Pennsylvania

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Lancaster County pipeline opponents prepare for encampments

About 200 people gathered in southern Lancaster County Sunday and ceremonially burned the final environmental impact statement for the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline. In the document, federal regulators had concluded the project would not create significant environmental harm.

Marie Cusick / StateImpact Pennsylvania

About 200 people gathered in southern Lancaster County Sunday and ceremonially burned the final environmental impact statement for the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline. In the document, federal regulators had concluded the project would not create significant environmental harm.

Anti-pipeline activists in Lancaster County are preparing to engage in nonviolent civil disobedience to block a proposed natural gas transmission line.

The group Lancaster Against Pipelines is spearheading the effort. Activists have built two wooden structures near Conestoga, which they intend to occupy if and when crews begin work on the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline.

Williams, the Oklahoma-based company behind the project, expects to receive final approval from federal regulators within weeks. The pipeline recently cleared a major regulatory hurdle, when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued its final environmental impact statement (EIS), and found the pipeline would not create significant environmental harm.

About 200 people attended an event Sunday afternoon where they ceremonially ripped up the EIS and threw it into a bonfire. Pipeline activist Tim Spiese views the entire environmental impact statement as part of a larger process that’s rigged in favor of natural gas companies.

“It’s so flawed,” he says. “The EPA said there were problems. The Department of Environmental Protection in Pennsylvania said there were problems. All of us who live along the line said there were problems.”

Organizers from at least three other states were in attendance to recruit and train people on nonviolent direct action. Some of them had taken part in the monthslong protest against an oil pipeline in North Dakota with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. Activists say at least two members of the tribe have pledged to help with an occupation targeting the Atlantic Sunrise line.

The pipeline is designed to carry Marcellus Shale natural gas southward to markets along the east coast and to an export terminal near the Chesapeake Bay.

Williams spokesman Mike Atchie gave a presentation on the benefits of the Atlantic Sunrise line at the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg on Thursday and was briefly heckled by a protester.

“If there’s a chance [the activists] try in some manner to block this, we’d work with the local emergency responders and local police to– first and foremost– ensure safety is adhered to,” says Atchie. “We hope we can get to a reasonable time where we can begin construction. We’re optimistic about the prospect to do so in 2017.”

Comments

  • Wayne

    God bless them. Stop investing in new fossil fuel delivery infrastructure for fracked gas and oil, gas liquids, and tar sands oil. Switch with a war time urgency to renewable energy. Expand into the 21st Century, not backwards into the 19th.

    • Gale Hess

      It takes a while, but as with eating local, people are waking up to powering local. A small investment in a few solar panels go a long way. An electric car (only chevy’s or tesla, not leaf’s defective battery charging/cooling system) will also save big $$$ and many less trips to the shop/waste of time. The future looks pretty good.

  • jperrin21

    Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is a rubberstamp nightmare. Activists have my support.

  • http://flippetyfloppety.blogspot.com Karen Orlando

    http://earthfirstjournal.org/newswire/2014/09/09/peoples-climate-action-camp-against-the-rockaway-pipeline/

    It is unsurprising to me that ecocamps of resistance to natural gas and other pipelines are becoming super trendy. One was called for a few years ago by antifracking pipeline activists and others over three years ago in nyc. Thankfully that occupation did not come to pass.

    Maybe it will get super exciting for some reporters to cover if someone loses part of their arm in an escalation standoff over this pipeline in Pennsylvania like with the Dakota pipeline?. I hear a pipeline resister actually wants to resist testifying before a grand jury on how this young pipeline warrior that got arrested with all gores daughter in a natural gas pipeline construction ditch last summer had part of her arm blown off in North dakota over the dakota pipeline.

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