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Watkins Glen, NY – In the first action of 2016, six We Are Seneca Lake protesters from five different New York counties toasted the New Year with apple cider, resolved to continue their campaign, and called for urgent action to protect the climate as they formed a human chain across the north entrance of Crestwood Midstream on Route 14 shortly before 9 a.m. this morning.

They blocked a tanker truck and a pick-up truck before their arrest by Schuyler County deputies.

Today’s blockaders held banners that said, “Crestwood = Climate Crisis” and “2016: Out with the Old. In with ReNEWables.”

All were transported to the Schuyler County Sheriff’s department, charged with disorderly conduct, and released.

Mother, grandmother, and art teacher Lyndsay Clark, 54, of Springwater, Livingston County, led fellow blockaders in a toast:

“We Are Seneca Lake resolves to protect and defend this water below us and this climate above us from reckless gas storage every day this year. If there is no other way, we will peacefully stand in the way. 2016 is the year of climate action, and we hereby resolve to act.”

(Image provided by We Are Seneca Lake)

Environmental researcher and blockader John Dennis, PhD, 65, of Lansing, Tompkins County, noted, “Some of these natural gas storage caverns were drilled in the 1950s. They could fail and release methane into the atmosphere just as has the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage cavern that is currently releasing methane into the atmosphere near Los Angeles.”

The total number of arrests in the sixteen-month-old civil disobedience campaign now stands at 460.

The We Are Seneca Lake movement opposes Crestwood’s plans for methane and LPG storage in lakeside salt caverns and has been ongoing since October 2014.

Crestwood’s methane gas storage expansion project was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in October 2014 in the face of broad public opposition and unresolved questions about geological instabilities, fault lines, and possible salinization of Seneca Lake, which serves as a source of drinking water for 100,000 people.

The six arrested yesterday were:

Michael Bucci, 67, Walton, Delaware County

Lyndsay Clark, 54, Springwater, Livingston County

John Dennis, 65, Lansing, Tompkins County

Michael Dineen, 67, Ovid, Seneca County

Lynn Donaldson, 72, Keuka Park, Yates County

Mariana Morse, 67, Caroline, Tompkins County

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Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.