FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – January 11, 2016
media contact: Sandra Steingraber 607.351.0719
Blockaders Toast to a New Year of No Gas Storage Expansion at Crestwood
Six arrested in civil disobedience action this morning
Watkins Glen, NY – In the first action of 2016, six We Are Seneca Lake protesters from five different New York counties toasted the New Year with apple cider, resolved to continue their campaign, and called for urgent action to protect the climate as they formed a human chain across the north entrance of Crestwood Midstream on Route 14 shortly before 9 a.m. this morning.
They blocked a tanker truck and a pick-up truck before their arrest by Schuyler County deputies.
Today’s blockaders held banners that said, “Crestwood = Climate Crisis” and “2016: Out with the Old. In with ReNEWables.”
All were transported to the Schuyler County Sheriff’s department, charged with disorderly conduct, and released.
Mother, grandmother, and art teacher Lyndsay Clark, 54, of Springwater, Livingston County, led fellow blockaders in a toast:
“We Are Seneca Lake resolves to protect and defend this water below us and this climate above us from reckless gas storage every day this year. If there is no other way, we will peacefully stand in the way. 2016 is the year of climate action, and we hereby resolve to act.”
Environmental researcher and blockader John Dennis, PhD, 65, of Lansing, Tompkins County, noted, “Some of these natural gas storage caverns were drilled in the 1950s. They could fail and release methane into the atmosphere just as has the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage cavern that is currently releasing methane into the atmosphere near Los Angeles.”
The total number of arrests in the sixteen-month-old civil disobedience campaign now stands at 460.
The We Are Seneca Lake movement opposes Crestwood’s plans for methane and LPG storage in lakeside salt caverns and has been ongoing since October 2014.
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.
The six arrested today were:
Michael Bucci, 67, Walton, Delaware County
Lyndsay Clark, 54, Springwater, Livingston County
John Dennis, 65, Lansing, Tompkins County
Michael Dineen, 67, Ovid, Seneca County
Lynn Donaldson, 72, Keuka Park, Yates County
Mariana Morse, 67, Caroline, Tompkins County
Read more about the 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.
Read 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/.
Background on the protests:
Protesters have been blocking the Crestwood gas storage facility gates since Thursday, October 23, 2014, 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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