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Sunday, November 20, 2016
“This is Not a Drill!”
Four Water Defenders took action along the Hudson, interrupting plans to pull AIM pipeline under the river
Verplanck, NY – Early this morning, four water defenders were arrested for occupying a construction site to stop Spectra Energy’s plan to drag its 42-inch diameter, high pressure, fracked-methane gas pipeline under the Hudson River and adjacent to the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant. Spectra Energy’s proposed Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) Pipeline would bring fracked gas from Pennsylvania to New England, despite a report from the Massachusetts Attorney General that shows no need for this gas. In New York, if completed, the AIM Pipeline would carry gas through residential communities and within 105 feet of critical safety facilities at Indian Point, endangering 20 million people in the fallout radius of that nuclear power plant.
At 10:30 AM, a rally of 130 people marched to the pipeline site, singing and showing solidarity with the defenders and pledging to continue the fight. Alexandra Zevin, one of the defenders who climbed into the pipeline site, said, “I am deeply concerned about the safety of the Hudson River and the New York area. Spectra has shown that they have a terrible safety record, and I think it’s insane for this pipeline to be proposed so close to a nuclear power plant. They have already tried twice to put the pipeline under the river and failed both times, and I have no trust in them. It is not responsible to risk our health, our safety and our river for corporate profit.”
Spectra Energy has scrambled to complete their AIM project after losing the drillhead necessary for Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD). Without this crucial component, the company has scraped together a hodgepodge solution by connecting the newer, larger sections of pipe to the old smaller diameter sections under the Hudson River. There has been no environmental or safety review of this new plan.
Today’s action is the latest in an ongoing effort to stop Spectra Energy from constructing their Algonquin Incremental Market Expansion project. While both New York Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand wrote to FERC requesting a “stop work” order on the project, neither has made a public appearance denouncing the project, and FERC has ignored the Senators’ request. On February 29, 2016, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo called for an immediate halt to construction while the state conducts an independent risk assessment but he has also been ignored. Without any real assistance from elected officials, residents and advocates took matters into their own hands today to directly stop construction.
Local Yorktown resident Leigha Eyster was also among those who entered the work site said.,. "My family spans three generations in this neighborhood, and I speak for many residents when I say the AIM pipeline is an unwelcome, unnecessary hazard to our community. The expansion of this pipeline is a senseless, foolish, dangerous act of greed, and means destruction of wetlands, clear cutting of old and new growth forest, total annihilation of decades-old farmland, and degradation of public air and water quality. Not only does this pipeline run underneath the Hudson River, a treasured gem in the Hudson Valley that has undergone decades of successful rehabilitation, it also runs next to the aging Indian Point nuclear power plant. Children and the elderly are especially vulnerable to the pollutants that will be continually off-gassed. It’s time for our communities to move towards safer and more efficient renewable energy sources."
The message is clear: Water and community must come before corporate profits. Now is the time to stop the AIM Pipeline for good.
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