Monday, June 13, 2016

Bodies on the Line to Stop the Spectra Pipeline

As part of an escalating peaceful resistance campaign, concerned New Yorkers engineered a dramatic and elaborate protest against pipeline construction early this morning. A team erected a 20-foot-tripod in the path of construction equipment, and then a woman who grew up in Croton climbed up and sat at the top, thereby effectively halting construction. Additionally, two people locked to the base of the tripod. A total of six people have been arrested and taken to the Peekskill Police Station.

Jessica Rechtschaffer, the climber, was born and raised in Croton. "I remember how the sirens from Indian Point would go off when I was a kid," she said, "and now Spectra Energy wants to build a major gas pipeline right next to the nuclear power plant even though they are a company with a terrible safety record. We can't let that happen. If there's an explosion next to the nuclear plant, there is no plan B."

The Houston-based Spectra Energy Company's Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) pipeline is a 42-inch diameter, high pressure, fracked gas pipeline, which if completed will run through residential communities and within 105 feet of critical safety facilities at the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant.

This action comes after years of residents and grassroots groups actively engaging in the regulatory process, only to be ignored by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The City of Boston and more than 20 grassroots groups have filed a lawsuit in Federal Court challenging FERC's approval of the project. In February, Governor Andrew Cuomo wrote to FERC asking for an immediate halt to construction while New York State conducts an independent risk assessment of siting the massive, high-pressure pipeline next to Indian Point Nuclear Plant. FERC denied the Governor's request, and claimed that a risk assessment by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) showed that the plant was safe. Less than one month ago, on May 20th, Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand called for an immediate halt to construction . Spectra's Director of Stakeholder Outreach, Marylee Hanley, responded that "Algonquin Gas Transmission resumed construction on the Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) project in April and will continue with its construction."

Photos by Minister Erik R. McGregor

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