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Veterans Lead Civil Disobedience Action at Crestwood

In Anti-War, Energy, Renewables on January 26, 2016 at 12:53 pm

U.S. Vets Lead Civil Disobedience Action at Crestwood to Protest Seneca Lake Gas Storage

Green leader, former NY gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins among 13 arrested in human blockade

Watkins Glen, NY – Eleven veterans representing all branches of the U.S. armed forces, were among 13 arrested on Tuesday morning in a human blockade at Crestwood Midstream on Route 14 as part of We Are Seneca Lake’s ongoing civil disobedience campaign against gas storage in underground lakeside salt caverns. The protesters blocked all traffic entering and leaving the facility.

Among them was former NY gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins (Green Party), a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Hawkins said, “The massive gas leak in Porter Ranch, California shows the inherent dangers of underground gas storage. The shores of Seneca Lake—New York’s own Napa Valley—are the wrong place for a massive gas storage hub. The salt caverns are too geologically unstable. One accident would turn visitors away and ruin the economy.”

Also joining the protest were Schuyler County resident and U.S. Army veteran Nathan Lewis, who served in Iraq, and Colleen Boland, U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sergeant (retired), who served in the White House during the George W. Bush Administration. Boland served an 8-day jail sentence in November 2014 for a previous act of civil disobedience at the Crestwood entrance.

At 8:45 a.m. this morning, the 13 ceremoniously unfurled banners that read, “Veterans Against Crestwood / Defending the Climate and Seneca Lake,” and formed a human chain across the north entrance of Crestwood Midstream, blocking chemical tanker trucks from leaving and entering the facility.

The group was arrested shortly after 9:00 a.m. by Schuyler County deputies, transported to the Schuyler County Sheriff’s department, charged with disorderly conduct, and released.

The total number of arrests in the sixteen-month-old civil disobedience campaign now stands at 480.

While blockading, the veterans from all branches of the military made public statements about the duty they feel to protect water and the climate.

“I continue to be mindful of my past oath to protect against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” said Colleen Boland, who traveled to more than 20 countries while on active duty.

In her remarks at the gate, Boland addressed recent, accusations that Seneca Lake protesters are “outsiders”:

“When the science on climate change is ignored, when our political leaders do the bidding of the gas industry rather than protect us, people rise up. Veterans rise up. And when we do, we should never—in any instance—be called outsiders here in our own country, in our own state, in the regions where we grew up. Veterans should never be dismissed when we speak out on issues that threaten our well-being and the security of our loved ones.”

Jenifer Paquette, 63, Corning, Steuben County said, “From 1970 to 1973, I served in the U.S. Navy as a Personnelman 3rd Class Petty Officer. Except for that military time, I have lived all of my 63 years in Corning, New York and feel a right and a duty to protect the air, land, and water that is my birthright. The Crestwood gas storage expansion is a threat to those basic rights for me, my son, and my granddaughter.”

Nathan Lewis, 33, Hector, Schuyler County said, “I served 2.5 years in the U.S. Army as a field artilleryman. What I saw in Iraq was that the war on terror is a catastrophe. What I see here at home, in Schuyler County, is that the fossil fuel industry is pushing our ecosystem to the point of collapse.”

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 13 arrested today were:

Elliott Adams, 69, Sharon Springs, Schoharie County (veteran, U.S. Army)

Colleen Boland, 59, Elmira, Chemung County (veteran, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army)

Colleen Condon Coss, 60, West Henrietta, Monroe County

Doug Couchon, 65, Elmira, Chemung County (veteran, U.S. Army National Guard)

Martin C. Dodge, 73, Canandaigua, Ontario County (veteran, U.S. Coast Guard)

Hervie Harris, 70, Elmira, Chemung County (veteran, U.S. Navy)

Howie Hawkins, 63, Syracuse, Onondaga County (veteran, U.S. Marine Corps)

Nathan Lewis, 33, Hector, Schuyler County (veteran, U.S. Army)

Peter Looker, 65, Glenville, Schenectady County

Jenifer Paquette, 63, Corning, Steuben County (veteran, U.S. Navy)

Wendell F. Perks, Jr., 67, Mecklenburg, Schuyler County (veteran, U.S. Army)

Richard Rogers, 67, Spencer, Tioga County (veteran, U.S. Army)

Dwain Wilder, 76, Brighton, Monroe County (veteran, U.S. Navy)

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 29th, 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 24thmarked 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, 2015.

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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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – January 26, 2016

media contact: Sandra Steingraber  607.351.0719

photos:   http://www.wearesenecalake.com/veterans-pic/

video:   http://www.wearesenecalake.com/veterans-vid

LARGEST EVER COMMUNITY SOLAR ENERGY PROGRAM IN NEW YORK STATE TO KICKOFF IN SYRACUSE THURSDAY MARCH 26 @ 6 PM

In Energy, Renewables, Solar on March 26, 2015 at 12:39 pm

AN INDY MEDIA CNY VIDEO EXCLUSIVE.  Archived Video of the Event Now Available at http://bambuser.com/v/5381717

JessicaChrisSolarizeCapture

Announcement for SolarizeCNY will take place at WCNY at the celebration of Solarize Syracuse 2014

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SYRACUSE, NY — MARCH 25, 2015 — Central New York has a chance to become the Solar Center of NY State in 2015, as organizations in five counties take part in the bulk discount purchasing, easy, convenient enrollment, permitting and installation process that comprises a “Solarize” program.

Last year, in just 5 months, during the Solarize Syracuse program, 77 buildings were signed up to generate more than 500KW electricity of solar power, more than doubling the amount of solar previously installed in subject areas. The program, which was run by a consortium of area non profits working with the Central NY Regional Planning and Development Board, was limited to the City of Syracuse, and Towns of Manlius, DeWitt, and Onondaga Hill.

“Many people don’t know that Syracuse has more sun that Germany, the world leader in solar photovoltaics,” commented Chris Carrick, Energy Program Manager at the Central NY Regional Planning and Development Board. “People often think that having a solar array installed will be expensive, and complicated, possibly even confusing or a hassle. The Solarize Syracuse program demonstrated that people are eager to equip their properties with solar power when they are offered accurate, credible information, attractive pricing, and simplified processes.”

Pete Wirth, a Solarize volunteer, equipped his home with solar panels two years ago. “I wish I’d done it sooner, because I really wanted to use a clean, renewable energy source,” he says. “But I had to sort through a lot of information. That’s one of the advantages of a Solarize program: it makes it easy for homeowners and businesses to switch to solar. What’s beautiful is that it is price competitive with what they might be paying for electricity now,” he commented, adding that he expected his own system to have paid for itself within about seven or eight years.

The dozen or so volunteers who ran the 2014 SolarizeSyracuse Program, along with the program’s non-profit sponsors, and the participants in the program will celebrate the success of SolarizeSyracuse at a party at the WCNY Broadcast & Education Center, 415 W. Fayette St. Syracuse on Thursday, March 26, at 6 pm. The party will also mark the kickoff of SolarizeCNY.

Like the SolarizeSyracuse program, the Solarize CNY program will offer free community workshops where interested property owners can investigate enrolling in the program, and even sign up to receive a free site assessment to determine the suitability of their property. If their sites are suitable, they will be able to purchase a solar installation at substantial cost savings from a locally approved Solarize approved installer, during a limited time enrollment period. Counties in the program include Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga, and Oswego.

Solarize Syracuse was organized by Alliance for a Green Economy, Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board, Frack Action, Greening USA, New York Interfaith Power and Light, and Syracuse Peace Council. Additional support was offered by Alchemical Nursery, EnergyWright, Partnership for Onondaga Creek, Syracuse Community Choir and People for Animal Rights.

Contact: Chris Carrick, 315-439-7748, Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board

http://www.solarizesyracuse.org/

“Epic” Video Push For a Fossil-Free, Nuclear-Free Clean Energy Future

In Climate, Energy, Fossil Fuels, Nuclear, Renewables, Solar, Wind on March 12, 2015 at 11:57 am

Five groups mount “epic” push to enlist more Americans to join movement for a fossil-free, nuclear-free clean energy future – As Fukushima anniversary nears, interactive video at www.MakeNuclearHistory.org allows visitors to experience three very different energy futures, get involved in groups’ pushes on nuclear, wind power initiatives.

Epic Labs Capture

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A week ahead of the fourth anniversary of the Fukushima reactor disaster, five leading organizations fighting for America’s clean-energy future – Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, Public Citizen, and the Sierra Club – are unveiling an interactive online video, “Our Epic Future: Create It With Clean Energy.”

Available at www.MakeNuclearHistory.org, the entertaining, fact-filled video allows visitors to explore three scenarios in the “Epic Energy Labs” with very different future outcomes: one dominated by fossil fuels, another in which nuclear power is the focus, and a third relying on renewable energy.

After viewing the video, visitors can get involved in clean energy campaigns of the five groups, including urging the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to put in place post-Fukushima safety measures at U.S. reactors and petitioning Congress to reinstate the Production Tax Credit support for the wind energy.

The Make Nuclear History Web site explains: “There is a better way. There is a way to power our lives without fossil fuels.  There is a solution to climate change without nuclear energy. There is a future where we can solve the climate crisis and power our lives from 100 percent renewable sources and energy efficiency. Now is the time to create our fossil and nuclear-free future … A fossil and nuclear-free future powered by renewable sources is possible and the transition is happening now. The benefits of clean, affordable and renewable energy compared with the dirty, expensive legacy of fossil fuels and nuclear reactors are obvious.”

“The Fukushima disaster shows us exactly why we cannot and should not try to rely on nuclear energy to solve the climate crisis,” said Tim Judson, Executive Director of NIRS. “Japan’s decision to invest in nuclear rather than renewables left the country totally unprepared when calamity struck. Clean, renewable energy sources are abundant, affordable, and ready to go. They can replace nuclear and fossil fuels, which are two sides of the dirty, extreme energy coin.”

“We no longer need to be shackled to dirty and dangerous energy,” said Robert Weissman, Executive Director of Public Citizen, “A sustainable energy economy is not only possible but necessary if we are to avoid irreversible climate disruption and safeguard our communities against radioactive contamination.”

“While the nuclear industry continues to grasp at straws for relevance, it is more apparent than ever that the clean energy revolution has taken hold in communities across the country,” said Greenpeace Executive Director Annie Leonard. “The Fukushima disaster is a constant reminder that nuclear energy is a dirty and dangerous distraction from real solutions like wind and solar. We should commit to rejecting costly nuclear pipe dreams and supporting the renewable efforts that can help avert our climate crisis.”

“Choosing between clean energy and dangerous fuels like coal and nuclear isn’t difficult. Nuclear has proven time and time again to be too expensive, too slow to build, and far too dangerous. Meanwhile, burning fossil fuels is making our families sick and making the climate crisis worse. That’s a huge part of the reason our clean energy economy is growing by leaps and bounds, creating jobs while keeping pollution out of our air, our water, and our communities.” – Michael Brune, Executive Director, Sierra Club

“Fukushima was a global water shed moment illustrating the potential for catastrophic nuclear accidents to occur,” said Friends of the Earth President Erich Pica. “This video contributes to a growing people’s movement demanding a fossil free, nuclear free future.”

About the groups:

Friends of the Earth strives for a more healthy and just world. We understand that the challenges facing our planet call for more than half measures, so we push for the reforms that are needed, not merely the ones that are politically easy. Sometimes, this involves speaking uncomfortable truths to power and demanding more than people think is possible. It’s hard work. But the pressures facing our planet and its people are too important for us to compromise. http://www.foe.org/

Greenpeace is the leading independent campaigning organization that uses peaceful direct action and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and to promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future. www.greenpeace.org

2014 marked the 36th anniversary of Nuclear Information and Resource Service. We were founded to be the national information and networking center for citizens and environmental activists concerned about nuclear power, radioactive waste, radiation and sustainable energy issues. www.nirs.org

Public Citizen serves as the people’s voice in the nation’s capital. Since our founding in 1971, we have delved into an array of areas, but our work on each issue shares an overarching goal: To ensure that all citizens are represented in the halls of power. www.citizen.org

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 2.4 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. www.sierraclub.org

Contacts:
Alex Frank, (703) 276-3254, afrank@hastingsgroup.com
Tim Judson, for Nuclear Information and Research Service, (301) 270-6477, timj@nirs.org
Benjamin Schreiber, for Friends of the Earth, (202) 222-0752, bschreiber@foe.org
Allison Fisher, for Public Citizen, (202) 454-5176, afisher@citizen.org
Perry Wheeler, for Greenpeace, (202) 319-2461, perry.wheeler@greenpeace.org
Trey Pollard, for the Sierra Club, (202) 495-3058, trey.pollard@sierraclub.org

– See more at: http://www.foe.org/news/news-releases/2015-03-groups-mount-push-for-nuclear-free-clean-energy-future#sthash.CXUiMiNS.dpuf