Large Rally Planned at Arraignment for 20 Arrested Protesters this Wednesday, December 3 at 6:00 PM at Reading Courthouse
Former Elected Official and Civil Rights Activist Ruth Young will Speak; We Are Seneca Lake Will Address Questions Surrounding the Role of Local Residents in the Campaign
Watkins Glen, NY – Carrying signs identifying them as Schuyler County residents, ten local people were arrested this morning for trespassing at Texas-based Crestwood Midstream’s gas storage facility gates on the shore of Seneca Lake. These arrests follow 73 previous arrests as the ‘We Are Seneca Lake’ civil disobedience campaign enters its 6th week of blockades to stop the gas storage facility. All total, 83 arrests have now occurred at the gates of Crestwood since the campaign began on October 23. There have also been multiple rallies with hundreds of people and numerous winery owners, local businesses and health professionals.
The 10 Schuyler County residents arrested today are:
Phil Davis, co-owner, Damiani Wine Cellars, 62, Hector
Paula Fitzsimmons, PA, Physician Assistant, 57, Hector
Scott Signori, owner, Executive Chef, Stonecat Cafe, 47, Hector
Audrey Southern, teacher, 31, Burdett
Daphne Nolder, pastry chef Stonecat Cafe, 29, Hector
James “Jimmer” Bond, employee Damiani Wine Cellars, 28, Hector
Chris Tate, 52, musician, Hector
Jessie Smith, employee, Glen Mountain Market, 24, Burdett
Alexandra Doniger, assistant winemaker, Hector Wine Company, Forge Cellars, 26, Hector
Kyle Barnhart, general manager, Stonecat Cafe, owner Hector Pallet, 30, Hector
Phil Davis is the second Finger Lakes winery owner to be arrested for trespassing at Crestwood’s gates. On November 19, Will Ouweleen, owner of the Eagle Crest and Onehda Vineyards was arrested and charged with both trespass and disorderly conduct. In a joint statement, Phil Davis and Scott Signori, business owners in Schuyler County, said of today’s Schuyler County-themed action:
“This is an attempt to dispel the myth that this movement is an ‘outside’ movement, filled with ‘professional protesters.’ However, we welcome all comers, as we must when dealing with a watershed for over 100,000 people and air that we all breathe. It will take people from all over to protect the environment and to stand up to Crestwood, the true outsider in this threat.”
Signori and Davis said they believe that the continued attention on the most important issue of our time – protection of the environment – is morally and ethically justified.
Signori added, “It is not convenient to do this, but there are many more residents who are against this project and who will be available for future actions.”
Paula Fitzsimmons, Physician Assistant for 28 years in Schuyler County, said, “I feel passionately about my patients and Seneca Lake and the preponderance of evidence is that the Crestwood project is a public health risk of an unacceptable magnitude. I am not willing to stand by any longer while the air quality deteriorates and the watershed is threatened.”
A press conference and rally is planned this Wednesday, December 3 at 6:00 PM outside of the Town of Reading court, when the arraignment for 20 protesters, arrested in previous weeks, is scheduled. Among those facing charges on Wednesday are environmental planner John Dennis, PhD, 61, Chair Environmental Review Committee of Tompkins County Environmental Management Council; Ruth Young, 77, former Schuyler County legislator and civil rights activist; and members of the Great March for Climate Action, who, earlier this year, walked3,000 miles across America, from California to Washington, DC, to inspire action on climate change, in one of the largest coast-to-coast marches in American history.A number of protesters expect to be incarcerated and will refuse to pay their fines.
The group will also address recent questions raised about the role of local residents and their “outside” supporters in the ongoing campaign.
When: Wednesday, December 3 at 6:00 PM.
Where: 3914 County Rd. 28 Reading Center, NY 14876
What: Large rally and press conference featuring arrested protesters, winery owners, business leaders, health experts and more, followed by the arraignment of 20 protesters, some of whom expect to be incarcerated.
Read more about the arrested protesters at https://www.wearesenecalake.com/seneca-lake-defendes/.
Protesters have been blocking the Crestwood gas storage facility gates since Thursday, October 23, 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. Since then, protests have been ongoing, with more arrests each week.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.
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).