WATKINS GLEN, NY – 53 people from across 18 different New York counties — as well as a few out-of-state visitors — were arrested on Monday morning at the Stagecoach (formerly Crestwood) Seneca Lake gas storage facility, according to a press release from activist group We Are Seneca Lake.

The protesters formed a human blockade on the driveway of the gas storage complex along Route 14 in the Town of Reading shortly before 7:00 a.m.

During the blockade, the protesters stopped all traffic entering and leaving the facility, according to the press release. Shortly before 8:00 a.m., they were arrested by Schuyler County sheriff’s deputies, charged with disorderly conduct, and transported to the sheriff’s department.

The rallying cry, “We are ALL Seneca Lake” was used by the demonstrators to highlight the idea that everyone is connected to the need to work toward a transition to clean energy. New infrastructure projects that rely on fossil fuels are contrary to that goal, hence that ongoing protests.

David Braun, 45, of Oakland California, shared his first-hand experience with gas storage disaster: the Aliso Canyon Gas Leak. “Don’t let it happen here. Don’t turn wine country into fracked gas country. Don’t build Aliso Canyon in New York’s Napa Valley,” Braun said according to the press release.

YouTube video

(Photo and video courtesy of We Are Seneca Lake)

“As a scientist, I know that there is no bigger threat to our planet than climate change. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas,” Biochemist Martha Ferger, PhD, 92, of Dryden said according to the press release. “Storing methane in the salt caverns here at Seneca Lake will make the problem of climate change worse, not better.”

18 Tompkins residents were arrested at the demonstration. They are:

Thomas Blecher, 68, Ithaca

Desmond A. Brown Jr., 22

Fred Conner, 60, Dryden

Karen Edelstein, 55, Lansing

Elisa Evett, 71, Brooktondale

Martha Ferger, 92, Dryden

Wayne I. Gottlieb, 58, Ithaca

Margaret Hammond, 62, Ithaca

Ellen Z. Harrison, Ithaca

Niall Hodges, 19, Ithaca

Catherine Johnson, 54, Ithaca

Yvonne LaMontagne, 66, Ithaca

Sandra Marshall, 67, Newfield

Mariana D. Morse, 67, Brooktondale

Elan Shapiro, 68, Ithaca

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