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Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Fifteen arrests outside Senator Charles Schumer’s office in Manhattan as activists urge him to stop the Spectra AIM Pipeline
New York City - People from all over the state are rising up to demand action from Senator Charles Schumer to stop the construction of a high pressure, fracked-gas pipeline that poses a major threat to more than 20 million people. New Yorkers rallied to demand action from Senator Charles Schumer to stop the construction of a high pressure, fracked-gas pipeline that poses a major threat to more than 20 million people. Two hundred and fifty people gathered outside Senator Schumer’s offices in Manhattan and heard from health professionals, indigenous leaders and residents of the Hudson Valley where the pipeline is being built. Fifteen people were arrested after refusing to leave unless Senator Schumer took action in an act of non-violent civil disobedience. Allied organizations held solidarity actions calling for a halt to Spectra’s AIM pipeline at Senator Schumer’s offices in Peekskill, Rochester, Binghamton, Albany, Long Island, Buffalo, Syracuse, and Washington DC. Groups in Massachusetts, where the pipeline is also being built, gathered to pressure Senators Markey and Warren. No arrests reported in other locations.
Several groups read a statement from Courtney Williams, a Peekskill resident whose home and children’s school is in the blast radius of the pipeline. “Senator Schumer, I speak on behalf of the HUNDREDS of people at every one of your offices in New York and the millions threatened by this pipeline: You must stop making excuses for your inaction. Spectra's AIM Pipeline is a man-made and entirely avoidable disaster in the making and YOU have the power to stop it!” Leigha Eyster, a born-and-raised resident of Yorktown Heights where another section of the pipeline is being built, was present at the rally as well: “I’m here to take a stand against the AIM Pipeline project. It’s a great risk to my community and to New York City as well. We’re here because we need Senator Schumer to act. We need him to go to FERC Commissioner Norman Bay, we need him to go to President Obama, and we need to see action, not just words.”
Spectra Energy’s AIM project is a 42” gas pipeline that is only 105 feet from Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant’s safety infrastructure and 400 feet from an elementary school. Pipelines are prone to accidents. According to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), there were roughly six pipeline incidents every week in the United States in 2015, and the number of pipeline incidents is increasing with newer pipelines. Spectra’s AIM Pipeline poses a serious threat to public health and safety, not only to those who live in the immediate area, but to all New Yorkers. Disaster preparedness and public health experts warn that any plans to address a developing problem with the pipeline or to safely evacuate at risk populations would always be entirely inadequate. There is simply no safe way to put this pipeline into operation.
Furthermore, this project locks us into more fossil fuel use at a time when we must move toward renewable energy for the sake of our climate. We appreciate that Senator Schumer has filed his opposition to this project with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). But FERC still has not halted construction. Senator Charles Schumer has the power to STOP the pipeline and must take bold action to do so and to protect New Yorkers. Resist Spectra and allies from across the state are demanding that Senator Schumer go to President Obama, go to his colleagues in the Senate, and hold a public press conference with Senators in other impacted states to demand that FERC issue a “stop work” order.
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