Sandra Steingraber PhD., biologist, author and Trumansburg, NY resident, was arrested alongside residents of Seneca Lake and local college students to oppose Kansas City, MO based Inergy, natural gas and liquid petroleum gas storage facility, which would lock in natural gas development in the Marcellus Shale region. Protesters have linked arms and deployed a banner reading “Our Future is Unfractured, We Are Greater Than Dirty Inergy” across the entrance to the facility on NY State Route 14.
The blockade precedes a 250+ person rally opposing the Inergy facility scheduled to begin at the Watkins Glen Village Marina at 5 p.m. today.
Twenty-five demonstrators blockaded the Inergy facility, which they say is one example of numerous fracking infrastructure projects that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission have allowed to “slip in the back door” while New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo debates allowing the controversial and extreme process of horizontal hydraulic fracturing.
Steingraber, who lives in neighboring Tompkins County said, “It is wrong to bury explosive, toxic petroleum gases in underground chambers next to a source of drinking water for 100,000 people. It is wrong to build out the infrastructure for fracking at a time of climate emergency. It is right for me come to the shores of Seneca Lake, where my 11-year-old son was born, and say, with my voice and with my body, as a mother and biologist, that this facility is a threat to life and health.”
The blockade joins a growing national movement to call attention to environmental injustices caused by unconventional and extreme fossil fuel extraction techniques, including Inergy’s hotly debated salt cavern gas storage facility proposed for Reading, NY.
Dennis Fox, a Cornell University Sophomore said, “This isn’t just a local issue—when students stand shoulder to shoulder with communities on the frontlines of the fight against extreme projects like Inergy’s, we’re one step closer to stopping fracking, and one step closer to protecting my generation’s future from poisoned water and devastating climate change.”
Inergy’s facility has generated widespread concerns for its proximity to Seneca Lake, New York State’s largest fresh water body and the source of drinking water for 100,000 people.
Michael Dineen, a resident of Seneca County, which contains a portion of Seneca Lake, said, “The priorities of Inergy’s project are all wrong. Drinking water and people’s health are more valuable than gas. The Finger Lakes region holds one of the largest pool of fresh water in the United States and needs our protection—we don’t need to lock in investments in dirty fracking infrastructure that will deepen our dependence on an inherently contaminating industry.”
Melisa Chipman, a resident of Schuyler County, where the facility is located said, “Not only do salt cavern gas storage facilities like Inergy’s have a very high probability of ‘catastrophic equipment failure,’ but I do not want more truck traffic polluting our air, destroying our roads, and scaring tourists away.”
The DEC has received increasingly vocal criticism from local wineries and tourist businesses for refusing to conduct a comprehensive review of the potential environmental and economic impacts of Inergy’s plans to expand gas storage capacity of the current facility from 1.5 to 10.0 billion cubic feet.
For live updates on this action, click here.
Watch video of the protest below:
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Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.
Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.
Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.
The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.
Earthjustice, a national eco-group.
People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.
Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.
No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.
Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.
Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.
Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.