Paris Comes Homes to Seneca Lake
We Are Seneca Lake Red Line Blockade
Marking the One-Year Anniversary of the New York State Fracking Ban
December 17, 2015
Delivered by: Colleen Boland
Five days ago, I marched in the streets of Paris with 10,000 other people from around the world—including three other Seneca Lake Defenders, Lauren Eastwood, Sandra Steingraber, and Lee Ziesche.
And while we marched, ministers and heads of state from nearly every country on Earth were huddled in a room on the other side of the city. They were working to finalize the first global treaty that commits all nations to efforts to curb climate change.
It’s called the Paris Agreement; some call it the Paris Accord.
In that room, surrounded by high security, negotiators were redlining the draft agreement. Which is to say, they were making the final revisions and marking places in the text where further compromise was not acceptable.
Meanwhile, out on the streets, ordinary people like us were throwing down some red lines of our own.
The long strips of red cloth that stretched down Avenue de la Grande Armée showed that climate change is an emergency. These red lines showed that climate change is a crime against humanity. They showed that, no matter what the heads of state decided, we the people will never compromise in our efforts to bring an end to the fossil fuel era by mid-century.
These red lines show that we understand the urgency of the science, which makes clear that a shift to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 is the only path that limits warming to 1.5 degrees and leads to a reasonable shot at climate safety.
On top of these red lines, the Parisian marchers laid down red flowers. They represented the lives already lost by climate change and by the wars and acts of terror that an unstable climate feeds.
Here, today is our red line action at the gates of Crestwood.
With this red line laid down across Crestwood’s driveway, we declare that its plans to store fracked gases in abandoned salt caverns on Seneca Lake constitutes an emergency.
We declare that these plans threaten our water, our children, and our climate.
This red line is also a symbol of our resolve and uncompromising spirit as members of civil society. For the sake of life itself, we demand an immediate and just transition to renewable energy. Crestwood’s plans for gas storage expansion are an obstacle to that necessary future.
This red line also celebrates the one-year anniversary of New York’s ban on fracking, declared on December 17, 2014 while 28 Seneca Lake Defenders stood on this very spot.
This red line indicates that the fracking ban is not complete without a companion ban on fracking infrastructure, including a ban on proposed pipelines, compressor stations, and gas storage facilities.
This red line declares our solidarity with the people of Porter Ranch, California who have been evacuated from their homes due to a massive, ongoing leak of methane from an underground gas storage facility in Aliso Canyon. The red line protest in Porter Ranch, which took place last Sunday, is inspiration for our own here today.
This red line indicates immediacy. Our trigger for action will not wait for mass evacuation.
And these red carnations, laid on top of this red line, symbolize all those whose lives have already been lost to climate change. We know this death toll includes 71 fellow New Yorkers who died as a result of Hurricane Sandy.
And finally, with this red line we declare our intent—with renewed resolve—to protect life and prevent death. And to do so, we will stand in the way of fossil fuel expansion projects just as we have done for the past year and just as we do here today.
Vive la Seneca Lake!