We are Seneca Lake!

Statement by Wes Gillingham, Catskill Mountainkeeper Project Director at July 18, 2016 Protest

Screen_Shot_2016-07-18_at_11.05.25_AM.png"Seneca Lake and the Catskill Mountains are connected by a pipeline. We are also connected by beautiful surroundings and by communities that have hope for a better future I love where I live! This storage facility here at Seneca Lake would be connected to the Millennium pipeline, which runs through the western Catskills on its way east and south to the CPV gas-fired power plant in Orange County that is now under construction. Two new compressor stations are proposed along the Millennium pipeline located near my home -- plus another connecting pipeline coming directly from the gas fields in Susquehanna county PA."

My name is Wes Gillingham. I am 56 years old and am a resident of Sullivan County where I serve as program director for Catskill Mountainkeeper. 

I am risking arrest today with more than 50 other New Yorkers from all over the state to say NO to more build-out of fracked gas infrastructure.   

I live in the Catskills, another place known for its beauty and national significance, similar to the Finger Lakes. Both the Finger Lakes and the Catskills sit over the Marcellus Shale, and, although we are protected from drilling and fracking for now, both regions are threatened by the gas industry’s infrastructure invasion. The industry is seeking new markets for their gas because they crashed their old markets with their greedy drilling rush. So, now they look at the Finger Lakes and the Catskills as places to transport their gas across.

As part of that greedy story; This storage facility here at Seneca Lake would be connected to the Millennium pipeline, which runs through the western Catskills on its way east and south to the CPV gas-fired power plant in Orange County that is now under construction.

Two new compressor stations are proposed along the Millennium pipeline located near my home -- plus another connecting pipeline coming directly from the gas fields in Susquehanna county PA.

Seneca Lake and the Catskill Mountains are connected by a pipeline. We are also connected by beautiful surroundings and by communities that have hope for a better future I love where I live!

The land where we have made a home and a farm has known three generations of Gillinghams, and we have built a reciprocal relationship to those hemlock, yellow birch, and maple trees. We care for that spring where we haul water for our animals in winter. We care for the pond where we swim in the summer.

The people here protesting today come from communities surrounding Seneca Lake, from all parts of New York-- and even New Jersey and California because they, too, have built lives connected to places they love. Of significance today is that this blockade is not just a line of over fifty or so people who got up at dawn to stand in the way of this one particular travesty. Or the crowd that gathers to support us.

Sure, we are here to speak out to protect the place we love, but we stand here connected not just by a gas pipeline, a gas storage facility compressor station, or gas-fired power plant

We are also connected by our willingness to stand together with people from all across this state to change our course from a dead-end, fossil-fuel future to one of hope, dignity, and a just transition to a better future. To transition away from energy that destroys vast swaths of of rural landscapes and that poisons the lungs of black and brown people living in urban landscapes.

While we stand here in solidarity with the people of Seneca Lake, we are also standing up against the devastation in the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota and the bomb trains bringing that fracked oil to Albany. We are standing up against the oil and gas money that pollutes our politics. We are standing up against deep-water drilling, fracking, and pipelines that are rubber-stamped by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. We are standing up against the Exxons of the world who foul our water, our communities, our air, and our government -- and then expect us to sit at home while they foul our entire planet.

Well, guess what, brothers Koch? And guess what, Bob Phillips, CEO of Crestwood Equity Partners LP? And guess what Con Ed investors? We are not staying home any more! We are getting up, speaking out, and risking arrest, if need be, and we are doing this all across the world.

We Are Seneca Lake speaks to the fact you can’t separate the people from the place and that we are at a point in history where we need to stand up for both place and for ourselves. And here’s what we are standing up for: clean water, healthy food, a stable climate, justice in our communities. And what we are for holds way more promise and hope than anything Crestwood, Con Ed, or Exxon could ever offer.

That’s why I consider it a privilege and a gift to be here to stand with you all for this place and for our planet’s future.

We are all Seneca Lake!

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