This weekend, an internationally renowned environmentalist and human rights activist will embark on a 170-mile "Water Walk For Life," protesting proposed pipelines that would run from Albany to New Jersey.
Parallel Pilgrim pipelines would transport 17 million gallons of petroleum products a day. North Dakotan Bakken crude oil (near Standing Rock) would flow from Albany south to Linden, New Jersey, with refined products returning north. The lines would cross 235 regulated streams in New York and two drinking water aquifers in New Jersey. Activists warn that each of these crossings would disturb or destroy critical wildlife habitats and endanger clean water sources for more than 100,000 people.
Jun Yasuda, a Buddhist nun, whose "home base" is the Grafton Peace Pagoda, left Japan in 1978 and has walked more than 80,000 miles in various protests and demonstrations. She will begin the 13-day walk to raise awareness in New Jersey near Ramapo College. "I am now 69 years old, and this is the summertime and very hot outside. And walking 11 to 17, 18 miles to me is challenging to my body."
Jim Suriano is a walk organizer: "The Water Walk For Life" will start on July 22nd at the Ramapough Lenape Camp in Ramapo, New Jersey. It will continue to Saturday August 5th, ending in Grafton, New York, for Hiroshima Day. This is our second Water Walk for life. We had one earlier this year that went from Carteret, New Jersey to Indian Point nuclear facility."
Five proposed accessory pipelines would carry oil from the main lines to tank farms along the Hudson River. In addition to building the pipelines, access roads for construction and maintenance would be required at 1-mile intervals along the entire route for a total of 215 proposed new roadways, requiring the clearing of at least 600 acres of forest.
Yasuda has been preparing for the 170-mile trek through fasting and prayer. Looking back, she believes her years of activism have paid off. "I do same thing over 40 years. So, slowly slowly, peoples open up heart, so we just keep going. This is very slow process, little by little, step by step."
Opponents cite an analysis by the International Energy Agency, which has found that between 2004 and 2012, pipelines spilled three times as much crude oil as the beleaguered oil trains.
According to Water Walk for Life spokesperson George Cho, the refinery at the southern end of the proposed Pilgrim dual Pipeline is owned by Houston-based Phillips 66, which is also responsible for the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline.
The walk, timed to conclude around the date of the 72nd anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, will traverse communities directly in the Pilgrim pipelines’ proposed route in New York including Harriman, Tuxedo, Newburgh, New Paltz, Esopus, Highland, Kingston, Saugerties, Catskill, Coxsackie, Bethlehem, and Albany, ending in Grafton at the Peace Pagoda.
- Join the walk for a few hours or a few days with prayers for water at risk from the proposed Pilgrim Pipeline:
Schedule subject to change. This is a drug and alcohol free walk for environmental awareness of the sacred Hudson River Valley and its waters.
Day 1: Saturday July 22 10AM
Ramapough-Lunaape Split Rock
Prayer Camp near Ramapo College
Begin with Water Ceremony, Walk to Sloatsburg
Day 2: Sunday July 23 8AM
Sloatsburg to Harriman
Day 3: Monday July 24 8AM
Harriman to Washingtonville
Day 4: Tuesday July 25 8AM
Washingtonville to Warden
Day 5: Wednesday July 26 8AM
Warden to New Paltz
Day 6: Thursday July 27 8AM
New Paltz to Kingston
Day 7: Friday July 28 8AM
Rest Day in Kingston
Day 8: Saturday July 29 8AM
Kingston to Saugerties
Day 9: Sunday July 30 8AM
Saugerties to Catskill
Day 10: Monday July 31 8AM
Catskill to Ravena
Day 11: Tuesday August 1 8AM
Ravena to Bethlehem
Day 12: Wednesday August 2 8AM
Bethlehem to Albany
Day 13: Thursday August 3 8AM
Albany to Troy
Day 14: Friday August 4 8AM
Work Camp at Grafton Peace Pagoda
Day 15: Saturday August 5
Hiroshima Day Ceremony at Grafton Peace Pagoda
Walk from Grafton Town Center at 6:30pm
Ceremony for Peace at Grafton Peace
Located nearby Mohican sacred burial site
- Wikipedia link on the history of Peace Pagodas and a list of all present day Peace Pagodas around the world: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_Pagoda
- Information on Nichidatsu Fujii, Peace Pagodas and the work of Nipponzan Myōhōji: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nichidatsu_Fujii
- The New England Peace Pagoda: http://newenglandpeacepagoda.org/
Water Walk for Life Co-Sponsors: Food & Water Watch, Ramapough Lenape Nation, Coalition Against Pilgrim Pipeline, Riverkeeper, 350NJ, Central Jersey Coalition Against Endless War, Green Party, Sierra Club, Nipponzan Myohoji