Tree-sit Blocks Clearcutting for Tennessee Gas Pipeline in Delaware River Basin
From West Virginia and Ohio to Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Resistance Grows as Fracking Impacts Escalate
Even as more news emerges about fracking impacts elsewhere, the clearcutting is continuing in the Delaware River Basin, with four crews felling giant white pine trees aggressively from 7 AM til dark every day and throughout the weekends, to make way for the Tennessee Gas Pipeline to carry fracked gas.
Note: legislators, journalists and others may arrange a field trip to see the clearcutting impacts first-hand. Contact Environmental Scientist Joe Zenes, on staff with the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, who is on the ground every day in Pike County, PA monitoring the ongoing violations taking place with the rushed clearcut. Call Joe Zenes: 570-445-1845.
The broader context of fracking impacts stretches throughout the Marcellus Shale region. Right now the Hagy family of West Virginia sits in court fighting against the denials pouring forth from a fracking corporation, EQT, which earlier admitted in plain and simple language (see video) that their drilling had damaged the family’s water. Illnesses resulted, displacing the Hagy family from their home. Another 70 West Virginia families are reported to have impacted water now, in a growing nightmare of devastation.
In Ohio, on Tuesday February 19th, protesters shut down a fracking flowback (waste) facility, chanting “No frack waste by truck, no frack waste by boat, no Greenhunter waste down Ohio’s throat!”
Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, the Stop the Tennessee Gas Pipeline campaign issued this photo and report:
Tree Sit Blocks Clearcut; “No Pipeline” Banner Dropped
Milford, PA: As of 9:24 AM on Wednesday, February 20th, an independent contractor, Mike with the Tennessee Gas Pipeline’s Michle informed protesters involved with the tree-sit that law enforcement has been called but no felling would take place unless “it’s safe.”
The felling of trees stopped temporarily after Orange County, NY resident “Gifford Pinchot” erected a tree stand to prevent the designated clear cutting for construction of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline (TGP) Northeast Upgrade between Foster Hill and Cummins Hill roads in Milford, Pennsylvania.
The Northeast Upgrade would transport additional Marcellus Shale gas west to east from hydraulically fractured wells along Pennsylvania’s Northern Tier. Hydrofracking, or fracking, has become a controversial method of extracting natural gas due to its reputation for contaminating local waterways, dangerously disposing of fracking flowback waste, and other social, economic, and environmental concerns.
Six Wetlands to be Violated
Pinchot said, “I’m concerned that the TGP ‘s project is set to go through six sensitive wetlands on its way to Cummins Hill, clearing through mature forest and important ecological habitat, including endangered species.” Cummins Hill is a cultural icon for Milford, being home to at least one bald eagle’s nest as well as being an economic resource for eco-tourism. Pinchot expressed his frustration, stating, “These gas executives just want to extract from our communities- take what they can and leave us to deal with ecological devastation.”
Simultaneously a large banner reading, “No Pipeline!” in bold black and red lettering was dropped in solidarity, over the interstate 84 overpass on Cummins Hill Rd to display support for the blockades that have been ongoing since Monday. A lock down on Monday and Tuesday to a Delaware State Forest gate that blocked access to the slated clear-cut is now in its third day with Alex Lotorto and Cornelia Pinochot. Trained Emergency Medical Technicians are on site for both actions.
These actions are part of a campaign opposing the Tennessee Pipeline in the Delaware River Basin. The direct action campaign is taking place after nearly two years of local political leaders and grassroots opposition in the courts, public comment, and protest.
Actions Friday through Tuesday, Upstream and Downstream
This week will culminate with three family friendly events upstream, followed by a downstream press conference and vigil on Tuesday, February 26th (12:15 – 12:45 pm) in Philadelphia at the Army Corps of Engineers office (Wanamaker Building). At the event, advocates will speak out against the TGP clearcutting and press the Delaware River Basin Commission, including its federal representative — the Army Corps of Engineers Commissioner, who votes according to President Obama’s wishes — to intervene in the clearcutting; to NOT issue any permit for the next stage of digging and trenching; and to stop permitting fracked gas pipeline projects in the Delaware River Basin.
Contact for the downstream event: Iris Marie Bloom, Philadelphia resident 215-840-6489 / firstname.lastname@example.org (note: buried in email. try texting if you get no response online).
Contact for the upstream events: Alex Lotorto, Pike County, PA resident 570-269-9589 / email@example.com
Second contact for upstream events: Jolie DeFeis, Pike County, PA resident and media liaison for Stop the Tennessee Pipeline Campaign: 917-514-0824.
SCHEDULE OF UPSTREAM EVENTS:
Friday, February 22, 2013 – *Time Change* 5PM
What: Vigil to Mourn Our Losses
Where: Intersection of Broad and Harford Streets in Milford PA, outside the former Yale Forestry School started by Gifford Pinchot, father of the American Conservation Movement. One week after tree clearing started, we must pause to hear the stories of the impacted residents. This is child/pet friendly.
Saturday, February 23, 2013 – 12:00 PM
What: March Across the Milford Bridge, from Milford, PA to Montague, NJ, across the Delaware River.
Where: Meet at the corner of Broad and Harford in Milford, PA. This march will remain on the sidewalks and shoulder of the road and is child/pet friendly.
Sunday, February 24, 2013 – 12 noon
What: Campaign support meeting for interested people at Alex Lotorto’s house just outside Milford PA. Call 570-269-9589 or 917-514-0824 for address. This event is child/pet friendly.
What’s Next: Wednesday, March 6th is the next meeting where the DRBC Commissioners can instruct the Executive Director, Carol Collier, to intervene if she cannot find the courage to do so on her on. So please plan to take a day from your life to join us on March 6th, the day the DRBC will have the chance to begin to make this right. We won’t be able to get the 70-year old trees and the fully healthy forest back, but there is a lot that can be done to avoid more harm and to fix the damage already. inflicted. (from Maya van Rossum’s “Voice of the River.”)