FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 6, 2016
media contact: Sandra Steingraber, 607.351.0719; firstname.lastname@example.org
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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