Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Activists hold signs during Friday's action. (Photo: @savenyst/Twitter)

Activists Form Human Blockade to Stop Community from Becoming 'Gas Station for Fracking'

Embracing civil disobedience, local residents call on elected officials to 'stop this terrible project from ruining the heart of the Finger Lakes'

Deirdre Fulton

Anti-fracking activists gathered in an act of non-violent civil disobedience on Friday morning near where energy company Crestwood Midstream was scheduled to begin construction on a massive underground gas storage depot on the banks of one of the Finger Lakes in central New York.

Wearing the color blue and calling themselves We Are Seneca Lake, protesters congregated for a rally and human blockade at the gates of the Crestwood compressor station site. Some were prepared to get arrested.

"Seneca Lake is a source of drinking water for 100,000 people and a source of economic prosperity for the whole region, not a gas station for fracking operations," said biologist and author Sandra Steingraber, who lives in the Finger Lakes region and participated in the demonstration. Steingraber spent 10 days in jail last year for blocking the entrance to the Inergy natural gas facility. "It’s a place for tourists, wineries, farms, and families. Speaking with our bodies in an act of civil disobedience is a measure of last recourse to protect our home, our water, and our local economy—with our bodies and our voices, telling Texas-based Crestwood to go home!”

Watch Steingraber's invitation to the rally here:

In late September, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved Crestwood Midstream's request to begin construction to expand underground methane storage in salt caverns next to Seneca Lake, one of 11 Finger Lakes. The New York Department of Environmental Conservation is still considering whether a Crestwood subsidiary, Arlington Storage, can use other caves near the lake to store liquefied petroleum gas.

Opponents of both projects say the effort to store highly pressurized, explosive gas in salt caverns is part of a coordinated strategy to build out fracking infrastructure throughout the Northeast. More than 200 businesses, along with at least 60 wineries, 11 municipalities, and thousands of residents in the Finger Lakes region have stated concerns about the threat gas storage poses to human health, drinking water, and the local economy, including the tourism industry.

There remain unresolved questions about geological instabilities, fault lines, and possible salinization of the lake.

Friday morning's action follows a smaller, seven-hour human blockade that took place Thursday.

Protesters are calling on elected officials to step in and block Crestwood's ambitions.

"As we literally put our bodies on the line, we once again call on President Obama, Governor Cuomo, Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, and Congressman Reed to do what’s right and step in and stop this terrible project from ruining the heart of the Finger Lakes," said Watkins Glen resident Lyn Gerry, who also participated in Friday’s blockade.

Watch a live stream of the action here:

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Trump Says Mar-a-Lago 'Under Siege, Raided, and Occupied' by FBI

"The accountability our democracy desperately needs for its survival might, just might, be a real possibility," said the head of a watchdog group.

Common Dreams staff ·


New Ad Against Herschel Walker Features Ex-Wife's Domestic Violence Accusations

A leader at the anti-Trump group behind the advertisement targeting the U.S. Senate candidate said that "our campaign is built around the voices of Georgia Republicans who know that he's unfit for office."

Jessica Corbett ·


Michigan AG Urges Probe of Alleged GOP-Led Effort to Break Into Voting Machines

"We must denounce the Big Lie and those who refuse to uphold the will of the people in our elections," said one democracy defender.

Brett Wilkins ·


Hopes Rise for Return to Iran Nuclear Deal Destroyed by Trump

"We stand five minutes or five seconds from the finish line," said one negotiator, who added that "three or four issues" that are "sensitive for Iranians and Americans" remain to be resolved.

Brett Wilkins ·


Sinema Received Over $500K From Private Equity Before Shielding Industry From Tax Hikes

"Remember the days when taking half a million bucks from an industry, and then passing legislation that only benefits that industry, while passing the costs onto everyone else, would be called corruption?" asked one critic. "Today it's just lobbying as usual."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo