantity is inherently unsafe. We do not want an Aliso Canyon at Seneca Lake.”

Crestwood’s decision to scale back to reduce risks and impacts in the face of overwhelming public opposition is validation for what We Are Seneca Lake and other groups opposed to the plans have said since the beginning: pressurized gas storage in unlined salt caverns brings with it inherent dangers.

Crestwood has still not addressed the very serious issue of cavern integrity that continues to be under review by the DEC appointed Administrative Law Judge, and the threat to the salinity level of the lake. Storage of LPG in these caverns in the 1970s corresponded with an increase in Seneca Lake’s salinity.  Further, it appears that the state employee who signed off on the permit for the propane storage project was never authorized to do so, another issue that is currently under review in the adjudicatory proceedings.

Thirty-two municipalities around Seneca Lake have passed resolutions in opposition to Crestwood’s plans.  The outlier remains Schuyler County.

On Monday night, the Schuyler County Legislature ignored a standing-room only crowd of constituents, business owners, and Seneca County Supervisor Steve Churchill voicing opposition to gas storage plans.

Legislative Chairman Denis Fagin, founder of Fagan Engineering, a company with extensive involvement in the oil and gas industry and pipelines, took the role of Crestwood defender during the proceedings.  The resolution passed 6-2, even though only two people spoke in favor of the resolution. Legislators Van Harp and Michael Lausell voted against it.

Crestwood’s revised proposal has been submitted in an unconventional method directly to the Administrative Law Judge in a letter and it is unclear whether it will be accepted.  The full revised plans should be made available for public review.  It is clearly an attempt to placate opposition by removing some of the visual surface impacts of mass industrialization.  All transport LPG by truck and rail are being scrapped, and propane will be transported by pipeline only.

“I believe the elimination of rail transport is significant but it shows they are aware of their weakness on this issue with Senators Schumer and Gillibrand,” noted Daryl Anderson, a local farmer and part of We Are Seneca Lake.

We Are Seneca Lake undertook a major letter-writing campaign last summer to the Senators, highlighting concerns including the risks of butane transport across the 75-year-old rail bridge that spans the gorge at Watkins Glen State Park.  The New York State Parks Commission passed a resolution in December 2015 opposing transport of explosive gases by rail over Watkins Glen State Park.

Crestwood’s concessions only apply to the LPG storage project, and do nothing to stop the storage of fracked methane gas, which is a separately regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on the same property as the LPG project.  The drilling, transportation and storage of methane poses huge impacts to the climate.

The We Are Seneca Lake movement began in 2014 when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved Crestwood’s plans for methane gas storage in the salt caverns at Seneca Lake, after years of citizens’ concerns voiced through the regulatory process going unheeded.  Since then, regular nonviolent direct action protests at the gates of Crestwood’s facility have resulted in over 650 arrests for civil disobedience or trespass in a massive upwelling of community opposition.  To date, construction of the methane gas project has not yet begun.

The We Are Seneca Lake movement remains committed to opposing gas storage in the unlined salt caverns under the shores of Seneca Lake.

 

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Clean Energy Revolution March Philadelphia 7/24/16

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Jul 252016
 

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Environmental Leaders Arrested at Large Seneca Lake Gas Storage Protest

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Jul 182016
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – July 18, 2016

Media contact: Sandra Steingraber, 607.351.0719; ssteingraber@ithaca.edu

photos:  http://www.wearesenecalake.com/new-york-comes-to-seneca-lake-pix/

video: http://www.wearesenecalake.com/new-york-comes-to-seneca-lake-vid/

press release: http://www.wearesenecalake.com/new-york-comes-to-seneca-lake/

 

Environmental Leaders Arrested at Large Seneca Lake Gas Storage Protest

50 people from 18 NYS counties, plus 3 CA and NJ residents, form human blockade as part of We Are Seneca Lake campaign;

 Local arrestees include 92-year-old biochemist Martha Ferger and Damiani winemaker Phil Davis 

 

Watkins Glen, NY –  “We are ALL Seneca Lake” was the message delivered this morning by prominent environmental leaders Wes Gillingham, Program Director of Catskill Mountainkeeper, David Braun, Co-Founder of Americans Against Fracking, and Rachel Marco-Havens, Youth Engagement Director of Earth Guardians on the driveway of a gas compressor station.

The three joined 50 others at a civil disobedience action against gas storage in Seneca Lake salt caverns that highlighted our interconnectedness in the struggle for a fast and necessary transition to clean energy and the folly and destructiveness of new fossil fuel infrastructure projects.

Organized by the direct action group, We Are Seneca Lake, the protesters formed a human blockade on the driveway of the Stagecoach (formerly Crestwood) gas storage complex along Route 14 in the Town of Reading shortly before 7:00 a.m.

During the blockade, the protesters stopped all traffic entering and leaving the facility. Shortly before 8:00 a.m., they were arrested by Schuyler County sheriff’s deputies, charged with disorderly conduct, and transported to the sheriff’s department. Watkins Glen police and NYS troopers assisted in the arrest process.

In reference to Con Ed’s recent investment in Seneca Lake gas storage and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s extension of an almost-lapsed permit, protesters held banners that said, “We Will Not be Con-ed“ and “We Will Not be FERC’ed!”

In an address to fellow protesters, Catskill Mountainkeeper’s Wes Gillingham, 56, of Ulster, said, “While we stand here in solidarity with the people of Seneca Lake, we are also standing up against the devastation in the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota and the bomb trains bringing that fracked oil to Albany. We are standing up against the oil and gas money that pollutes our politics. We are standing up against pipelines rubber-stamped by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.”

Describing the Aliso Canyon gas storage leak near Porter Ranch, California, that prompted thousands of evacuations, Americans Against Fracking’s David Braun, 45, of Oakland, said, “I am risking arrest with you today because of disasters with gas storage that I have seen up close in my home state. Don’t let it happen here. Don’t turn wine country into fracked gas country. Don’t build Aliso Canyon in New York’s Napa Valley.”

Gas storage is the only industry with the power to take down the entire local economy in the case of an accident, Braun noted. “Winemakers don’t poison the air if they have a bad year. Local farmers won’t force thousands to be evacuated from their homes if their crops don’t produce properly. No other industry does this.”

Earth Guardian’s Rachel Marco-Havens, 46, of Woodstock, said, “We must move to renewable sources of energy now. This summer, as fossil fuel build-out escalates, we will continue to escalate our efforts—for the protection of our children and those to come.”

Salt cavern storage accounts for only seven percent of total underground storage of natural gas in the United States but, since 1972, is responsible for 100 percent of the catastrophic accidents that has resulted in loss of life.

Crestwood’s methane gas storage expansion project was originally approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in October 2014 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.

Crestwood also seeks to store two other products of fracking in Seneca Lake salt caverns—propane and butane (so-called Liquefied Petroleum Gases, LPG)—for which it is awaiting a decision by Governor Cuomo’s Department of Environmental Conservation.

Biochemist Martha Ferger, PhD, 92, of Dryden, said, “As a scientist, I know that there is no bigger threat to our planet than climate change. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas. Storing methane in the salt caverns here at Seneca Lake will make the problem of climate change worse, not better.”

The 53 protesters arrested at Seneca Lake today came from 18 New York State counties plus California and New Jersey.  Eight were from Schuyler County. They are:

Richard Battaglia, 54, Richford, Tioga County

Marie Ely Baumgardner, 69, Burdett, Schuyler County

Michael D. Black, 64, Dundee, Yates County

Thomas Blecher, 68, Ithaca, Tompkins County

David Braun, 45, Oakland, Alameda County, California

Desmond A. Brown Jr., 22, Ithaca, Tompkins County

Patricia Anne Campbell, 73, Sterling, Cayuga County

Lyndsay Clark, 55, Springwater, Livingston County

Fred Conner, 60, Dryden, Tompkins County

James Connor, 84, Mecklenburg, Schuyler County

Ann Cain Crusade, 60, Starkey, Yates County

Phil Davis, 64, Hector, Schuyler County

Daryl B. Denning, 66, Corning, Steuben County

Wendy J. Dwyer, 61, Canaan, Columbia County

Karen Edelstein, 55, Lansing, Tompkins County

Wesley Glenn Ernsberger, 68, Owego, Tioga County

Richard L. Evert, 69, Princeton, Mercer County, New Jersey

Elisa Evett, 71, Brooktondale, Tompkins County

Martha Ferger, 92, Dryden, Tompkins County

Paula Fitzsimmons, 58, Hector, Schuyler County

Kenneth Fogarty, 76, Guilford, Chenango County

Lyn Gerry, 60, Watkins Glen, Schuyler County

Wes Gillingham, 56, Livingston Manor, Sullivan County

Ryan Goetz, 22, Woodstock, Ulster County

Wayne I. Gottlieb, 58, Ithaca, Tompkins County

Deborah Guard, 65, Schenectady, Schenectady County

Evelyn Hamilton, 69, Princeton, Mercer County, New Jersey

Margaret Hammond, 62, Ithaca, Tompkins County

Ellen Z. Harrison, Ithaca, Tompkins County

Niall Hodges, 19, Ithaca, Tompkins County

Wendy Roe Hovey, 73, Horseheads, Chemung County

Catherine Johnson, 54, Ithaca, Tompkins County

Sharon Kahkonen, 67, Mecklenburg, Schuyler County

Bill Kitchen, 64, Johnstown, Fulton County

Kim Knight, 32, Covert, Seneca County

Yvonne LaMontagne, 66, Ithaca, Tompkins County

Nathan Lewis, 33, Hector, Schuyler County

Peter E. Looker, 65, Glenville, Schenectady County

Rachel Marco-Havens, 47, Woodstock, Ulster County

Sage Anthony Mannino, 24, Shokan, Ulster County

Sandra Marshall, 67, Newfield, Tompkins County

Rebecca J. Meier, 59, Canaan, Columbia County

Mariana D. Morse, 67, Brooktondale, Tompkins County

Edward Nizalowski, 68, Newark Valley, Tioga County

Mary Ott, 59, Trumansburg, Seneca County

Dianne Marie Roe, 73, Corning, Steuben County

Jane Pfeiffer Russell, 64, Pulteney, Steuben County

Coby Schultz, 56, Springwater, Livingston County

Elan Shapiro, 68, Ithaca, Tompkins County

John W. Suter, 71, Dryden, Tompkins County

Peter F. Tringali Jr., 64, Brewster, Putnam County

Jan Zeserson, 69, Ulysses, Tompkins County

Kenneth Zeserson, 68, Ulysses, Tompkins County

 

More about the protesters: http://www.wearesenecalake.com/seneca-lake-defendes/.

Bill McKibben’s March 2016 arrest with We Are Seneca Lake: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/20/science/earth/environmental-activists-take-to-local-protests-for-global-results.html?_r=0

NYT story on 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.

Gannett’s investigative report about the risks and dangers of LPG gas storage: http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/local/watchdog/2015/06/26/seneca-gas-storage-debated/29272421/.

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 Posted by at 1:20 pm

New York Comes To Seneca Lake Pictures

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Jul 182016
 

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Victory for We Are Seneca Lake Protesters as Mistrial Declared in Town of Reading Court

 Press Kit  Comments Off on Victory for We Are Seneca Lake Protesters as Mistrial Declared in Town of Reading Court
Jun 282016
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | June 28, 2016

Contact: Sandra Steingraber, 607-351-0719, ssteingraber@ithaca.edu

video [reaction statements of defendant Tom Angie and defense attorneys Joseph Heath and Sujata Gibson]:

http://www.wearesenecalake.com/mistrial-in-reading-vid/

photos:  http://www.wearesenecalake.com/mistrial-in-reading-pix/

press release:  http://www.wearesenecalake.com/mistrial-in-reading/

 

Victory for We Are Seneca Lake Protesters as Mistrial Declared in Town of Reading Court

 

In surreal breakdown of criminal procedure, Judge announces guilty verdict before defense presents case, then recuses himself amid charges of bias and lack of legal training

 

Watkins Glen, NY – The trial of a Seneca Lake gas storage protester ended in dramatic fashion in the Town of Reading Court on Tuesday afternoon when Justice Raymond Berry declared a mistrial at the urging of the prosecuting attorneys and accepted a motion from defense attorneys to recuse himself from this and future Seneca Lake protest trials. Berry’s rulings came after a strange series of declarations that appeared to indicate both prejudice against the defendant and ignorance of the law.

Defendant Tom Angie, 63, of Aurora in Cayuga County, was charged with violation-level trespass stemming from a December 16, 2014 protest near the main gates of the Crestwood Midstream compressor station near Seneca Lake in the Town of Reading.

Angie’s trial today – which was to represent the first trial of gas storage protesters in the Town of Reading Court – began at 10 a.m. By 2 p.m., the prosecutor, Schuyler County assistant district attorney John Tunney, who had put on the stand three witnesses, had just rested his case, and chief defense attorney Joseph Heath had just entered a motion for dismissal. At this point, Judge Berry abruptly issued a guilty verdict for Angie.

Clearly flummoxed, prosecutor Tunney explained to the judge that his verdict was premature in light of the fact that defendant Angie had not yet presented his defense or called his own witnesses to the stand.

Heath, noting Tunney’s attempt to explain criminal procedure protocols to Judge Berry, respectfully moved that the case be transferred to a law-trained judge. Heath noted that the judge’s premature ruling of guilt at this stage showed a fundamental lack of knowledge of basic criminal law, most notably, the right to present a defense.

Heath further said that the fact that the prosecution needed to stop the trial in order to lecture the judge on “the simplest trial procedures” was clear proof that his clients were unable to obtain a fair trial in this court.

In spite of the fact that the prosecutor had just warned the judge that his ruling was premature, Justice Berry then reiterated his verdict, saying, “I still find him guilty.”

Heath insisted that the trial could only go forward before a law-trained judge, which Berry is not. Heath noted, “The prosecutor is running this trial.”

Sujata Gibson, a second defense attorney, stated that if the judge were going to insist on finding guilt before allowing a defense, then the defendants would simply appeal. She then entered a motion that Berry recuse himself from hearing Angie’s case. She asked that the recusal be extended to all future cases of gas storage protesters.

In making her motion, Gibson described for the record a pattern of prejudice, unfair treatment, and blatant bias and provided examples. Among them: courtroom observer Daniel Pautz, who was neither a party to the trial nor an officer of the court, was allowed use of his cell phone in the courtroom while she herself, an attorney for the defense, along with all other courtroom observers, had been forbidden cell phones.

According to witnesses, the Bailiff’s response, when asked why Pautz alone was allowed to have access to his cell phone inside the courtroom was “because he is with Crestwood.”

Pautz, whose legal work focuses on defending property owners against lead paint claims, is an attorney for Crestwood. He was merely an observer in court today.

Justice Berry granted Gibson’s motion and agreed to recuse himself in this and all future trials involving Seneca Lake gas storage protesters.

He then asked, “Okay, where are we at?”

The prosecution then moved for an official declaration of mistrial. The defense attorneys offered no objection.

Granting the prosecution’s motion for a mistrial, Judge Berry adjourned the court.

In a reaction statement outside of the courtroom, defendant Tom Angie said that while he saw the mistrial and recusal as a victory for We Are Seneca Lake, he was nevertheless deeply shaken by the experience.

“To have somebody look me in the face and say that I was guilty before I had a chance to put on my defense … is chilling. I was not really given my day in court.”

Angie, who works as a mechanical design engineer, said that his time spent on legal defense comes at a personal financial cost. “I’m a contractor. When I don’t work, I don’t get paid, so being hauled into court over and over to defend my First Amendment rights of protest is tough. Like every other average American who wants to exercise my rights, I still have to live. And this affects my livelihood. That concerns me.”

Chief defense counsel Joe Heath noted that, even prior to the judge’s abrupt guilty verdict at the midpoint of the trial, the prosecution had failed to provide evidence that Angie was standing on Crestwood’s property and had already conceded that, at the time of his arrest, the no-trespass signs demarcating the line between public and corporate property were incorrectly located. “In 41 years of practicing law, this is one of the worst mistakes I have ever seen in the courtroom.”

Defense counsel Sujata Gibson hailed both the mistrial and the recusal. “This is a victory for the defense and for We Are Seneca Lake. I firmly believe Mr. Angie is not guilty. This is not a game. Each individual has the right to a fair trial.”

Out of 606 total arrests in the 21-month-old We Are Seneca Lake campaign, 370 cases remain open. The majority of the adjudicated cases have been dismissed in the interests of justice at the prosecution’s request or with their approval, many for admitted lack of evidence of guilt.

Last week, in the Town of Dix Court, Seneca Lake defendants Sue Kinchy and Barbara Barry were both found guilty of trespass.

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

 

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 Posted by at 7:33 pm

Mistrial In Reading Pictures

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Jun 282016
 

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Star Trek Actors James Cromwell, J.G. Hertzler and 17 Others Arrested at Seneca Lake Gas Storage Facility, Call on Gov Cuomo to Boldly Go Beyond Fossil Fuels

 Press Kit  Comments Off on Star Trek Actors James Cromwell, J.G. Hertzler and 17 Others Arrested at Seneca Lake Gas Storage Facility, Call on Gov Cuomo to Boldly Go Beyond Fossil Fuels
Jun 062016
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 6, 2016

media contact: Sandra Steingraber, 607.351.0719; ssteingraber@ithaca.edu

 

photos: http://www.wearesenecalake.com/boldlygo-pix

video: http://www.wearesenecalake.com/boldlygo-vid

press release: http://www.wearesenecalake.com/boldlygo

 

Star Trek Actors James Cromwell, J.G. Hertzler Arrested at Seneca Lake Gas Storage Facility, Call on Gov Cuomo to Boldly Go Beyond Fossil Fuels

19 arrested this morning at Crestwood as total arrests in the We Are Seneca Lake civil disobedience campaign pass 600 

 

Watkins Glen, NY – Early this morning on a hillside above Seneca Lake, actors James Cromwell and John “J.G.” Hertzler, of Star Trek fame, joined 17 area residents in an act of civil disobedience that is part of an ongoing citizen campaign against salt cavern gas storage here.

While blockading the main entrance to the Crestwood compressor station, the two actors urged Governor Cuomo to stand up to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for greenlighting an expansion of this fracked gas infrastructure project against overwhelming local opposition and for undermining the governor’s own stated commitment to a rapid transition to renewable energy.

Starting at 6:45 a.m. and continuing until their arrests by Schuyler County deputies shortly before 7:30 a.m., the protesters blocked all traffic from leaving and entering the facility, including two Crestwood tanker trucks. All 19 were transported to the Schuyler County sheriff’s department, charged with disorderly conduct, ticketed, and released.

John Hertzler, 66, who played Klingon General Martok on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, said“The prettiest place I’ve ever seen is right here: the Finger Lakes region of New York….Governor Cuomo, we, the people, do not want to see these pristine lakes turned into cheap, contaminated, industrialized storage facilities for Crestwood and Con Ed. Stand with us, Governor! Defend your own program for getting New York State off of fossil fuels and transitioned to renewable energy. FERC—the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission—seeks to keep us chained to the energy of the past and, in so doing, threatens our water, our lands, our safety, and the very climate of this, our planet. Boldly go with us, Governor Cuomo, into a renewable energy future.”

Hertzler lives in the Finger Lakes region with his family in the Town of Ulysses where he serves on the town board.

James Cromwell, 76, who played Zefram Cochrane in Star Trek: First Contact and who was nominated for an Academy Award for his role as Farmer Arthur Hoggett in Babe, called on New Yorkers to join the We Are Seneca Lake movement. He said, “FERC-approved fracked gas infrastructure projects are taking over our entire state—from the crumbly salt caverns of Seneca Lake, where the gas will be stored, to the pipelines and compressor stations that devastate our farmlands, wetlands, and maple groves, all the way to the burner tips of the natural gas-fired power plants that are planned for downstate. With all of New York under attack by the fossil fuel industry and by the rogue agency called FERC, all New Yorkers now need to stand up, stand together, and say NO.”

[Full text of both statements appear below.]

Referencing the films in which the two have appeared, protesters held banners and signs that read, “We Are Seneca Lake, Babe / And We Will Not Be FERC-ed” and “Trekkies Against Crestwood-Con Ed Boldly Going Toward Renewables.”

The total number of arrests in the 20-month-old We Are Seneca Lake civil disobedience campaign now stands at 604.

Crestwood’s methane gas storage expansion project was originally approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in October 2014 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. In spite of near-unanimous citizen opposition, FERC’s last-minute permit extension on May 16 gave Crestwood’s Arlington subsidiary another two years to build out its natural gas storage facility.

Salt cavern storage accounts for only seven percent of total underground storage of natural gas in the United States but, since 1972, is responsible for 100 percent of the catastrophic accidents that has resulted in loss of life.

Crestwood also seeks to store two other products of fracking in Seneca Lake salt caverns—propane and butane (so-called Liquefied Petroleum Gases, LPG)—for which it is awaiting a decision by Governor Cuomo’s Department of Environmental Conservation.

 

The 19 arrested at Seneca Lake today were:

Richard Battaglia, 54, Richford, Tioga County

Leslie Brack, 49, Ithaca, Tompkins County

James Cromwell, 76, Warwick, Orange County

John V. Dennis, 66, Lansing, Tompkins County

Lauren Eastwood, 46, Plattsburgh, Clinton County

Bob Eklund, 63, New Lisbon, Otsego County

Linda C. Fedele, 53, Perinton, Monroe County

John Garman “J.G.” Hertzler, 66, Ulysses, Tompkins County

[Reverend] Gary Judson, 76, Burdett, Schuyler County

Jeanne Judson, 78, Burdett, Schuyler County

Sandra Marshall, 67, Newfield, Tompkins County

David H. McLallen, 61, Ulysses, Tompkins County

Patricia Rodriguez, 47, Brooktondale, Tompkins County

Mark Scibilia-Carver, 63, Ulysses, Tompkins County

Trellan Smith, 50, Oxford, Chenango County

Dan Taylor, 65, Oxford, Chenango County

Catherine Taylor, 52, Ithaca, Tompkins County

Suzanne Winkler (Suzy), 57, Burlington, Otsego County

Robyn Wishna, 58, Slaterville, Tompkins County

 

Full text of J.G. Hertlzer’s prepared statement:  

Hi, everyone. My name is John Hertzler, although some of you may know me better as Klingon General Martok on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

My forty-some years as an actor have taken me all over the world. But the prettiest place I’ve ever seen is right here: the Finger Lakes Region of New York.

And so I chose to live here, just on the other side of Seneca Lake. I have a daughter going to school here.

I am also a member of the Ulysses Town Board. When I first ran for office, our platform was PRESERVING OUR HERITAGE and PLANNING for the FUTURE. Today, I am here for both of those reasons.

Governor Cuomo, we, the people, do not want to see these pristine lakes turned into cheap, contaminated, industrialized storage facilities for Crestwood and Con Ed.

Stand with us, Governor! Defend your own program for getting New York State off of fossil fuels and transitioned to renewable energy. FERC—the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission—seeks to keep us chained to the energy of the past and, in so doing, threatens our water, our lands, our safety, the very climate of this, our Planet.

Boldly go with us, Governor Cuomo, into a renewable energy future.

And now I’d like to introduce my friend and fellow actor, James Cromwell.

 

Full text of James Cromwell’s prepared statement:

Good morning. My name is James Cromwell. I’m an actor and a producer. You might know me as Farmer Arthur Hoggett in the movie Babe; as Zefram Cochrane in Star Trek: First Contact; as Captain Dudley Smith in L.A. Confidential; as Hal Moores in The Green Mile; or from my work on American Horror Story.

Today, I’ve come from my home in Orange County to take a stand against gas storage at Seneca Lake and to take a stand against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that has enabled and approved this project in spite of near unanimous public opposition.

And I bring a message to all New Yorkers: FERC-approved fracked gas infrastructure projects are taking over our entire state—from the crumbly salt caverns of Seneca Lake, where the gas will be stored, to the pipelines and compressor stations that devastate our farmlands, wetlands, and maple groves, all the way to the burner tips of the natural gas-fired power plants that are planned for downstate.

Thus, with all of New York under attack by the fossil fuel industry and by the rogue agency called FERC, all New Yorkers now need to stand up, stand together, and say NO.

Last December, I was arrested along with five other people while blocking the construction of the CPV Valley Power Plant in Waywayanda, New York, near my home in Warwick.

Here is what I said on that cold winter day:

‘I am here in support of the people of this town, this country, and people all over the world who have a right to live in an environment that is not being polluted poisoned and devastated by an industry that cares more about its own profits than the well-being of all sentient beings.’

And I bring those same words to Seneca Lake, where I am risking arrest with 18 other people on a warm summer day—and where I just may have the honor of becoming arrest #600 here on the driveway of the Crestwood compressor station.

Fellow New Yorkers, we have a movement on our hands. It’s a growing movement of peace-loving people who are saying YES to renewable energy and NO to poisonous, devastating fracked gas projects.

Join us here at Seneca Lake.

 

More about the protesters: http://www.wearesenecalake.com/seneca-lake-defendes/.

Bill McKibben’s March 2016 arrest with We Are Seneca Lake: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/20/science/earth/environmental-activists-take-to-local-protests-for-global-results.html?_r=0

NYT story on 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.

Tom Wilber’s award-winning investigative report about the risks and dangers of LPG gas storage: http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/local/watchdog/2015/06/26/seneca-gas-storage-debated/29272421/.

 

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 Posted by at 11:41 am