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Families Arrested at Seneca Lake Protesting FERC Extension for Crestwood/Con Ed Gas Storage – 5.26.16 (Press Release)

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May 262016
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 26, 2016

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

photos: http://wearesenecalake.com/we-will-not-be-ferced-pix

video: http://wearesenecalake.com/we-will-not-be-ferced-vid

press release: http://wearesenecalake.com/we-will-not-be-ferced

Families Arrested at Seneca Lake Protesting FERC Extension for Crestwood/Con Ed Gas Storage 

21 arrestees include spouses, siblings, parent-child teams

 

Watkins Glen, NY – “We Will Not be FERC’ed!” was the rallying cry this morning as 21 New York residents from seven counties engaged in an act of civil disobedience in response to a decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to extend Crestwood Midstream’s permit to expand gas storage in Seneca Lake salt caverns.

Forming a human blockade at the main entrance of Crestwood along Route 14 in the Town of Reading, the group included several family teams. Among them were Robert and Katie Eklund (father and daughter) from New Lisbon; Clare, Teresa, and Ellen Grady (sisters) from Ithaca; Margaret and Hervie Harris (spouses) from Elmira; Lisa and Grace Marshall (mother and daughter) from Horseheads; and Elan and Gabriel Shapiro (father and son) from Ithaca.

Starting at 6:45 a.m. and continuing until their arrests by Schuyler County deputies shortly before 7:30 a.m., protesters blocked all traffic from leaving and entering the facility, including two tanker trucks. Watkins Glen police assisted in the arrests. All 21 were transported to the Schuyler County sheriff’s department, charged with disorderly conduct, ticketed, and released.

Lisa Marshall, 48, of Horseheads in Chemung County, arrested with her daughter, delivered a message to Governor Cuomo while blockading. “Governor Cuomo, New York’s families are full of resolve, but we can’t do it alone. Help us stand up to the bullies here at Seneca Lake, Crestwood and Con Ed. And help us take a stand against FERC … that shows such disregard for New York’s water, safety, health, climate, and for your own good plans to make our state a leader in renewable energy.”  [Full text of statement below.]

The group held banners that read, “New York Families Against Crestwood/Con Ed” and “99.1% Said No / Shame on FERC!”

99.1 represents the percentage of public comments received by FERC that expressed opposition to gas storage expansion: 332 out of 335 comments received during the public comment period were against the expansion. In spite of this overwhelming citizen opposition, FERC’s last-minute permit extension, giving Crestwood’s Arlington subsidiary another two years to build out its natural gas storage facility, was granted on May 16.

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.

The total number of arrests in the nineteen-month-old civil disobedience campaign now stands at 585.

Bob Eklund, 63, of New Lisbon in Otsego County, who was arrested with his daughter, said, “While I applaud Governor Cuomo for the wisdom he displayed in banning fracking in our state, I would ask that he show the same wisdom in doing everything in his power to halt further infrastructure build-out here in New York. We must build infrastructure for renewable energy, not for fossil fuels. We can do it. We must do it.”

Ellen Grady, 53, of Ithaca in Tompkins County, who was arrested with her two sisters, said, “The decision on the part of FERC to give Crestwood more time to complete its expansion project is totally irresponsible. This is the time when our government should be encouraging renewable energy, not helping gas companies expand their very life-threatening work.”

Gabriel Shapiro, 19, of Ithaca in Tompkins County, who was arrested with his father, said, “FERC represents one component of the powerful partnership between energy and politics, a system based on exploitation and protected by deceit. This moment requires us to make clear the crimes being committed by our government.”

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.

This morning’s action follows immediately on the heels of other actions directed at FERC-enabled gas infrastructure projects in New York State. Yesterday, FERC opponents in Peekskill, New York locked themselves into a shipping container at a construction site for Spectra Energy’s Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) pipeline that would run within 400 feet of the Indian Point nuclear power plant. On Saturday, 21 civil disobedients were arrested after forming a human blockade at the Peekskill site. On May 21, NY Senators Schumer and Gillibrand  joining an earlier call by Governor Cuomo, urged FERC to halt construction of the AIM pipeline, citing safety concerns and the need for more study.

The 21 arrested at Seneca Lake today were:

Marguerite (Peggy) Abbott, 65, Phelps, Ontario County

Heather Mackenzie Cook, 54, Dundee, Yates County

Colleen A. Coss, 61, West Henrietta, Monroe County

Timothy Dunlap, 61, Hector, Schuyler County

Katie Marie Eklund, 18, New Lisbon, Otsego County

Robert Eklund, 63, New Lisbon, Otsego County

Clare T. Grady, 57, Ithaca, Tompkins County

Ellen Grady, 53, Ithaca, Tompkins County

Teresa Grady, 51, Ithaca, Tompkins County

Hervie Harris, 70, Elmira, Chemung County

Margaret R. Harris, 65, Elmira, Chemung County

Nathan Lewis, 33, Hector, Schuyler County

Grace Evelyn Marshall, 18, Horseheads, Chemung County

Lisa Marshall, 48, Horseheads, Chemung County

Sandra Marshall, 67, Newfield, Tompkins County

Kelly Morris, 57, Danby, Tompkins County

Jeanne Olivett, 69, Jacksonville, Tompkins County

Barbara Perrone, 42, Caroline, Tompkins County

Todd Saddler, 51, Ithaca, Tompkins County

Elan Shapiro, 68, Ithaca, Tompkins County

Gabriel Shapiro, 19, Ithaca, Tompkins County

 

Full text of Lisa Marshall’s statement:

Hi, everyone. My name is Lisa Marshall. I’m 48 years old, and I live in Horseheads, New York.

Horseheads is the place where the Millennium Pipeline connects with the Dominion Pipeline. And those very pipelines are both connected to the abandoned salt caverns right under our feet here on the banks of Seneca Lake where Crestwood, along with its new partner Con Ed, seeks to store massive amounts of fracked gas.

Now the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, FERC, has just approved a two-year extension for this reckless project. This decision, along with the nearly one billion dollars that Con Ed just dumped into Crestwood’s pockets, is why we are here today.

The families of the Finger Lakes are threatened by gas storage in salt caverns, while the families of the Southern Tier and elsewhere are threatened by the pipelines that will be fed by these salt caverns.

Hence, I am risking arrest today with my 18-year-old daughter, Grace, who just voted in her first election.

I have three beautiful children who have a bright future ahead of them but for the threat of climate change. We are an all-American family. My husband Geoff served in the Navy for 21 years, and we’ve done everything within our power to protect and nurture our kids.

Here’s our story. Six years ago, shortly after we moved here from Pensacola, Florida, I awoke to the news that the Deepwater Horizon oil rig had exploded, killing 11 men and sending untold gallons of crude oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico. The spill went on and on and on for 87 days; no one knew how to stop it.

This catastrophe hit close to home for us. Big balls of tar and dead fish washed up on the pristine white sand beaches where my children had played.

My son Charlie, who was eight years old, began building contraptions out of Legos to try to stop the oil spill. Seeing this disaster through the eyes of my own sweet child struck me to the core. It hit me that the fossil fuel juggernaut was on a course to destroy human life. I knew that I could not keep my children healthy and safe as long as the fossil fuel industry was hell bent on their destruction.

So here I am. I am proud to stand in the way of Crestwood’s dangerous gas storage project along with other parents and their young adult children, along with husbands, wives, and sisters and brothers. Standing here blocking trucks, I feel that I am doing my mother’s job.

And I bring three messages with me. The first one is to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

FERC, shame on you!  Your permission slip to Crestwood is outrageous. This two-year extension sanctions a project that threatens drinking water, imperils the climate, keeps New York dependent on fracked gas, and flies in the face of public opinion.

Indeed, 99.1 percent of the hundreds of comments that FERC received from ordinary families like us were OPPOSED to the extension and to gas storage itself. Nobody wants Seneca Lake turned into a gas station.

FERC, you know that, and we know that.

The second message is to mothers and fathers. Though my own children are all teenagers now—Grace here is 18 and headed to college in the fall—it is still my job to do what I can to keep them healthy and safe. I’ve realized the only way I can do this is to fight climate change, fight fossil fuel build-out, and fight for immediate, large-scale investment in renewable energy.

Mothers and fathers, I implore you. Will you stand up and fight with me? Will you join me in fighting for a livable planet for our kids?

My final message is to our governor. Governor Cuomo, New York’s families are full of resolve, but we can’t do it alone. Help us stand up to the bullies here at Seneca Lake, Crestwood and Con Ed. And help us take a stand against FERC, the federal agency in Washington that shows such disregard for New York’s water, safety, health, climate, and for your own good plans to make our state a leader in renewable energy.

Join us in saving Seneca Lake, Governor Cuomo. Tell FERC they’re not the boss of you.

This is the defining issue of our time. This is the issue that will test our mettle and show us who were truly are as a people. Will we allow ourselves to be extinguished for the short-term profit of the oil and gas profiteers?

Or will we say to them, as we say to our children when they are unruly, “Stop it right now! Mom has had enough!”

 

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 11:34 am

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May 262016
 

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We Are Seneca Lake Responds to FERC Approval of Extension for Gas Storage Permit

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May 172016
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 17, 2016

Contact: Lindsay Speer, 315.383.7210lindsayspeer@gmail.com

We Are Seneca Lake Responds to FERC Approval of Extension for Gas Storage Permit

Statement from Sandra Steingraber on behalf of We Are Seneca Lake

 

“At 6 p.m. on May 16, the Federal Emergency Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted a last-minute permit extension  giving Crestwood’s Arlington subsidiary another two years to expand its natural gas storage facility in decrepit salt caverns next to Seneca Lake in the heart of New York’s wine country.

“In so doing, FERC has enabled Crestwood to continue to pollute, risk calamity to water, air, and land, and deepen New York’s dependency on fossil fuels. Once again, FERC is putting the interests of fossil fuel companies over public welfare, climate, safety, and health.

“We Are Seneca Lake condemns this decision, which compels residents of the Finger Lakes to live with risks to which we did not consent. Crestwood is under investigation by the EPA for massive brine spills in North Dakota and has routinely violated its water quality permits for the U.S. Salt facility, adjacent to the Seneca Lake 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 resulted in loss of life.

“Tellingly, 99.1 percent of the public comments submitted to FERC’s docket expressed opposition to extending the permit (332 out of 335 comments). Of the three comments in favor of the extension, two came from Crestwood’s Arlington project itself.

“This dismissive, reckless decision comes only hours after more than 100 New Yorkers rallied outside the Consolidated Edison shareholders meeting in downtown Manhattan to demand that Con Ed back out of the deal to co-own the gas storage facility with Crestwood. And it took place on the same day that seven climate activists were arrested outside FERC headquarters in Washington DC while protesting the agency’s rubber stamp approval of fracked gas infrastructure projects of all kinds. Clearly, FERC’s rubber stamp is alive and well.

“We Are Seneca Lake remains committed to opposing gas storage at Seneca Lake. Our direct action campaign has continued strong for a year and a half and will continue as long as it has to. We won’t stop until Crestwood stops.”

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 Posted by at 12:47 am

We Are Seneca Lake Unites with NYC Advocates Protest Con Ed Investment in Underground Fracked Gas Storage Facilities

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May 162016
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, May 16, 2016

Contact: Lindsay Speer, We Are Seneca Lake, 315-383-7210 lindsayspeer@creatingchangeconsulting.com

 

Photos:  http://www.wearesenecalake.com/wasl-nyc-pix/

Video:  http://www.wearesenecalake.com/wasl-nyc-vid/

 

We Are Seneca Lake Unites with NYC Advocates to Protest Con Ed Investment in Underground Fracked Gas Storage Facilities

 

“An Aliso Canyon-style disaster in New Yorks wine country is not worth the risk!” says actor James Cromwell and others outside Con Ed shareholder meeting

 

May 16, 2016 – New York, NY—More than 100 upstate and downstate New Yorkers joined forces today in a demonstration against Consolidated Edison’s recently announced $975 million investment in fracked gas infrastructure, including a controversial gas storage facility in old salt mines at Seneca Lake in the heart of New York’s wine country.

Joined by New York City-based climate and environmental justice advocates, unions, and actor James Cromwell, Finger Lakes residents made their voices heard outside of the Con Edison annual shareholder meeting. This diverse community minded group assembled to call for an end to risky gas storage projects in the Finger Lakes and for Con Ed instead to put its resources into energy efficiency and renewable energy.

While demonstrators outside the shareholder meeting urged Con Ed to back out of the risky deal, We Are Seneca Lake activist and environmental consultant John Dennis, PhD, delivered a similar message, speaking for eight minutes, inside the meeting to the shareholders themselves. Dennis drew attention in particular to the geologic and water quality risks associated with the Seneca Lake facility, while also questioning the wisdom of a partnership with Crestwood Equity Partners, which has a troubled record of environmental violations throughout the United States.  Dennis hand-delivered a letter from the Finger Lakes Wine Business Coalition stating their concerns and opposition to the project.

“Seneca Lake is the heart of Finger Lakes wine country,” explained winemaker Will Ouweleen. “We simply can’t afford any accidents there.”

“We can’t believe Con Ed would invest, and become liable, in this facility, particularly under continued Crestwood management,” noted Jan Quarles, a Seneca County farm owner, during a press conference outside Con Ed headquarters near Union Square. “Does Con Ed, its shareholders and ratepayers really want this risk? The methane leak in Porter Ranch, California was a complete disaster and forced 5000 people to evacuate, and SoCalGas is being sued for over $2 billion.  New York can’t afford that.”

“Crestwood has a terrible history of water quality violations and brine spills,” she continued. “Our drinking water, our health, and our sustainable economy based on farming and viticulture are beyond value and cannot afford to be compromised.”

Chanting “No Porter Ranch in New York” and “Break free from fossil fuels,” the protesters held banners that read “We will not be Con-ned #BreakFree” and “Say no to fracked gas infrastructure,” and confronted shareholders as they arrived for the annual meeting.

Con Ed’s joint venture with Crestwood Equity Partners is to “own and expand” four underground methane gas storage facilities and three pipelines in the Northeast, including the Seneca Lake facility. Bloomberg reports the joint venture is expected to be finalized in the second quarter. Demonstrating opposition to the danger posed by this project, over 550 area residents who call themselves “We Are Seneca Lake” have been arrested peacefully protesting this facility in the two years since the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved construction.  Since then, Crestwood’s stock has plummeted, and notably Crestwood has teetered on bankruptcy for the past year.

No construction has begun to date.

Thirty-one municipalities and 372 businesses have also voiced opposition to gas storage in salt caverns under the shores of Seneca Lake, and FERC has been flooded with comments opposing the extension of the project’s construction permit, thanks to years of organizing work by Gas Free Seneca.

Maria Castaneda, Secretary Treasurer of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, the largest healthcare union in the nation said, “As healthcare workers and community members, we are opposed to the building of this gas storage facility because it could be a threat to clean drinking water and public health.”

“We oppose efforts to expand dependence on fossil fuels that exacerbate the crisis of climate change, and instead support the creation of good, middle-class green energy jobs,” Castaneda continued. “It’s fundamentally wrong to build out the infrastructure for fracking, which is known to be toxic and dangerous for human health. We stand in solidarity with the Finger Lakes against the risks of this project.”

“Communities across New York are fighting to protect themselves from an onslaught of fracked natural gas pipelines, storage, and power plants,” said Irene Weiser, a town councilmember in the Finger Lakes region and organizer of Fossil Free Tompkins. “Together we banned fracking in New York – now we’re standing together, united against all fossil fuel expansion.  Our futures depend on it!”

Methane is 86 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide over a twenty year timeframe, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  A 2015 study found that methane leakage rates from gas infrastructure have been nationally underreported due to a faulty sensor in the device used to measure such emissions at each site. A study from the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences in March 2016 found that methane emissions in the United States have increased by 30% over the past decade.

Annel Hernandez of NYC Environmental Justice Alliance said, “it’s the communities that can least afford it – low income, people of color – that bear the biggest costs of climate change.  We need Con Ed to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy infrastructure, not tie itself to risky fossil fuels.”

Con Ed’s bet on methane gas as New York City’s energy future undermines New York’s commitment to 50 percent of all electricity consumed in New York State is to result from renewable energy sources by 2030, as laid out in the Clean Energy Standard.

“Creating ‘sacrifice zones’ upstate will only result in New York City becoming a sacrifice zone itself as the sea levels rise,” Cromwell concluded.  “This is an incredible opportunity to bring all these movements together.  When we recognize the interconnection between all the issues – economic justice, racial justice, justice for women – and stand together, we will win.”

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We Are Seneca Lake is an ongoing, citizen-based, grassroots campaign that seeks to protect Seneca Lake and the surrounding region from gas storage expansion by Texas-based energy company, Crestwood Midstream. Crestwood’s intention is to repurpose the crumbling salt mines underneath Seneca Lake’s hillside into massive, unlined gas tanks for three highly pressurized products of fracking: methane (natural gas), and propane and butane (LPG, or Liquefied Petroleum Gases) and to turn the Finger Lakes into a fracked gas transportation and storage hub for the entire Northeast. Our intention is to direct the future of our community down sustainable, renewable pathways.

 

 

Danielle Filson

BerlinRosen Public Affairs

(O) 646.335.0443

(C) 860.707.3584

danielle.filson@berlinrosen.com

 

 Posted by at 1:49 pm

WASL NYC Rally pictures

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May 162016
 

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15 Arrested Protesting Con Ed’s Joint Venture with Crestwood at Seneca Lake During Week of Global Action Against Fossil Fuels

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May 052016
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 5, 2016

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

 

photos: http://www.wearesenecalake.com/we-will-not-be-conned-pix/

video: http://www.wearesenecalake.com/we-will-not-be-conned-vid/

press release: http://www.wearesenecalake.com/we-will-not-be-conned/

 

15 Arrested Protesting Con Ed’s Joint Venture with Crestwood at Seneca Lake During Week of Global Action Against Fossil Fuels

 

We Are Seneca Lake warns downstate Con Ed ratepayers of bad deal; calls on Con Ed to ‘break free’ of gas infrastructure build-out; SUNY Geneseo senior arrested wearing graduation cap; two Cornell U students join blockade

 

Watkins Glen, NY – In an act of civil disobedience aimed at the recently announced gas storage partnership between downstate energy giant Consolidated Edison and Houston-based Crestwood Midstream, 15 residents from across the Finger Lakes, the Southern Tier, Albany, and Long Island formed a human chain across the main entrance of Crestwood.

Starting at 7 a.m. and continuing until their arrests by Schuyler County deputies for disorderly conduct shortly after 8 a.m., protesters blocked tanker trucks from leaving and entering the facility.

The group held banners that read, “Crestwood + Con Ed = Bad Deal for NYS” and “We Will Not Be Con’Ed.”

Three of the 15, who ranged in age from 19 to 73, were Schuyler County residents. Another three were college students.

With her commencement ceremony days away, SUNY Geneseo honors student, Julia Mizutani, 22, was arrested wearing her graduation cap.

Cornell students Elizabeth Chi, 19, and Gabrielle Illava, 27, were also arrested with the group.

This morning’s protest was a direct response to the April 21 announcement by utility giant Consolidated Edison that it had formed a joint venture with Crestwood Equity Partners to own three pipelines and four gas storage facilities, including the controversial Seneca Lake storage facility where Houston-based Crestwood has been pursuing a massive expansion project. Con Ed will invest $975 million to own a 50 percent stake in the newly named entity, dubbed Stagecoach Gas Services.

The protest was timed to correspond with a two-week wave of civil disobedience actions against fossil fuel projects that is taking place all around the world under the banner Break Free 2016.

Among those arrested this morning was the co-founder and executive editor of Fresh Dirt magazine, Rebecca Barry, 48, of Trumansburg in Tompkins County.  As part of a statement of solidarity with residents of New York City, where she lived for ten years, Barry said, “Everyone who lives downstate is a Con Ed ratepayer, and, with this 50 percent purchase in Crestwood’s gas storage facility at Seneca Lake, they are all now participating in a threat to an important source of drinking water here in the Finger Lakes.”

“Water matters. I can’t believe I have to fight for this idea,” Barry continued. “Con Ed, the whole world is going renewable, which we have to do. Help New Yorkers lead the way. Let wine, food, and culture connect the Finger Lakes to Manhattan, not pipelines and salt caverns full of fracked gas.”

Fresh Dirt is a profile-driven, green living magazine that celebrates sustainability in the Finger Lakes region.

The protesters this morning were all charged with disorderly conduct and transported to the Schuyler County Sheriff’s department, where they were ticketed and released.

The total number of arrests in the eighteen-month-old civil disobedience campaign now stands at 564.

Laura Salamendra, 32, Geneva, Ontario County, said,  “I’m here today to introduce myself to Con Edison. I’m a daughter, a sister, and an aunt who will fiercely protect her family from the threats associated with Crestwood’s dangerous gas storage plan. The people of the Finger Lakes oppose this project and if Con Edison plans to align with Crestwood, they should plan on seeing a lot of me and my fellow defenders.”

  1. Timothy Walcott, 64, of Johnson City in Broome County, said, “I stand in solidarity for the protection of Seneca Lake and its environs. Con Ed may be leading white horses for Crestwood, aka Stagecoach Gas Services, but they are wearing black hats.”

Crestwood’s methane gas storage expansion project was 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.

The 15 arrested today were:

Rebecca Barry, 48, Trumansburg, Tompkins County

Marie Ely Baumgardner, 68, Burdett, Schuyler County

Elizabeth Chi, 19, Great Neck, Nassau County

Timothy Dunlap, 61, Hector, Schuyler County

Wesley Ernsberger, 68, Owego, Tioga County

Jim Gregoire, 47, Geneva, Ontario County

Gretchen Herrmann, 67, Ithaca, Tompkins County

Gabrielle Illava, 27, Ithaca, Tompkins County

Gale Lyons, 73, Elmira, Chemung County

Julia Mizutani, 22, Geneseo, Livingston County

Jeanne Olivett, 69, Jacksonville, Tompkins County

Lory Peck, 65, Cayutaville, Schuyler County

Laura Salamendra, 32, Geneva, Ontario County

Regi L. Teasley, 64, Ithaca, Tompkins County

  1. Timothy Wolcott, 64, Johnson City, Broome County

 

Full text of Rebecca Barry’s statement:

My name is Rebecca Barry. I am a 48-year-old mother of two boys, ages 12 and 10, and I am also the co-founder and executive editor of a magazine called Fresh Dirt, which celebrates sustainable living here in the Finger Lakes.

Although I’m a native of this place, like a lot of writers, I got my professional start in New York City, where I lived for ten years.

And as an upstate resident with downstate roots who loves both places, I would like to talk to Consolidated Edison.

Con Ed recently joined together with the Texas gas company called Crestwood to jointly own the abandoned salt caverns here at Seneca Lake—right under our feet where we are standing.

Their plan, for which Con Ed laid down nearly a billion dollars, is to store massive amounts of fracked gas here in an underground facility like the one that catastrophically failed this past fall in California and caused 5,000 people to be evacuated from their homes.

It’s a plan that involves not just Seneca Lake but three other gas storage facilities in both upstate New York and Pennsylvania, along with three pipelines, and it will keep downstate New Yorkers hooked on dirty fossil fuels for years to come.

In a time of climate emergency, this is no way to link downstate with upstate.

Everyone who lives downstate is a Con Ed ratepayer, and, with this 50 percent purchase in Crestwood’s gas storage facility at Seneca Lake, they are all now participating in a threat to an important source of drinking water here in the Finger Lakes.

Water matters. I can’t believe I have to fight for this idea.

Con Ed, the whole world is going renewable, which we have to do. Help New Yorkers lead the way. Let wine, food, and culture connect the Finger Lakes to Manhattan, not pipelines and salt caverns full of fracked gas that threaten vast bodies of water and wineries that win awards all over the world.

Creativity and progressive ideas connect upstate to downstate, including ideas that help move us into a sustainable future. I know because I profile these ideas in my magazine, and I’ve seen over and over that an economy based on renewable energy is a lived reality here.

The symbiosis between the Finger Lakes and New York City is all about wine, bread, and models for sustainable living.

And it all depends on water.

As a mother, as a writer, as an editor, as a former Manhattanite and as a current resident of the Finger Lakes, I’m risking arrest today to protect our upstate water from dangerous fracked gas infrastructure before it locks downstate communities into evermore fossil fuel dependency.

To New Yorkers in the city: join us. Tell Con Ed you want investments in renewable energy not potentially catastrophic fossil fuel projects that endanger drinking water 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.

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 11:27 am

We will not be conned

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May 052016
 

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 Posted by at 9:44 am