For the past 17 months, demonstrators periodically have been blocking the entrance to a planned natural gas storage facility on Seneca Lake. Yesterday, in the biggest protest yet, police arrested 57 people including writer and climate activist Bill McKibben.
Police arrested McKibben and the others after they stood side by side in the driveway, preventing trucks from getting in or out of the site. All 57 were charged with disorderly conduct and released. McKibben was a leader of the movement to stop the Keystone pipeline and one of the first writers to highlight the danger of climate change. Before the police moved in he told the other protesters the world is moving away from oil and gas. The audio was recorded by the environmental group We Are Seneca Lake.
"After 100 years of a free ride the fossil fuel industry is now met at every turn by people saying it’s a new world," McKibben said.
And he praised the sort of delaying action the protesters have been waging against the fossil fuel infrastructure.
"If we can hold them off for three or four years more there’s no way any of this stuff will ever built again," he said.
The Texas energy company Crestwood Midstream owns the caverns left over from salt mining, and wants to upgrade them to store natural gas, propane and butane, as a way to meet seasonal demand for fuel. Federal authorities have approved, but so far the New York DEC has not.
David Chanatry is with the New York Reporting Project at Utica College.