Ithaca, N.Y. — An Ithaca College student says she will refuse to pay a court fine and accept jail time after being arrested last month while protesting the expansion of a gas facility near Seneca Lake.

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Faith Meckley, 19, was arrested on Nov. 17 along with nine others for blockading the gates of Crestwood Midstream in Schuyler County. She will face up to 15 days in jail for her act of civil disobedience at an arraignment on Wednesday, Jan. 17.

Protesters have spent months decrying the expansion and more than 90 people, including a large group from Tompkins County, have now been arrested at the site.

The Schuyler County sheriff has said the rallies are causing a major disruption for local law enforcement. Crestwood has said the expansion is safe and less environmentally disruptive than building a new pipeline. The company has also said that its plans aren’t changing.

Meckley, a journalism student at Ithaca College, will appear in court as a defendant on trespassing charges along with six other Tompkins County residents.

“My plan is to plead guilty, refuse my fine, and go to jail,” Meckley said.

So far, Meckley said, 10 protesters have gone to jail. (The fine for trespassing is $250 and there’s also a $125 court fee, according to Meckley.)

“The point of not paying the fine is: I don’t want to give money to a system I believe is broken,” Meckley said. “Despite the fact that I technically broke a law by trespassing I was doing it for a good purpose — to protect the lake .”

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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.