Press Kit

Press Releases

Letters from Jail

Press Statements for 4/17

Facebook Page for Sandra Steingraber

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4/22/13: PRESS RELEASE – MEDIA ALERT

Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D., Melissa Chipman, Michael Dineen released from jail on Thursday April 25.

What: Press Conference/Event, Thursday April 25, Seneca Lake Harbor Front Park

Where: Seneca Lake Harbor Front Park, outside,  Lake side at below location.                           Parking on location at the lakeside end of N. Decatur Street.                                         http://www.watkinsglenharborhotel.com/

When: 1:00 pm Thurday, April 25, 2013

Should there be a conflicting event or a situation arise where you may be late. Please call below contact information and we will hold the conference untill 1:30.

Background:

Businesswoman Melissa Chipman, Farm Owner Michael Dineen, and Author, Biologist, and Heinz Award Recipient Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D, refused to pay their fines on ethical grounds and were sentenced to fifteen days in jail by Reading Court Justice, Raymond H. Berry. Steingraber is a Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Ithaca College and a prominent critic of fracking and its related infrastructure. The three peaceful protesters were arrested as part of a civil disobedience blockade of Inergy’s salt cavern gas storage facility in Reading, NY, just a few miles north of Watkins Glen. The charge was trespassing.

More than 150 people from surrounding communities filled the Town of Reading (NY) Court Room and Court House, spilling out onto the sidewalk, parking lot, and lawn on Wednesday, April 17 as a show of support for the three defendants who had previously pled guilty. Justice Raymond Berry fined each of the three $375 and when they refused to pay he imposed the maximum possible sentence of fifteen days.

Contact:

Chris Tate    ctate@lightlink.com 607 351-3768 m 607 387-9285 office

Jack Ossont  sandhill1@frontiernet.net 607 243-7262

Background, video, photos: Our Future is Unfractured

Toronto Star Feature

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4/21/13: PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Three Members of the Seneca Lake 12 Jailed for a Peaceful Blockade of Inergy’s Salt Cavern Gas Storage Facility and Compressor Station.

Businesswoman Melissa Chipman, Farm Owner Michael Dineen, and Author, Biologist, and Heinz Award Recipient Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D, refused to pay their fines on ethical grounds and were sentenced to fifteen days in jail by Reading Court Justice, Raymond H. Berry. Steingraber is a Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Ithaca College and a prominent critic of fracking and its related infrastructure. The three peaceful protesters were arrested as part of a civil disobedience blockade of Inergy’s salt cavern gas storage facility in Reading, NY, just a few miles north of Watkins Glen. The charge was trespassing.

More than 150 people from surrounding communities filled the Town of Reading (NY) Court Room and Court House, spilling out onto the sidewalk, parking lot, and lawn on Wednesday, April 17 as a show of support for the three defendants who had previously pled guilty. Justice Raymond Berry fined each of the three $375 and when they refused to pay he imposed the maximum possible sentence of fifteen days.

“What’s legal and what is ethical are often at odds. These people of conscience took the high ground in defense of our community and our way of life” —resident Susan Walker

Hundreds of supporters waited outside for nearly an hour until the three were lead from the courthouse in hand cuffs and transported to the Schuyler County Jail. The two women were further processed and transported to the Chemung County Jail, as Schuyler County has no facilities to hold female prisoners.

“I believe it is wrong for corporations and people with lots of money/power to harm the earth and the beings living on it! The government has done nothing to protect the earth and the people they are supposed to represent, even though we have written letters, given them scientific evidence and held peaceful protests. They are not hearing us; therefore, I committed civil disobedience as a last resort to stop them from destroying my environment. And furthermore, I would rather eat bread and water now than have no bread and toxic water later!                                                                                        —Melissa Chipman courtroom statement

Background:

On March 18, Steingraber (Finger Lakes CleanWaters Initiative’s Scientific Advisor) and 10 fellow residents of the Finger Lakes region, in a peaceful act of civil disobedience, linked arms and blockaded a gas compressor station site run by Missouri-based Inergy, LLP, on Seneca Lake. They did so to demonstrate their opposition to the planned heavy industrialization of the Finger Lakes region, renowned for its natural beauty, vineyards, and tourism- and agriculture-based economy.  The protesters focus is to educate the community about the hazards of Inergy’s gas storage and transportation project, which threatens the drinking water supply for 100,000 people.

“In my field of environmental health, the word trespass has meaning. Toxic trespass refers to involuntary human exposure to a chemical or other pollutant. It is a contamination without consent. It is my belief, as a biologist, that Inergy is guilty of toxic trespass. Inergy has been out of compliance with EPA regulations every quarter for the past three years. In spite of this, Inergy applied for, and has received, from the state of New York a permit to discharge, every day, an additional 44,000 pounds of chloride into Seneca Lake. That’s 22 tons a day. That’s 8000 tons a year. Seneca Lake is a source of drinking water for 100,000 people. Those industrial discharges trespass into the bodies of those who drink it.”—Dr. Sandra Steingraber Ph.D courtroom statement

Find Sandra’s Letter’s From Jail on Facebook

Of special note: Important questions have been raised about the structural stability of Inergy’s salt caverns, at least one of which is located below a rock formation weakened by faults. An “Open File Report” authored by Pohn and Podwysocki evaluating geophysical data that was published in 1982, found the caverns unsuitable for storing spent nuclear fuel rods.

Salt caverns in the United States have a troubled safety history when used to store volatile gases. A 2004 analysis by industry insider John Hopper found them to be far more prone to catastrophic accidents than other more common underground storage options.  Salt caverns represented only 7 percent of the nation’s 407 underground storage sites for gas in 2002, but they were responsible for all 10 of the catastrophic accidents involving gas storage between 1972 and 2004, industry investigator John Hopper found in a 2004 analysis. (DC Bureau)

The recent collapse of Texas Brine’s salt cavern in Bayou Corne, LA and the damage to the interlocking Grand Bayou underscores this issue.

“I just want you to know that I do not take this step lightly. I’m 64 years old, my wife and I have a small farm in Seneca County. We grow organic grains and maintain a large garden we use to feed our daughters families and ours. Our garden is irrigated with lake water. I believe the Inergy gas storage complex will, at best, damage the community, and has the potential to do catastrophic damage. Important information has been kept from the public with the DEC’s cooperation. I did this to attempt to protect the community when all other means have failed.”— Michael Dineen courtroom statement

Moyers and Company, The Toxic Assault on our Children interview with Sandra Steingraber airing starting April 19.

Photo’s, video, bio’s, links and other info at: Our Future is Unfractured

Interviews for Melissa Chipman and Sandra Steingraber can be arranged by contacting the Chemung County Jail  Address: 211 William St, Elmira, NY 14901, Phone:(607) 737-2934

Interviews for Michael Dineen can be arranged by contacting the Schuyler County Jail, 106 Tenth Street, Watkins Glen, NY 14891. 607 535-8222

Contact: Jack Ossont  sandhill1@frontiernet.net 607 243-7262

Chris Tate    ctate@lightlink.com 607 351-3768 m 607 387-9285 office

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4/18/13: PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Members of Seneca Lake 12 Spend Earth Day Jailed for Blockade

Three Jailed After Peaceful Blockade of Inergy’s Salt Cavern Gas Storage Facility and Compressor Station. Oppose Fracking Infrastructure Build-Out.

NEW YORK, April 18, 2013- Businesswoman Melissa Chipman, farm owner Michael Dineen, and Author, Biologist, and Heinz Award Recipient Sandra Steingraber, PhD refused to pay their fines and were sentenced to fifteen days in jail by Reading Court Justice, Raymond H. Berry. Steingraber is a Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Ithaca College and a prominent critic of fracking. The three peaceful protesters were arrested as part of a civil disobedience blockade of Inergy’s salt cavern gas storage facility in Reading, NY, just north of Watkins Glen.

Over 200 people from surrounding communities filled the Reading (NY) Court House, spilling out onto the sidewalk, parking lot, on Wednesday, April 17 in a show of support for the three defendants who had previously plead guilty to trespassing. Justice Berry fined each of the three $375 and when they refused to pay he imposed the maximum possible sentence of fifteen days.

I would rather eat bread and water now than have no bread and toxic water, later!                                                                                                               –Melissa Chipman

On March 18, Steingraber and 10 fellow residents of the Finger Lakes region linked arms and blockaded a salt cavern gas storage site run by Missouri-based Inergy, LLP, on Seneca Lake. They did so to demonstrate their opposition to the planned heavy industrialization of the Finger Lakes region, renowned for its natural beauty, vineyards, and tourism- and agriculture-based economy. Inergy’s gas storage and transportation project threatens the drinking water supply for 100,000 people.

“In my field of environmental health, the word trespass has meaning. Toxic trespass refers to involuntary human exposure to a chemical or other pollutant. It is a contamination without consent”. –Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D., Finger Lakes CleanWaters Initiative’s Scientific Advisor 

Find Sandra’s Earth Day Letter From Jail on Facebook

Salt caverns in the United States have a troubled safety history when used to store volatile gases. A 2004 analysis by industry insider John Hopper found them to be far more prone to catastrophic accidents than other more common underground storage options. (DC Bureau)

The recent collapse Texas Brine’s cavern in Bayou Corne in the Grand Bayou, LA underscores this issue.

“I did this to attempt to protect the community when all other means have failed.”                                                                                                                                                                                               –Michael Dineen

Contact: Chris Tate 607 351-3768

Photos, video: http://ourfutureisunfractured.wordpress.com/

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4/17/13: PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Finger Lakes CleanWaters Initiative, Inc. www.FingerLakesCleanWaters.org

Coalition to Protect New York www.CoalitionToProtectNewYork.org

Three Peaceful Protesters—Including Dr. Sandra Steingraber—to Face Judge Wednesday April 17 at 7:00 PM in Reading (NY) Town Court.

Businesswoman Melissa Chipman, Farm Owner Michael Dineen, and Author, Biologist, and Heinz Award Recipient Sandra Steingraber, PhD, Announce Their Intent to Refuse Fines and Seek Jail Time on Ethical Grounds. Sandra Steingraber is a Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Ithaca College and a Prominent Critic of Fracking and Its Related Infrastructure.

On March 18, the three defendants and eight others, in a peaceful act of civil disobedience, blockaded a gas compressor station site run by Missouri-based Inergy, LLP, on Seneca Lake. They did so to demonstrate their opposition to the planned heavy industrialization of the Finger Lakes region, renowned for its natural beauty, vineyards, and tourism- and agriculture-based economy.  The peaceful protesters are working to make others aware of the hazards of Inergy’s gas storage and transportation project, which threatens the water supply for 100,000 people. All were arrested and charged with trespassing.

I blocked the entrance to the Inergy gas storage facility because I believe that the  institutions who, by law and purpose, are required to protect the people and the environment from harm can no longer be relied on to do so.  The DEC has allowed the Inergy Corporation to hide vital information about the safety of the caverns and the extent of the geologic faulting behind a screen of “trade secrets.” Such collusion between the industry and its regulators is unacceptable. When the government fails to act in the public interest, the public must act on its own.— Michael Dineen

 I’d rather have bread and water now than no bread and toxic water later as a result of this flawed Inergy project.—Melissa Chipman

My small, peaceful act of trespass was intended to prevent a larger, violent one: the trespass of hazardous chemicals into air and water and the intrusion of fracking infrastructure into our beloved Finger Lakes where it further entrenches fossil fuel extraction. For defending water, air, and climate stability on which my children’s lives depend, and because I have deep respect for the rule of law, I am willing to go to jail. —Sandra Steingraber

Inergy originally contended that the salt caverns would be used to store liquid petroleum gas from outside the area, but has since applied for a permit to expand  “natural” gas storage in the caverns. The company has announced to investors that it intends to turn the Finger Lakes region into a gas transportation and storage hub for the entire Northeast. This heavy industry poses a threat to public health and safety and has the potential to undermine very lucrative sustainable local economies that employ thousands of residents.

One of the deepest and cleanest lakes in North America, Seneca Lake serves as source of drinking water for 100,000 people. It is a renowned fishery and recognized world wide for its pristine beauty, and tranquil environs. The Finger Lakes of New York have a thriving and expanding wine industry that, along with a well established agricultural economy, feed a well-established and growing tourism sector that attracts visitors from all over the U.S. and every corner of the globe.

Of special note: Important questions have been raised about the structural stability of Inergy’s salt caverns, at least one of which is located below a rock formation weakened by faults. An “Open File Report” authored by Pohn and Podwysocki evaluating geophysical data that was published in 1982, found the caverns unsuitable for storing spent nuclear fuel rods. The recent collapse of Texas Brine’s salt cavern in Bayou Corne, LA and the damage it is causing to the interlocking Grand Bayou underscores this issue.

Salt caverns in the United States have a troubled safety history when used to store volatile gases. A 2004 analysis by industry insider John Hopper found them to be far more prone to catastrophic accidents than other more common underground storage options.  Salt caverns represented only 7 percent of the nation’s 407 underground storage sites for gas in 2002, but they were responsible for all 10 of the catastrophic accidents involving gas storage between 1972 and 2004, industry investigator John Hopper found in a 2004 analysis. (DC Bureau)

The Seneca Lake 12 are being arraigned before Reading Town Justice Raymond H. Berry in two-week intervals, three defendants at a time. In the two earlier arraignments, a law student who had been acting as legal liaison for the protesters and should not have been arrested (making the 12th) was granted a postponement. Judge Berry issued the other five peaceful protesters the maximum possible fine of $375. They all paid with donations gathered from supporters within the community. The final three defendants will be arraigned on May 1.

On September 6, in a separate action, three other protesters were arrested for trespassing on the same property. Jeremy Alderson and Reverend Gary Judson chained themselves to the fence at the entrance to the Inergy property. Susan Walker was also arrested. In court, Walker refused to pay her fine on ethical grounds and was sentenced to 15 days; eventually serving 9 days in jail. Reverend Gary Judson paid the fine, and Jeremy Alderson requested a trial. His motions have been denied, and his trial is now scheduled for May 2.

Further background, video, photos, quotes, http://ourfutureisunfractured.wordpress.com/

Contact

For Melissa Chipman and Michael Dineen: Jack Ossont 607-243-7262, sandhill1@frontiernet.net

For Sandra Steingraber: Chris Tate 607-351-3768, ctate@lightlink.com

___________________________________________________________

4/15/13: MEDIA ALERT – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts: Jack Ossont 607-243-7262sandhill1@frontier.net

Chris Tate 607-351-3768ctate@lightlink.com

Three Peaceful Protesters Including Dr. Sandra Steingraber to Face Judge Wed. Evening

Press event and rally will be held in Watkins Glen before 7 PM arraignment.                      

Who:  Melissa Chipman, Michael Dineen, and Sandra Steingraber, PhD, of the Seneca Lake 12

What: Press Event 5:00 pm, Glen Harbor/Seneca Harbor Station Marina Park, south end of Seneca Lake off of N. Decatur St., Watkins Glen

            Rally 5:30 pm, Same location

Hearing 7:00 pm, Reading Town Court, 3914 Co. Rd 28, Watkins Glen

When: Wednesday April 17, 2013, Three events, two locations, see above

The three defendants will explain their decision to engage in civil disobedience and announce their further intentions at a press event/rally before their court appearances. Both events will be held in the park next to the marina in the Glen Harbor area of Watkins Glen, beginning at 5 PM.

The hearing will take place in Reading Town Court at 7:00 pm and will include the arraignment of biologist and author Sandra Steingraber, PhD, distinguished scholar in residence at Ithaca College and a prominent critic of fracking and its related infrastructure, along with Schuyler County resident and businesswoman Melissa Chipman and Seneca County resident and farm owner Michael Dineen.

Background

The “Seneca Lake 12” were arrested on March 18 for blockading the gas compressor station site at the southwest end of Seneca Lake. They did so to demonstrate their opposition to the intentions of Inergy, LLC, a Missouri-based company, to force industrialization of a lake that serves as the source of drinking water for 100,000 people—and eventually the entire Finger Lakes region.

Without consent from local affected communities, Inergy plans to turn the region into a fossil fuel transportation and storage hub for the Northeast. This threatens public health and safety, and would adversely affect the local tourist and agricultural economy. The protesters foresee that this is an early step in a build-out of infrastructure to support the distribution of shale gas from fracking, a dubious method of extreme energy extraction which has had myriad toxic consequences in other states.

Five of the Seneca Lake 12 have already appeared in court and were ordered to pay fines of $375 each. The previous arrestees paid their fines, with the financial support of the local community.

Further background, video, photos, quotes, http://ourfutureisunfractured.wordpress.com/

The next three Seneca Lake 12 defendants will appear in Reading Town Court on May 1.

Contact

For Melissa Chipman and Michael Dineen: Jack Ossont 607-243-7262,sandhill1@frontier.net

For Sandra Steingraber: Chris Tate 607-351-3768ctate@lightlink.com

___________________________________________________________

3/18/13 PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Unfracturedfuture@gmail.com973-557-8916

**Story is Developing** Updates: www.ourfutureisunfractured.wordpress.com

Sandra Steingraber Arrested with Local Residents and Students in Blockade of Watkins Glen, NY Natural Gas Storage Facility

Civil Disobedience in Anticipation of 250+ Person Rally Calls Attention to Controversial Fracking Infrastructure

Reading, NY – Sandra Steingraber PhD., biologist, author and Trumansburg, NY resident, was arrested alongside eleven residents of Seneca Lake and local college students to oppose Kansas City, MO based Inergy, LP’s natural gas and liquid petroleum gas storage facility, which would lock in natural gas development in the Marcellus Shale region. Protesters linked arms and deployed a banner reading “Our Future is Unfractured, We Are Greater Than Dirty Inergy” across the entrance to the facility on NY State Route 14.

The blockade precedes a 250+ person rally opposing the Inergy facility scheduled to begin at the Watkins Glen Village Marina at 5:00 PM today (press event 4:30 PM). Note: This is a change from the previous location.

Eleven demonstrators blockaded the Inergy facility, which they say is one example of numerous fracking infrastructure projects that the NYS DEC and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission have allowed to “slip in the back door” while NY State Governor Andrew Cuomo debates allowing the controversial and extreme process of horizontal hydraulic fracturing.

Steingraber, who lives in neighboring Tompkins County said, “It is wrong to bury explosive, toxic petroleum gases in underground chambers next to a source of drinking water for 100,000 people.  It is wrong to build out the infrastructure for fracking at a time of climate emergency.  It is right for me come to the shores of Seneca Lake, where my 11-year-old son was born, and say, with my voice and with my body, as a mother and biologist, that this facility is a threat to life and health.”

The blockade joins a growing national movement to call attention to environmental injustices caused by unconventional and extreme fossil fuel extraction techniques, including Inergy’s hotly debated salt cavern gas storage facility proposed for Reading, NY.

Dennis Fox, a Cornell University Sophomore said “This isn’t just a local issue—when students stand shoulder to shoulder with communities on the frontlines of the fight against extreme projects like Inergy’s, we’re one step closer to stopping fracking, and one step closer to protecting my generation’s future from poisoned water and devastating climate change.”

Inergy’s facility has generated widespread concerns for its proximity to Seneca Lake, New York State’s largest fresh water body and the source of drinking water for 100,000 people.

Michael Dineen, a resident of Seneca County, which contains a portion of Seneca Lake, said, “The priorities of Inergy’s project are all wrong. Drinking water and people’s health are more valuable than gas. The Finger Lakes region holds one of the largest pool of fresh water in the United States and needs our protection—we don’t need to lock in investments in dirty fracking infrastructure that will deepen our dependence on an inherently contaminating industry.”

Melissa Chipman, a resident of Schuyler County, where the facility is located said “Not only do salt cavern gas storage facilities like Inergy’s have a very high probability of ‘catastrophic equipment failure,’ but I do not want more truck traffic polluting our air, destroying our roads, and scaring tourists away.”

The DEC has received increasingly vocal criticism from local wineries and tourist businesses for refusing to conduct a comprehensive review of the potential environmental and economic impacts of Inergy’s plans to expand gas storage capacity of the current facility from 1.5 to 10.0 billion cubic feet. 

**Story is Developing** Updates: www.ourfutureisunfractured.wordpress.com

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4 comments on “Press Kit

  1. onebirdsflight says:

    Let the greedy frackers eat their money. Leave us our clean Earth mother that we may always survive from her bountiful harvest

  2. […] of horizontal hydraulic fracturing,” the group behind the action Our Future Is Unfractured stated […]

  3. Joy Smith says:

    Thank you, Sandra and fellow fracktivists – You are doing the right thing. We must stand united against fracking.

  4. Edie says:

    These criminals think nothing of infringing on our resources…and Big Gov says we are short of water ???? why are we wasting it on fracking ???????.. The NY Governor has’t sign off on this yet ….I thought

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