One of the biggest continuing struggles is at Seneca Lake, New York, the largest of the Finger Lakes in a beautiful rural area of wineries, local organic agriculture and tourism where residents are fighting a proposal by Crestwood Midstream to store fracked gas (methane, propane and butane) in underground salt caverns. A group called We Are Seneca Lake has been trying to block the project for several months. Last week 41 more people were arrested, including many teachers who spoke movingly of taking personal action to safeguard their students' future. Then it was musicians. Christmas week it was Santa, Mrs. Claus and a passel of elves. Check out the video here.
In Cromwell, Connecticut, on December 15, Capitalism versus the Climate carried out an action at a compressor station owned by Spectra Energy, which has applied to FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission -- see previous post) for approval to expand its Algonquin pipeline through New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. The project generated a whole week of protest called the Week of Respect and Resistance, December 12-19, originally timed to coincide with FERC's final ruling on the project, which has since been pushed into January, 2015. Check out the photos at the bottom of this post.
The activists built a "bridge to nowhere" in contradiction to the industry's and politicians' claims that "natural" fracked gas is a bridge from oil and coal to a clean energy future. Since some peer-reviewed studies show that the amount of leakage of methane (the main component of natural gas) from well heads and pipelines can create more global warming gases over the first 20 years after release than burning coal (which is the critical timeframe for halting climate change), it's hardly a bridge; one clever academic called it a "gangplank." Click here for my on-the-scene coverage of the action on Between the Lines.
This stepped-up activity coincides with the continuing outpouring of anger and anguish all over the country against police violence directed at the African American community. Participants in both have made the case that these struggles must be linked if we hope to succeed in either of them. I've seen the sign, Black Lives Matter, carried in climate justice marches; another obvious connection is that climate chaos will first and most devastatingly impact people of color around the world, who have contributed the least to creating the problem. But really, I support the Black Lives Matter campaign because it's just the right thing to do. I couldn't say it any better than Brentin Mock, who blogs on environmental justice for Grist. Check out his post and the links inside, especially the one to Sierra Club head Michael Brune's letter on the subject.