Joseph Campbell at Rally for Susan Walker
Joseph Campbell’s statement after the press conference and support rally for Susan Walker at the Chemung County Jail, Elmira, NY on Friday, September 21, 2012
The Odessa File Female protester refuses to pay fine, gets 15-day sentence
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Gary Judson’s Statement to the Court
Statement to be read at my court appearance on September 19, 2012
Your Honor, throughout history people have risen up in acts of Civil disobedience to protest against unjust laws, corrupt and oppressive governments, and corporations who care little for the local community, endangering their citizens and polluting their environment. Such is the case, I believe, with Inergy’s planned expansion of the gas storage facility in Schulyer County.
Within the last few months two brine spills at the Inergy facility have been reported to the DEC; one spill of 1745 gallons and another spill of some 15,000 gallons. Also Inergy has been in violation of the Clean Water Act at this facility every single quarter for the past three years. All this and the expansion is not yet begun.
Did you know that storing gas in salt caverns is perhaps the most dangerous form of gas storage? Since 1972 there have been 14 catastrophic failures at gas storage facilities, each one of them has been at a salt cavern storage facility.
Watkins Glen and the Finger Lakes are a premier tourist destination. Can you imagine the congestion that the additional truck traffic will cause, and the pollution pouring out of their tail pipes as they are stalled in traffic? This expansion has the potential for seriously harming tourism and our wine industry, causing the loss of a lot more jobs than Inergy will ever bring to our area.
I am concerned about the brine ponds planned for the hillside overlooking the lake. One bad storm or hurricane and they could overflow into the lake, destroying the ecology of the Seneca Lake for years.
But what is even more troubling is the connection between Inergy and the fracking industry. Inergy says it plans on storing LPG, but I believe their plan is to turn this facility into a major hub for the storage of natural gas. Your Honor, we are told that natural gas burns cleaner than coal. However, when you factor in the extraction process, it turns out to be just as dirty and dangerous for the environment. This reliance on natural gas only extends the use of fossil fuels, worsening the effect of climate change and forestalling the development of clean energy. Natural gas is no silver bullet. It is a bitter pill that we are being asked to swallow. We should not be encouraging the expansion of this industry.
I want this statement to be brief so I will end with this last concern. Inergy says it wants to be a good neighbor, but, according to an article in the Elmira Star Gazette, the company has requested that the assessed evaluation of their properties be reduced by $15 million dollars, depriving the Watkins Glen School District and the surrounding townships of $475,000 in tax revenues. Is that what you would call a “good neighbor”?
Your honor, I took this action in hopes of drawing attention to the potential dangers in this planned expansion of Inergy’s gas storage facility, but more importantly I did it to protect the health and beauty of this area so that our children and grandchildren can enjoy it as we have.
Thank you for granting my request to read this statement.