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BLOCKADE CONFRONTS GAS PIPELINE CLEARCUT IN DELAWARE RIVER BASIN

February 18, 2013
Local residents block access road, attempting to stop clearcut for Tennessee Gas Pipeline. Clearcutting began Friday morning at 7:45 AM. "Actions will continue all week," says Alex Lotorto (center).

Local residents block access road, attempting to stop clearcut for Tennessee Gas Pipeline. Clearcutting began Friday morning at 7:45 AM. “Actions will continue all week,” says Alex Lotorto (center).

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: 
Jolie DeFeis, Pike County, PA Resident: 917-514-0824. Media Liaison for “Stop the Tennessee Pipeline!” campaign

Alex Lotorto, Pike County, PA Resident 570-269-9589 / alotorto@gmail.com

Local Residents Deploy President’s Day Actions and Civil Disobedience to Stop Tennessee Pipeline Construction

MILFORD TOWNSHIP, PA – Early this morning, two local residents engaged in civil disobedience by locking themselves through the Delaware State Forest gate that is being used by pipeline workers to clear cut trees for the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Northeast Upgrade construction.

Supporters will rally and do street theater from 11:30 AM to 12 noon today where the activists are locked down, followed by continued actions all day and all week. Schocopee Road, the access road where the blockaders are now locked down, leads to Pinchot Brook. “Cornelia and Gifford Pinchot would be with us today if they were still alive,” commented Alex Lotorto.

Clearcuts for pipelines in the Delaware River Basin have been opposed by at least 52 organizations, which have been pressing unsuccessfully for the Delaware River Basin Commission to review and regulate all pipelines passing through the four-state watershed. Legal actions and a cascade of pleas by direct testimony, phone, and email to the Delaware River Basin Commission appear to have fallen on deaf ears.

The activists, Allison Petryk, of Vernon, NJ and Alex Lotorto, of Milford, PA plan to remain at the gate at the end of Schocopee Road throughout the work day to prevent access by tree clearing crews.

Tree clearing began on Friday mo rning at 7:45 AM,within twenty four hours of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC’s) Notice to Proceed.At 10 AM this morning, Monday February 18th, residents from throughout the impacted area of Pennsylvania and New Jersey will rally at George Feighner’s home across from Milford in Montague, NJ.

Mr. Feighner, who is 86-years old, had his property claimed through eminent domain by FERC’s decision as he remains in legal appeals. Tree clearing up to his home commenced on Friday morning.

In this video Mr. Feighner speaks out over the cacaphony of chainsaws and expresses his profound sadness at the destruction underway in the background.

The new Loop 323 is meant to add more volume to the Tennessee Pipeline system to service Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling using the controversial “fracking” method. The pipeline will, most likely, service new gas-fired power plants and/or gas exports. Loop 323 will stretch from Milford to Vernon as additional pipeline loops continue to be constructed elsewhere to the east and west.

“President Obama, Cut Through THIS Red Tape”

Other than judges, the final decision to stop the clear cutting and open a new review lies with the voting members of the Delaware River Basin Commission. Members include Democrat President Obama who, in his State of the Union Address, stated that his “administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits.” In order to force President Obama to make good on his promise, the reinforced PVC pipe lockbox is wrapped in red ribbon, which the police would inevitably cut to remove the blockaders and arrest them. All FERC commissioners have been either appointed or re-appointed by President Obama.

The site is along a public road which offers public parking within the shoulder and a legal place to stand at a distance, but in view of the blockade.

Allison Petryk wrote the following personal statement regarding the action:

I was born and raised in Vernon, NJ, where the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Loop 324 has already impacted my community and where Loop 323 will end when it’s finished. After graduating from Ramapo College with a degree in Environmental Studies I became an Outdoor Environmental Educator at the Pocono Environmental Education Center in the spring and summer of 2008. During this time I fell in love with Pike County and the bountiful hiking and the beautiful vistas.

The Tennessee Pipeline is a major artery for the monster that is the Marcellus Shale industry that will cut across the Delaware River valley with disrespect to the people here and valuable ecology we are meant to steward. The pipeline will give enormous incentive for use of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, proposed natural gas power plants like the one in Newark, compressor stations, and all related natural gas infrastructure. I encourage our decision makers to abandon the dead end of fossil fuels and seek to innovate our way toward a clean energy future.

Alex Lotorto wrote the following personal statement regarding the action:

Milford, Pennsylvania is my hometown. It’s where I grew up, where I work, where I fish, where I hunt, and the place that I remain. We are not a resource colony of Washington, DC or Harrisburg. I took this action to blockade the construction of the Tennessee Pipeline Loop 323 upgrade today to stop the rapid industrialization of Pike County by natural gas infrastructure.

Most of all, my trade as a landscaper has been to keep and make this place beautiful. Marcellus Shale drilling to our west has hit home with its pipelines here after two years of our local leaders’ and neighbors’ dissent and appeals.

The Upper Delaware River region thrives on tourism, recreation, real estate, agriculture, and the scenic value of our land. My mother, who recently passed, sold many homes and properties along the roads this right of way will cross as a realtor. She helped hundreds of families fall in love with our area and move here, which paid to clothe and feed me as a child.

The short term boost to our bars and hotels as the workers come in from around the country will never replace the long term losses to our rural heritage industries as this pipeline scars our land. I stand in solidarity with every working family now impacted by the massive, trillion dollar Marcellus Shale gas industry. I hope our nation realizes these are the tragedies they create when they elect politicians who support dirty energy, as President Barack Obama is doing right now.

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7 Comments
  1. macman2 permalink
    February 18, 2013 9:52 am

    This is what courage looks like!

  2. February 18, 2013 9:58 am

    sharing with media and local orgs – be safe!

  3. February 18, 2013 10:09 am

    Thank you Allison and Alex for your courage! The 50,000 of us who gathered on the mall in DC yesterday, and so many tens of thousands more, stand with you, knowing that your actions speak to what is unquestionably right. I often wish I could be in ten places at once, to have my body speak to right action for the sake of the living Earth and the children. There is so much work to be done, and together, with all our actions, we will change the course of this corrupt, dirty energy insanity. Thank you again.

  4. Judy M. permalink
    February 18, 2013 12:26 pm

    Thank you so much!! Stay safe and praying for your stamina and success!

  5. Mariel permalink
    February 18, 2013 12:54 pm

    Thank you guys for fighting the good fight!! We need your help in Passaic County, NJ where they are quickly clearing our forests.

    • Iris Marie Bloom permalink
      February 25, 2013 6:37 am

      There is a Tuesday morning (Feb 26) action in New Jersey, as well as the one at the Army Corps of Engineers in Philadelphia. The New Jersey contact person is Matt Smith of Food and Water Watch. So we are all working together. Thank for writing in, Mariel.

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  1. Gaz de schiste – 19 février 2013 « Comité de Citoyens Responsables de Bécancour

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