Friday, September 7, 2012

Direct Action at Spectra Energy's Construction Site

photo credit: Stephanie Keith

Press Release 
September 7, 2012

On Thursday, September 6, 2012, at approximately 9:30 am, five activists disrupted construction on Spectra Energy's Pipeline by putting their bodies in front of a back hoe and sitting in the rubble underneath the shovel. Work stalled for three hours and the NYPD arrested two people.

There were upwards of 75 New Yorkers present to voice their outrage over Texas-based Spectra Energy Corp.’s construction of a high pressure gas pipeline on the Gansevoort Peninsula, at the intersection of Gansevoort Street and the West Side Highway.

Occupy the Pipeline--a growing coalition of activists, grass roots organizations and local residents, including the Environmentalist Solidarity Group of OWS, New York Grassroots Alliance to Save our State (NYGRASS), and United for Action (UFA)--have launched a multi-tiered campaign to stop the construction of this pipeline, on the grounds that this pipeline poses serious health risks to all of NYC through increased explosion risks and increased exposure to radon. This coalition argues that the construction of the pipeline will increase reliance on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a controversial method of shale gas extraction. This coalition fuses direct action tactics with a more traditional approach to environmentalism.

Prior to the arrests, the activists  had refused to evacuate the site at the request of Hudson River Park police, who then called in the NYPD. Two of the protesters—Monica Hunken and Sandra Koponen—were later arrested on charges of trespassing.

"I am here because I don't want to live where the water is contaminated, the air is unbreathable and the people don't come out to take care of our environment,” said Sandra Koponen. “We must start living in a way that does not destroy the planet.  Divest from fossil fuels and don't vote for politicians that continue the madness of our dependence on fossil fuels."

"This battle against the Spectra Pipeline is not an isolated issue. This is one piece of a very large fight,” said Monica Hunken. “We stand in solidarity with the people of all New York.  We will not let any people be sacrificed in our state, no matter how rural, no matter how poor, no matter how out of the way.  Whether it's right here in the West Village or in the southern tier, we will fight the fracked gas industry everywhere!"

“This pipeline will benefit the very wealthy while putting residents of NYC at risk of exposure to dangerous levels Radon Gas in their homes,” said Lopi LaRoe. “When government fails to protect public health, it’s up us to protect ourselves.”

These arrests came almost simultaneously with the arrests of protesters in Watkins Glen, NY, who were opposing the proposed use of massive underground salt caverns for storage of natural gas. These arrests for civil disobedience in opposition to fracking and fracking infrastructure in New York come in the wake of the huge rally in Albany on August 27th,  where some 2500 protesters delivered a Pledge of Resistance to Governor Cuomo. More than 4600 people have now signed this pledge, which calls for civil disobedience to stop fracking and fracking-related activities in New York.

Since the proposal for the Spectra pipeline first came to light approximately two years ago, local opposition to this pipeline has steadily spread and intensified. More civil disobedience is sure to come.

Sunday Sept 9th at 3pm, Occupy the Pipeline is inviting concerned people in the neighborhood to come out and join us for an afternoon potluck full of fracking-themed dishes. There will be a dance party on the pier, children's games and a teach-in on civil disobedience. At the end of 12th street in the Hudson River Greenway there is a children's playground. Come find us out on the end of the pier!

You can find out more information on this ongoing campaign to stop spectra pipeline at:
our facebook page is here:
you can follow us on twitter at: @occupy_pipeline
text @fracked to 23559 for action alerts


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