Big One Down! But More to Go . . .

CPNY celebrates the NYS ban on fracking, but knows it’s only one piece of the ongoing fossil fuel threat.

The Coalition to Protect New York’s grassroots members are greatly relieved that it’s almost certain New York will not allow fracking. Governor Cuomo has given us a holiday gift in announcing that he has truly left the decision to science, and that common sense prevailed.

Dr. Howard Zucker, who did a health assessment, and Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner Peter Martens came to the only possible conclusion— that fracking harms human health and our environment and should not be undertaken.

This decision came about because of the hard work of thousands of people — scientists, health practitioners, veterinarians, and primarily grassroots activists. These individuals have tirelessly and without fanfare sponsored public forums, panels, and screenings; gone door-to-door to educate their neighbors and local officials; lobbied state officials; rallied; bird-dogged the governor; protested infrastructure buildout; spoken to the media; and written countless public comments, brochures, letters, op-eds, websites, research studies, white papers, policy briefs, testimonials, even documentary films and books.

“There are a lot of heroes in this movement,” said Jack Ossont, one of CPNY’s cofounders. “Perhaps none are as worthy of kudos as attorneys David and Helen Slottje. Their tireless work through their public-interest law firm Community Environmental Defense Council, Inc. gave hope to the scores of towns that have passed strong local bans that stood through challenges in the highest courts in the state.”

CPNY is celebrating this victory along with the many other groups in the state that helped make it happen. But we are not blind to the proliferation of fracking and fossil fuel infrastructure going on all around us, right here in “frack-free” New York State. “We know we must keep our focus to stop the pipelines, compressor stations, water withdrawal for fracking, and brine spreading that are already here,” said another CPNY cofounder, David Walczak. “At least five New York State landfills are accepting radioactive frack waste from Pennsylvania. And of course in the Finger Lakes, we must continue to defy the Crestwood corporation’s dangerous gas storage on Seneca Lake, where more than 130 protesters have been arrested in the last two months.”

It’s good to take a brief breather, but the fossil fuel corporations have been laying their plans for years and are bound and determined to destroy our future. We must stop them.

Meanwhile, the many, many volunteers who helped make this ban happen should congratulate themselves for their selfless hard work. “One lovely gift we can thank the governor for this holiday season,” said CPNY’s Maura Stephens, “is a bit more restful sleep—something we have been living without for years.”

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Chemung County Legislature Monthly Meeting

When: View in Calendar » January 12, 2015 @ 9:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Repeats: Monthly on 2nd Monday - forever
Where: View Map » John H. Hazlett Building, 203 Lake Street, Elmira,NY 14901, USA

Meets second Mondays, 7:00 p.m., in Elmira. At this legislature, the public is “allowed” to speak, but it’s quite apparent that nobody’s listening.

 

Save S-VE Monthly Meeting Date Change: Friday, Jan. 16

When: View in Calendar » January 16, 2015 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Where: View Map » St Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, 30 West Tioga Street, Spencer,NY 14883, USA

Save S-VE will hold its first meeting of the new year at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, January 16, 6:00 p.m. The Chemung County Legislature’s outrageous decision earlier this week to approve the Casella corporation’s “environmental impact statement,” despite sustained vocal opposition from the public, we have much to discuss, including upcoming public forums and projects.

DEC Constitution Pipeline Hearings in Oneonta Tues. Jan. 13

When: View in Calendar » January 10, 2015 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Where: View Map » SUNY Oneonta, Lecture Hall IRC , 108 Ravine Parkway, Oneonta,NY 13820, USA

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is holding public hearings on the “Constitution” Pipeline, the 124-mile federal transmission pipeline intended to stretch from the fracklands of northern Pennsylvania into New York State through Broome, Chenango, Delaware, Otsego, and Schoharie counties, ending near Albany.

This “UnConstitutional” Pipeline, as horrified residents have dubbed it, would tear through the Catskills and adversely affect local ecosystems, forests, habitats, waterways, and personal property.

The pipeline was already approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (which permits just about every harmful corporate project that comes before it). Not surprisingly, FERC did not bother to assess the environmental impact of the projects as required under the National Environmental Policy Act. Nor did FERC balk that the corporations failed to obtain many key permits, including the Section 401 Water Quality Certification from New York State, required under the Clean Water Act.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has the authority to prevent the project from moving forward by denying the required water quality certificate. If a responsible agency were in charge, it would do so because of the obvious failure of this proposed project to meet NYS water quality standards. According to Catskill Mountainkeeper, once it enters New York, the pipeline would cross 20 aquifers, four public water supply watersheds, and 207 waterbodies, with impacts on 75 acres of wetlands.

Copies of the FEIS and DEC permit application documents can be viewed online at www.constitution pipeline.com. Printed copies are available at the Broome County Public Library, 185 Court St., Binghamton.

Hearings are being held on Monday January 12 in Binghamton, Tuesday January 13 in Oneonta, and Wednesday January 14 in Cobleskill, all starting at 6:00 p.m. (and presumably lasting as long as there are speakers).

If you cannot make it in person, organizers ask that you submit written comment, which are also being accepted through Jan. 30.

Visit StopThePipeline.org for more information.

DEC Constitution Pipeline Hearings in Binghamton Monday Jan. 12

When: View in Calendar » January 12, 2015 @ 6:00 pm - 10:30 pm
Where: View Map » East Middle School, 167 East Frederick Street, Binghamton,NY 13904, USA

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is holding public hearings on the “Constitution” Pipeline, the 124-mile federal transmission pipeline intended to stretch from the fracklands of northern Pennsylvania into New York State through Broome, Chenango, Delaware, Otsego, and Schoharie counties, ending near Albany.

This “UnConstitutional” Pipeline, as horrified residents have dubbed it, would tear through the Catskills and adversely affect local ecosystems, forests, habitats, waterways, and personal property.

The pipeline was already approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (which permits just about every harmful corporate project that comes before it). Not surprisingly, FERC did not bother to assess the environmental impact of the projects as required under the National Environmental Policy Act. Nor did FERC balk that the corporations failed to obtain many key permits, including the Section 401 Water Quality Certification from New York State, required under the Clean Water Act.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has the authority to prevent the project from moving forward by denying the required water quality certificate. If a responsible agency were in charge, it would do so because of the obvious failure of this proposed project to meet NYS water quality standards. According to Catskill Mountainkeeper, once it enters New York, the pipeline would cross 20 aquifers, four public water supply watersheds, and 207 waterbodies, with impacts on 75 acres of wetlands.

Copies of the FEIS and DEC permit application documents can be viewed online at www.constitution pipeline.com. Printed copies are available at the Broome County Public Library, 185 Court St., Binghamton.

Hearings will be held on Monday January 12 in Binghamton, Tuesday January 13 in Oneonta, and Wednesday January 14 in Cobleskill, all starting at 6:00 p.m. (and presumably lasting as long as there are speakers).

If you cannot make it in person, organizers ask that you submit written comment, which are also being accepted through Jan. 30.

Saugerties Public Forum: “Danger! Pilgrim Oil Pipelines Coming Through Our Town?”

When: View in Calendar » January 10, 2015 @ 3:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Where: View Map » Saugerties Senior Citizens Center, 207 Market Street, Saugerties,NY 12477, USA
Contact: Sue Rosenberg
1-845-246-3449
cappsny@gmail.com

Speakers: Kate Hudson, Jen Metzger, Kathy Nolan
Sponsors: Coalition Against Pilgrim Pipeline Saugerties NY (CAPPSNY), Frack Free Catskills
Co-Sponsors: Esopus Creek Conservancy, Protecting Our Waters
Contact: cappsny@gmail.com / 845-246-3449 – Sue Rosenberg

The increasingly controversial bi-directional pipelines proposed by Pilgrim Pipeline Holdings, LLC, have now been opposed in resolutions passed by 30 municipalities in New York and New Jersey. The pipelines would come through Saugerties if approved, carrying fracked crude oil from Albany down the NY State Thruway corridor to refineries in New Jersey, and “refined products” back north. To make sure the facts about Pilgrim Pipelines are well understood, all are welcome to attend tomorrow’s forum.

From the Coalition Against Pilgrim Pipeline Saugerties New York (CAPPSNY):

“Kate Hudson from Riverkeeper, Jen Metzger from Citizens for Local Power, the Coalition Against Pilgrim Pipeline, and Kathy Nolan from Catskill Mountainkeeper will speak, answer questions, and explore actions we can take to protect our community.

Saugerties landowners who have already been approached by Pilgrim for permission to access their property for an initial survey are particularly encouraged to attend, as there are concerns about the information some report to have been given.

Information on the resolutions passed by some other towns along the proposed thruway route calling on the NYS Thruway Authority to reject use of the right of way to carry this crude oil and asking Gov. Cuomo and the DEC to oppose the pipeline will also be available.

Please join us.

CAPPSNY Flyer excerpt:

What are the Possible Risks?
Pipeline leaks, oil spills, explosive chemicals, compressor stations that emit toxic air pollutants, construction, traffic

How Can Saugerties Protect Itself?

* Learn all we can about the risks
* Keep them off our land: Saugerties Landowners have been approached by Pilgrim Pipeline representatives. You have the Right to Deny them Access to your Land!
* Pass local and county resolutions: Kingston, Rosendale, New Paltz (town and village), Woodstock, Rochester, Marbletown, Rhinebeck and 22 New Jersey towns already passed resolutions opposing the Pilgrim Pipeline

 

“We Are Seneca Lake” Arraignments Alternate Wednesdays, Town of Reading

When: View in Calendar » January 8, 2015 @ 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Repeats: Weekly on Wednesday until May 30, 2015
Where: View Map » Reading Town Court, 3914 County Route 28, Watkins Glen,NY 14891, USA

Every other Wednesday for the foreseeable future, activist arrestees will have their time before Justice Raymond H. Berry in Town of Reading Court, 3914 County Rd. 28, Reading Center, NY 14876. First half of each group will be heard at 5:00 p.m., next at 7:00 p.m.

Dress warmly, as the “public servants” who run the court like to keep people freezing outdoors instead of letting them into the building, although there is plenty of room inside to keep them all warm. And leave your electronics in the car, or you’ll be barred from court, even if you use your phone only as a clock, or want to look something up. The little powers that be like to flex their muscles by making We the People feel subservient and helpless.

Think there’s something wrong with this picture — besides the fact that the wrong people are being accused of crimes?

Still, we can show up and support each other!

Next dates (check WeAreSenecaLake.com for latest updates):

Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015, 5:00 p.m. AND 7:00 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015, 5:00 p.m. AND 7:00 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015

Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Wednesday, April 1, 2015 (April Fool’s)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015 (Tax Day)

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lots of Indy Media Coverage of Ongoing Seneca Lake Protests, Arrests

The now-six-week-long escalating resistance to the Crestwood Midstream gas storage facility in salt caverns along beautiful Seneca Lake has added 93 people to the list of citizens who have been arrested. The peaceful resistance began when Jeremy Alderson, Gary Judson, Susan Walker and others first chained themselves to the fence at Inergy (now Crestwood) gas storage facitlity in September 2012; subsequently,  12 others were arrested, three imprisoned, in 2013.

The latest campaign has been getting a lot of press, including a segment on Democracy Now!

Some of the latest coverage:

From Inside Climate News: “In NY Tourist Haven, Arrests Continue at Methane Storage Project”
From EcoWatch: “6 Jailed, 9 Arrested in Ongoing Fight against Methane Gas Storage”

 

 

Seneca Lake Update from Odessa File, 11/19

http://www.odessafile.com/government-Protest111914.htm

*A busy Crestwood protest day: 9 arrests, a rally, 16 court cases and 3
jail terms*

SCHUYLER COUNTY, Nov. 20 — The number of arrestees protesting the
Crestwood energy firm’s gas storage plans climbed to 52 Wednesday with the
arrest of nine people at two Crestwood gates along Route 14 north of
Watkins Glen.

It was a busy day for the protest community — one that also saw a rally
and two court sessions involving 16 defendants, three of whom chose jail
over a fine.

The day started with a gathering of 30 protesters in Seneca Harbor Park at
7 a.m., followed by carpooling to the two Crestwood gates. The
gate-blocking went on for seven hours in bitter cold temperatures before
police arrested seven men and two women. Three other men had been in one or
the other of the two blockade lines for hours, but departed before police
arrived.

The rally occurred outside the Reading Town Hall, with almost 100
supporters braving the bracing temperatures and gusting winds to hear
speeches strongly urging that protesters continue their civil disobedience.

The two court sessions were both in Reading Town Court, where three of the
16 defendants — including 86-year-old Roland Micklem — opted for jail as
an extended form of protest. Many of the other defendants pled guilty to
Trespass and paid fines, with money provided by funds collected from
supporters of the protest effort. A handful of cases were adjourned
following not-guilty pleas.

*The day’s highlights:*

*1. The nine arrests.*

The group taken into custody included several area business figures.

Arrestees, according to organizers, included:
–Will Ouweleen, Conesus, Livingston County, owner, Eagle Crest and
O-Neh-Da Vineyards;
–Peggy Aker, 57, Trumansburg, owner and founder, Marco Mama’s;
–Stefan Senders, 56, Hector, owner, Wide Awake Bakery;
–Julia Uticone, 40, Cayutaville, Swamp Road Baskets;
–Asa Redmond, 40, Ithaca, Regional Access, a natural food distributor.
Redmond is also the drummer for The Sim Redmond Band.
–And: Anna Redmond, Trumansburg; Jessica Thorpe, Hector; John Dennis,
Lansing; and Chuck Geisler, Ithaca. Geisler had also been arrested on Oct.
29.

Protesting for several hours, organizers said, but not present at the time
of the arrests:
–Phil Davis, 62, Hector, owner, Damiani Wine Cellars;
–Scott Signori, 47, Hector, owner and executive chef, Stonecat Cafe;
–Chris Tate, 52, Hector.

*2. The rally.* Scores gathered outside the Reading Town Hall despite
bone-chilling temperatures to hear a rousing speech from key protester
Sandra Steingraber, who would later plead guilty to trespass, refuse to pay
the fine, and be sentenced to 15 days in jail. She criticized Schuyler
County Sheriff Bill Yessman for remarks he made on TV and online
complaining about the cost of housing protest inmates, and about a fatal
heart attack victim who could not be treated by an EMT-trained deputy
because the deputy had been dispatched to Crestwood.

Steingraber said a 911 call should always take precedence over Crestwood
protesters, and that they didn’t mind being “the bottom rung” on the ladder
of Yessman’s concerns. “He has no obligation to prioritize Crestwood over a
911 call,” she said, adding that if the county personnel “is stretched so
thin, how can they deal with a catastrophic accident?” should one occur at
Crestwood — something protestors and a risk analysis by a former area
hospital CEO say has a good chance of happening over the next 25 years.

She also suggested cutting the 15-day sentences handed down to protesters
to something closer to an overnight stay. “That would reduce the cost,” she
said.

In any event, she added, “We will not give up.” She told the supporters
that she was likely going to jail that night, but didn’t want any
candlelight vigils or communications while she was incarcerated. “Just take
my place” on the protest lines, she said.

Joseph Campbell *(pictured at right)*, president of Gas Free Seneca, said
Yessman’s remarks were “disturbing" because he “more than implied … that
some peaceful protesters, from young mothers to local business owners to
grandmothers and grandfathers, are a threat and are putting the residents
of Schuyler County at risk. While we understand that Sheriff Yessman is
frustrated, perhaps he should realize that those who are risking arrest are
also frustrated, at the utter lack of representation they are getting from
their elected representatives and the agencies that regulate these
projects. People are being arrested for trespassing, but it is a Houston,
Texas-based oil and gas corporation which is the true trespasser here.”

*3. The 5 p.m. court session.* It saw nine cases handled by Town Justice
Raymond Berry that had been held over from court two weeks before. The big
hang-up on Nov. 5 had been an assertion by defendants that they were being
charged unreasonably with Disorderly Conduct in addition to Trespass. The
two charges had been lodged against 7 of 10 arrestees on Oct. 29 — the
starting date for the current wave of 52 arrests. Their argument was that
Disorderly Conduct applies to public property, and Trespass to private
property, and that therefore the two should not reasonably co-exist in
these cases. The District Attorney’s office, represented Wednesday by
Assistant DA John Tunney, concurred, and permitted the DisCon to be dropped
if a defendant pled guilty to Trespass.

Five of the seven jointly charged defendants followed that route, pleading
guilty to Trespass, with three of them — Steingraber, Micklem and Colleen
Boland — refusing to pay the $250 fine and $125 surcharge. They were each
sentenced to 15 days in jail, the Micklem case prompting some catcalls from
the audience and a question from one woman.

“Why can’t you give him community service?” she said, obviously concerned
by the man’s age and health. But the woman got a look from Tunney and a
terse: “You’re not a party to this.”

After they were sentenced, the three were held in the town hall until just
before the start of the 7 p.m. session, when they were led by deputies to a
transport van that had just arrived. Steingraber and Boland walked through
a gauntlet of supporters, cuffed hands held high, while Micklem shuffled
along well behind, walking as always with a cane. A deputy was at his
elbow. Unfortunately, Micklem fell as he tried to descend from curbing to
the parking lot, prompting cries throughout the crowd of “Roland's down!”
After being helped to his feet, he complained of an injured knee and was
seated for comfort in the passenger seat of an adjacent van. Asked if he
wanted medical attention, he said yes, and an ambulance was called.
According to a protest participant who witnessed the ambulance’s arrival,
Micklem decided not to submit to treatment after all, opting for jail, and
was taken there in a squad car.

Among other defendants at that first hearing, Patrick Judson and his mother
Jeanne — originally charged with both Trespass and Disorderly Conduct –
pled guilty to Trespass and paid the fine and surcharge, with funds
provided by supporters. Charles Geisler and Rev. Nancy Kasper, each charged
only with Trespass, pled not guilty, as did Patricia Heckart and Catherine
Rossiter, both charged with Trespass and Disorderly Conduct. The Geisler,
Heckart and Rossiter cases were adjourned to Jan. 21, while Kasper,
requesting a public defender, was told to return on Dec. 7.

*4. The 7 p.m. court session.* Seven cases dating from the arrest Nov. 3rd
of 15 people were handled, with most of the defendants pleading guilty to
Trespass and paying the $250 fine and $125 surcharge from donated funds.
They included Darlene Bordwell, Jodi Dean of Geneva, Lindsay Clark of the
Rochester area, Mariah Plumlee of Interlaken, and Stephanie Redmond, a
mother of three from Ithaca whose husband, Asa, was arrested in Wednesday’s
protest. One defendant, Kenneth Fogarty, 75, of Chenango County, opted to
pay the fine himself over 30 days, while another, 88-year-old Robert Henrie
of Wolcott, Wayne County, asked for a delay in his plea until after he
undergoes surgery for an aneurysm on Dec. 1. He was given a sheet of paper
with instructions to call the court for rescheduling his case, and he said
he would “if I don’t die.”

*5. The statements.* Defendants were generally given the opportunity to
make brief statements, and asked if they wanted anyone notified about their
situation. One woman, Mariah Plumlee, said yes, she would like to have
someone notified about her charges: “Governor Cuomo.” Responded Justice
Berry: “I doubt he’d take my call.” Answered Plumlee: “He hasn’t been
taking mine.”

Another defendant, Stephanie Redmond, said she wanted Sheriff Yessman
notified, with information given him as to “who the actual trespassers are
on Seneca Lake.”

Among the statements, there was Plumlee’s: “I’m really sad and angry to be
here. I don’t like to break the rules; I usually try to follow them. But I
also have principles and children” who, she said, are endangered by the
Crestwood storage projects.

Or that of Kenneth Fogarty, who was one of several defendants requesting a
lighter fine, only to be told by Judge Berry that his hands are tied by New
York regulations. He cannot reduce fines for trespass or the jail sentence,
15 days, for those who refuse to pay the fine. “Justice,” said Fogarty, “is
served best when tempered with compassion. I know you sent a man in his 80s
to jail with great misgivings. I plan to study this further” with an eye
toward mounting a campaign to get the state rules altered.

Or the statement of Jodi Dean, who said: “The (Assistant) DA was saying
‘The People say this’ and ‘the People say that’” when referring to his
office. “But history will show that *we *are the people.”

Or that of Redmond, who said she was participating in the protest because
“I have children, and the laws of motherhood supercede the laws bought and
paid for by large corporations.” She deemed the Crestwood projects “a
direct threat to my family,” adding: “Our sustainable economy” based on
wineries and tourism “should not be undermined by this insanity.”

“WASTE! What to Do About It?” Public Forum in Horseheads, Thurs. Nov. 20, 7:00 p.m.

When: View in Calendar » November 20, 2014 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Where: View Map » St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, 408 South Main Street, Horseheads,NY 14845, USA
Contact: Bette Ek
607-739-2648
ek@stny.rr.com

“WHAT WE SHOULD DO ABOUT WASTE: WHY LARGER LANDFILLS AREN’T THE ANSWER,”
a public forum, will be presented by PHE, Inc. on Thursday, November 20, at 7:00 p.m. in Horseheads.  The forum is intended to promote discussion about a problem that is plaguing our society.

Speakers and topics:

  • Radioactive drilling wastes in Southern Tier landfills. Attorney Rachel Treichler
  • Can landfills make us sick? Barbara Warren, RN, executive director of Citizens’ Environmental Coalition
  • The road to zero waste. Chris Burger, Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition and NYS Sierra Club Zero Waste Committee

The forum is free and open to the public. For additional information visit www.pheinc1.org.

To arrange an interview with any of the speakers, contact Bette Ek, 607) 739-2648, ek@stny.rr.com.