The following is a republished press release submitted by the protesters … to submit community announcements to The Voice, contact us at email@example.com.
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Watkins Glen, NY – In an act of civil disobedience, 17 gas storage protesters led by former Reading Center resident Reverend Jane Winters, formed a human blockade shortly after sunrise this morning at the north entrance of Crestwood Midstream on Route 14. The participants, from ten counties across New York State, included members of Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, and Islamic faiths.
All 17 were arrested shortly before 8 a.m. by Schuyler County deputies, taken into custody, charged with trespassing, and released.
The blockaders held banners that said “People of Faith Against Crestwood: Because Creation,” and “The Climate is a Common Good,” which references Pope Francis’ recent encyclical letter on climate change.
Here are the names of those arrested:
Mike Bucci, 67, Walton, Delaware County
Tricia Campbell, 72, Wolcott, Wayne County
Hannah Dickinson, 33, Geneva, Ontario County
Andrew Feron, 51, Cottekill, Ulster County
Martha Fischer, 58, Enfield, Tompkins County
Arthur Godin, 66, Enfield, Tompkins County
Ariel Gold, 40, Ithaca, Tompkins County
Ben Guthrie, 63, Interlaken, Seneca County
Larry Hirschberger, 60, Ithaca, Tompkins County
Kevin Kuenster, 60, Copake Falls, Columbia County
Steve Marcus, 60, Arkport, Steuben County
Janet McCue, 65, Hector, Schuyler County
Victoria Rasmussen, 43, Valois, Schuyler County
Dianne Roe, 72, Corning, Steuben County
Ryan Solomons, 23, New Paltz, Ulster County
Camille Tischler, 67, Ithaca, Tompkins County
Reverend Jane Winters, 62, Elmira, Chemung County
Protesters were reading aloud from the Pope’s encyclical at the time of their arrest. When the arresting officer ordered them to drop the document, they sang and prayed.
None of the protesters this morning had been previously arrested as part of the We Are Seneca Lake movement, which opposes Crestwood’s plans for methane storage expansion in lakeside salt caverns and which has been ongoing since October 2014.
The total number of arrests now stands at 296 in the eight-month-old civil disobedience campaign.
Crestwood’s methane gas storage expansion project was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last October 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.
Presbyterian minister Reverend Jane Winters said, “From the first book of the Bible, Genesis, and continuing through the Hebrew scriptures and the Christian scriptures, God calls God’s children to take care of the earth that has been entrusted to them. We frequently refer to this as being good stewards of creation. The project that Crestwood plans to expand through its Arlington subsidiary and then doubling-down with putting propane and butane in adjacent caverns does not represent good stewardship of creation. The highest calling of a Christian is to love God and love thy neighbor. I am out here today because I love God, especially through God’s creation, and I love my neighbors, especially the ones who live here in Reading Center where I lived for 13 years.”
Ariel Gold, 40, of Ithaca said, “The Torah, the Holy Scripture of the Jewish people, instructs us to make decisions that will allow the communities of the future generations to continue to live. I consider actions that threaten life on this earth, such as the storage of explosive gasses in the fragile salt caverns of Seneca Lake, a violation of this commandment. The potential short term profits for Crestwood are not worth the risk of the degradation and destruction of our environment and life itself. In our prophetic tradition, it is not enough to speak out against this threat to our communities and ecosystem–we must pray with our feet, as Rabbi Joshua Heschel demonstrated during the Civil Rights movement.”
Kevin Kuenster, 60, Copake Falls, Columbia County, said, “With the scientific information we now have at hand, to do nothing is to be guilty of indifference and perhaps complicity.”