Crust of the Earth Vol. 2 – Benefit Show

Benefit show for Hudson Valley Earth First! and that eco-defense stuff we do. We got bands, pizza, beer and great people as always!


Bands:

Cell 63 (awesome shit)
Exit 17 (new paltz)
Plastic (first Show/ex members of Praxis, Selfbeater and Psychwar)

Come through and support the fight!

My Place Pizza – 322 Main Street Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

Tree stumps blocking delivery of steam generators to CPV site in Wawayanda

A crane helps offload a shipment of "heat recovery steam generators" from a barge at Steelways, Inc. on Water Street in the City of Newburgh on Friday.|

A crane helps offload a shipment of “heat recovery steam generators” from a barge at Steelways, Inc. on Water Street in the City of Newburgh on Friday. The shipment, bound for the CPV site in Wawayanda, is still there, blocked by a pair of tree stumps and bureaucracy. Allyse Pulliam/For the Times Herald-Record James Nani

  • Times Herald-Record

    Posted Jul. 22, 2016 at 8:42 PM
    Updated Jul 22, 2016 at 11:58 PM

    CITY OF NEWBURGH Two humble tree stumps are blocking the path of a load of multi-ton steam generators destined for the $900 million power plant under construction in the Town of Wawayanda.

    On Friday, a large yellow crane helped to offload a shipment of “heat recovery steam generators” from a barge at Steelways, Inc. on Water Street in the City of Newburgh.

    The crane placed the massive load onto a carrier about 90 feet long with 18 rows of wheels.

    But the trip from the shores of the Hudson River to Competitive Power Ventures’ Valley Energy Center’s construction site in Wawayanda hit a snag … or a stump.

    David Plotkin, president of Steelways, Inc., said workers are ready to move the shipment, but they first need permission from the City of Newburgh to cross Water Street.

    Plotkin said in order to move the generators, they need to back the truck into a lot Steelways owns across the street from the dock. Plotkin said the lot had been fallow for some time and two trees had grow there.

    They cut the trees down, but Plotkin said the city engineer stopped them this week from buzz-sawing the stumps down to ground height, telling them they need a new site plan approval to remove the stumps and safely haul the generators away. With the stumps still there, the truck can’t back out and leave, Plotkin said.

    Plotkin said City Manager Michael Ciaravino has been working hard with Steelways to resolve the issue so that it won’t linger until the next City Council meeting. But he needs to get permission from the city’s engineer, fire and police departments and building inspector first.

    “The city manager has been cooperative,” Plotkin said. “We’re caught up in the city’s bureaucracy.”

    Several calls to the city engineer and city manager Friday were not returned in time for publication.

    Danny Cain, a safety and risk manager with Edwards Moving and Rigging, said his company is in charge of shipping 20 of the massive generators and two steam drums to Wawayanda. Each generator weighs between 113,000 and 230,000 pounds.

    “They must be delivered in a sequential order to the plant due to the fact that they will be aligned and connected to each other once they arrive,” Cain said.

    CPV’s 650-megawatt, natural gas-fired power plant is expected to begin operation in February 2018. CPV’s environmental impact statement for the plant says each steam generator will take in exhaust heat from two combustion turbines to produce steam that will drive a steam turbine.

    But until the city gives the go-ahead on a new site plan, the generators aren’t going anywhere, Plotkin says.

    “We’re waiting for permission to cross Water Street,” Plotkin said. “We’d like to have one truck moved by Saturday morning.”

    jnani@th-record.com

Over Ten Years to Talk About: Eric McDavid’s Speaking Tour of New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania

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from Sacramento Prisoner Support

Eric McDavid, a former Anarchist prisoner will be talking about ten plus years of experiences including federal prison time, the post release period and moving forward as well. The importance of supporting political prisoners will be brought up along with so much more. If you are in the area of any one of the locations listed at the bottom, please come, check it out and tell a friend!

Starting back in early 2006, from the first one of his co-defendants who took a cooperation deal and agreed to testify against Eric at trial to the second of his two co-defendants taking that same deal about 6 months later Eric began a long road as an anarchist prisoner. Being charged with” conspiracy to damage and destroy property by fire and explosive” and utilizing an entrapment defense it certainly doesn’t make things any easier if your co-defendants agree to testify against you.

Well, after twenty-eight months in “total separation,” a form of isolation at the Sacramento County Jail, he was convicted once the trial was over.  Subsequently Eric was sentenced to an outrageous 19 years and 7 monthsdue to a Terrorism enhancement, and shortly after taken into the custody of the Federal Bureau of prisons. He was then sent to a medium security federal prison called FCI Victorville, where he ended up spending the majority of the sentence and then moved to a low security prison in San Pedro, CA.  It wasn’t until Sacramento Prisoner Supportfound out through multiple FOIA requests there was sufficient documentation of withholding evidence at trial that after a habeas petition was filed the new prosecutor which was assigned to Eric’s case made an offer to Eric’s attorneys that could bring him home.  If Eric would agree to a single felony charge of general conspiracy that carried a max of 5 years, and the district judge would sign off on it, he would be released with time served and have a max of 2 years probation.

After a very tumultuous transport from the low security prison, Eric returned to the Sacramento County Jail for the court appearance.  Well, after an anxiety filled court appearance on the afternoon of January 8th, 2015 and quite a few hours later, Eric McDavid walked out of the doors of the federal building at 5th and I streets in street clothes with a big smile on his face and ready to get into the back seat of his parent’s car in search of a little peace.

Now it’s been over a year and a half from that very day and Eric has a lot to share. Those nine years he endured from arrest, to the day the appeal went before the judge and he walked out and started the 2 years of supervised release. A probation that was terminated back at the ¾’s mark on May 8th of this year. Then there’s all that he has experienced since being released from federal prison and now being done with the probation as well. He has worked towards being a yoga instructor and last October was one of the many former political prisoners who helped encourage a committee to be formed within the National Lawyers Guild to focus on the issues Political Prisoners do face. There’s so much more, but we’ll let him tell you all about it.

Please check it out if you can and definitely spread the word about Eric McDavid’s New York, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania speaking tour.

To learn more about Eric’s case, please visit: http://supporteric.org/

The Tour:

7pm, Thursday, 08-11-2016
Burning Books
420 Connecticut Street, Buffalo, NY
https://www.facebook.com/events/1813273398900874/

6pm, Friday, 08-12-2016
Stone Soup
4 King Street, Worcester, MA
facebook.com/events/1025247660928635/

7pm, Saturday, 08-13-2016
The Base
1302 Mertyle Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
https://thebasebk.org/calendar/

7pm, Monday, 08-15-2016
Wooden Shoe Books
704 South Street, Philadelphia, PA
facebook.com/events/655433154607268/

7pm, Tuesday, 08-16-2016
Big Idea Books
4812 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA
http://thebigideapgh.org/

Eric McDavid is an environmental activist who was entrapped by an FBI informant and charged with a single count of conspiracy to use fire or explosives to damage corporate and government property. The conspiracy charge is, quite literally, a thought-crime – no actions were ever carried out by Eric or any of his alleged co-conspirators.

After serving 10 years for a wrongful conviction, Eric was set free due to the government’s withholding of key evidence about how had been entrapped by the FBI.

More info on his case:
https://theintercept.com/2015/11/19/an-fbi-informant-seduced-eric-mcdavid-into-a-bomb-plot-then-the-government-lied-about-it/
http://www.democracynow.org/2015/1/14/exclusive_eco_terrorist_freed_10_years

Susquehanna Regional Climb Camp

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August 12 – 18, 2016

Location in Southeastern Pennsylvania TBA

The fossil fuel infrastructure build out and its accompanied tree-cutting has made us realize the need for more skilled climbers to combat the destruction of our regions and earth. Join regional organizers/trainers for a week long climb camp and practice skills in basic and advanced treeclimbing, platform rigging for tree-sits, aerial blockades and more!

Take the fight against fossil fuel infrastructure to new heights! Get climb trained!

For more information or to RSVP, please email SusquehannaCC@riseup.net

In your RSVP please indicate your level of previous training and what you hope to get out of the camp. Let us know about special dietary and other needs so that we can do our best to accommodate you. Please come prepared for a week of camping.

hammock

Pics from recent tree-sits in Huntingdon County PA

Demonstration at the Home of Michigan Attorney General Due to Lack of Action on Enbridge Line 5

Midland, MI – Wednesday, July 6, 2016, 1:30pm – Over 60 demonstrators arrived at the home of Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette earlier this afternoon to demand that Schuette take immediate action to shut down the Enbridge oil pipeline Line 5. Demonstrators from Earth First! hung a massive banner between two trees in Schuette’s front lawn that read “No Line 5: Pipelines Equal Ecocide.” Others in the crowd chanted, held banners, and held a mock funeral for Enbridge. Down the street another group hung a massive banner that completely covered two billboards which read “No Line 5 Pipeline”. By the end of the action over 20 police cars had assembled to harass the protesters into ending the actions. The protesters are demanding that Schuette use his authority under the Public Trust Doctrine, Article 10, and shut down Line 5 immediately in order to protect the Great Lakes.

Earth First! takes the Line 5 issue to Schuette's residence.

Line 5 is a 63-year-old crude oil pipeline that runs across the Straits of Mackinac, west of the Mackinac Bridge. The pipeline is directly exposed to freshwater for 5 miles and crosses through 11 tributaries in the lower peninsula. Studies by David Schwab, an expert on hydrodynamics at the University of Michigan, show that up to720 miles of Michigan’s shoreline would be at risk if Line 5 leaked. The pipeline is owned & operated by Enbridge, whose crude oil pipeline 6B ruptured in 2010, resulting in 1 million gallons of diluted bitumen spilling into the Kalamazoo River.

Last April, an environmental coalition of over 20 environmental groups sent Attorney General Schuette a letter detailing multiple ways in which Line 5 is operating illegally, in violation of its 1953 Easement with the State of Michigan.  Despite this, Schuette continues to delay action on the pipeline, citing the desire to wait for a risk and alternatives analysis for the pipeline to be completed, which is expected to take months to years. Additionally, the every tribe whose territory is occupied by the state of Michigan has demanded that the pipeline be shut down meaning that its continuing operation is a direct attack on tribal sovereignty.

“Schuette knows Line 5 poses an immediate risk to the Great Lakes each day it is allowed to continue to operate,” says Plantain, an organizer with Earth First! “and yet he’s choosing to stall for another 1-2 years. Schuette is directly threatening all of life in our region and is putting us all at risk and we are going to bring the fight to his front lawn until he is held accountable.”

Numerous demonstrations and shows of opposition have been conducted to raise awareness about this pipeline, including petition deliveries, over 183 Michigan business and organizational groups supporting Line 5 to be shut down, letters to newspapers, bills to address pipeline safety, over 50 municipal resolutions being passed to show public opposition to the pipeline, and confrontations at policy conferences and spill response demonstrations.  However, this is the first demonstration associated with Line 5 conducted at the home of a politician with the power to shut Line 5 down.

Frida, a resident of Michigan present at the protest, commented on the escalation of tactics. “If public officials continue to threaten our safety, then we will continue to threaten their security.”

Expect a video of the demonstration soon!

other news coverage:

http://www.freep.com/story/news/politics/2016/07/06/schuettes-midland-home-attacked-mob-line-5-protest/86778244/

http://www.ourmidland.com/news/state/groups-protest-pipeline-outside-attorney-general-s-home/article_ba5e093c-3874-5294-8414-83c5c07989df.html

http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/story/news/local/michigan/2016/07/06/schuettes-midland-home-attacked-mob-line-protest/86779612/

http://nbc25news.com/news/local/police-investigate-protest-at-attorney-general-bill-schuettes-home-in-midland

CONCERNED NEW YORKERS ERECT GIANT TRIPOD IN FRONT OF AIM PIPELINE SITE TO STOP CONSTRUCTION

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Press Contact:

Nancy Vann

(646) 831-5811

nancy_vann@hotmail.com

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 13, 2016

CONCERNED NEW YORKERS ERECT GIANT TRIPOD IN FRONT OF AIM PIPELINE SITE TO STOP CONSTRUCTION

New Yorkers engage in a daring, peaceful, civil disobedience to stop Spectra’s continuing pipeline construction

Peekskill, NY—As part of an escalating peaceful resistance campaign, concerned New Yorkers engineered a dramatic and elaborate protest against pipeline construction early this morning. A team erected a 20-foot-tripod in the path of construction equipment, and then a woman who grew up in Croton climbed up and sat at the top, thereby effectively halting construction. Additionally, two people locked to the base of the tripod. A total of six people have been arrested and taken to the Peekskill Police Station.

Jessica Rechtschaffer, the climber, was born and raised in Croton. “I remember how the sirens from Indian Point would go off when I was a kid,” she said, “and now Spectra Energy wants to build a major gas pipeline right next to the nuclear power plant even though they are a company with a terrible safety record. We can’t let that happen. If there’s an explosion next to the nuclear plant, there is no plan B.”

The Houston-based Spectra Energy Company’s Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) pipeline is a 42-inch diameter, high pressure, fracked gas pipeline, which if completed will run through residential communities and within 105 feet of critical safety facilities at the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant.

This action comes after years of residents and grassroots groups actively engaging in the regulatory process, only to be ignored by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The City of Boston and more than 20 grassroots groups have filed a lawsuit in Federal Court challenging FERC’s approval of the project. In February, Governor Andrew Cuomo wrote to FERC asking for an immediate halt to construction while New York State conducts an independent risk assessment of siting the massive, high-pressure pipeline next to Indian Point Nuclear Plant. FERC denied the Governor’s request, and claimed that a risk assessment by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) showed that the plant was safe. Less than one month ago, on May 20th, Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand called for an immediate halt to construction. Spectra’s Director of Stakeholder Outreach, Marylee Hanley, responded that “Algonquin Gas Transmission resumed construction on the Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) project in April and will continue with its construction.”

Photo Credits: Erik McGregor

Online: www.resistaim.com

On Facebook: www.facebook.com/resistaim

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/ResistAIM

#StopSpectra #ResistAIM #Blockadia

For the First Time in Decades, Herring are Spawning in a Hudson River Tributary

by Merrit Kennedy / NPR

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Herring are spawning in a tributary to New York’s Hudson River for the first time in 85 years after a dam was removed from the tributary’s mouth.

The spawning in the Wynants Kill tributary is seen as an environmental success, as NPR’s Nathan Rott tells our Newscast unit. He says it was previously “closed off to fish by a 6-foot dam at the side of an old mill there.” Nate explains:

“With the removal of the dam earlier this month, river herring and other ocean-going fish are making their way up the tributary to spawn. Those fish spend the bulk of their life at sea, but need smaller tributaries off of rivers like the Hudson to spawn and reproduce.”

There are more than 1,500 dams affecting Hudson River tributaries and “there’s a wider push to remove ones that no longer serve their intended purpose,” Nate adds.

“Every dam should have an existential crisis,” said John Waldman, a biology professor at Queens College, tells The Associated Press. “These are artifacts of the Industrial Revolution that are persisting and doing harm.”

Riverkeeper, a watchdog organization aimed at protecting the Hudson River involved in the dam removal, describes Wynant’s Kill as a “historic spawning run.” They explain this is an effort to improve herring stocks which fallen for decades:

“Since the 1960s, river herring populations up and down the Atlantic Coast have significantly declined due to overharvest and the loss of spawning habitat. Federal and state biologists prioritize the restoration of this habitat as one of the best ways to encourage herring stocks to recover from current historic lows.”

And herring are an “integral part of the aquatic food chain,” as the Associated Press explains. “In the Atlantic, many species of fish, bird and mammal rely on herring as their primary food source,” according to the wire service.

“Environmental improvement efforts like the removal of the Wynants Kill dam are critically important to maintaining a healthy Hudson River ecosystem,” Mayor Patrick Madden said at a recent news conference, the Troy Record reports.”The construction of the Wynants Kill barrier almost 100 years ago cut off a tributary that was owned by the herring and other species. Now it’s theirs again. That’s how the Hudson River will recover. That’s how the Hudson will be restored.”

Other species such as the American eel, white sucker and yellow perch have also entered the tributary after the dam was removed, according to the Troy Record.

Activists Lock to Shipping Container on Pipeline Route

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In Defiance of Pipeline Construction, Concerned Individuals Move Reclaimed Shipping Container Home With Two People Inside Onto AIM Pipeline Construction Site

from Popular Resistance

Update: Jane and Lee were arrested after stopping work for five hours. Supporters are holding the vigil outside the police station on the corner of Central Street and Nelson Avenue. It is close to the train station. Please join them and follow Resist AIM on Facebook and Twitter for updates or contact them at ResistAIM@gmail.com

Peekskill, NY – Just four days after 21 people were arrested for peacefully blockading the entrance to a Spectra Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) Pipeline work site, two people courageously locked themselves into a renewable-energy powered, 20-ft recycled shipping-container home at the work site, directly on the pipeline route. They plan to stay inside the container blockade for as long as possible.

The AIM Pipeline is a 42-inch, high pressure, fracked gas pipeline, which if completed will run through residential communities and within 105 feet of critical Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant safety facilities. The fully self-contained home is a strong symbol of both resilience and resistance: It is intended to halt construction of the dangerous AIM Pipeline and to represent the safe alternative living situation we need to move towards to fight climate change and to halt our dependence on fossil fuel, which drives the buildout of dangerous infrastructure like the AIM Pipeline. The container home was built using reclaimed and recycled materials, is powered by both photovoltaic solar panels and a bicycle generator, has a green roof growing succulents and herbs, has a solar-heated shower and a compost toilet, and comfortable living space and beds for two occupants. All of these measures are important, but without stopping fossil fuel infrastructure, we are still on a path to disaster – which is why this project is also designed to physically stop construction on the AIM Pipeline.

The sustainable home has two occupants, both of whom walked across the entire country to raise awareness about climate change as part of the Great March for Climate: Jane Kendall is a 65-year-old retired New York mother of two who would like to be spending more time with her family, but feels morally obligated as an elder to do her small part to stop Spectra and to fight for a renewable energy future; and Lee Stewart, a 29-year-old organizer with Beyond Extreme Energy, who has been working to stop FERC since they approved a fracked gas compressor station near his home as part of project that would feed Dominion’s Cove Point LNG export facility.

“I was inspired by the fierce, loving determination in the voices of 13 Resist AIM members who disrupted a FERC public meeting to call out the commissioners for their complicity in the destruction Spectra represents,” said Lee Stewart. “It is an honor to take up temporary residence in New York on the route of the AIM Pipeline.”

“Spectra has placed all of us on a destructive path and in harm’s way. Today this simple small house, built from reused and repurposed materials and powered by renewable energy, stands on the AIM Pipeline path to halt construction.” Said Jane Kendall.

This action comes after years of residents and grassroots groups actively engaging in the regulatory process, only to be ignored by FERC. The City of Boston and several grassroots groups have filed a lawsuit in Federal Court challenging FERC approval of the project. In February, Governor Andrew Cuomo wrote to FERC asking for an immediate halt to construction while New York State conducts an independent risk assessment of siting the massive, high-pressure pipeline next to Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant. FERC denied the Governor’s request, and claimed that a risk assessment by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) showed that the plant was safe. Just five days ago, on May 20th, Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand called for an immediate halt to construction. Spectra’s Director of Stakeholder Outreach, Marylee Hanley, responded that “Algonquin Gas Transmission resumed construction on the Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) project in April and will continue with its construction.”

“Now Spectra is rapidly proceeding with construction in our area despite opposition from thousands of New Yorkers and elected representatives.” Said Kendall. “We are at a critical stage in this struggle, with project completion scheduled for November. Each day more trees are cut, more blasting takes place, and more pipeline is laid. It is necessary for us to stop this project now.”

There is no more time to wait. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has shown that it will not protect us from the fossil fuel industry that is destroying our climate. Instead, everyday people are stepping up and modeling the future we want to see while taking a stand against the dangerous pipeline that threatens us and our friends and neighbors.

“I am also taking this step because of the amazing connection I feel to the amazing people all over the state who are not only standing up to AIM, Spectra, and FERC, but who are also finding ways to build community during a time when the power that be are bent on keeping us isolated and narrowly focused.” Said Stewart.

Online: www.resistaim.com

On Facebook: www.facebook.com/resistaim

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/ResistAIM

#StopSpectra #ResistAIM #Blockadia

 

Dangling from a trestle, protesters provoke police

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Photo from Hudson Valley Earth First!
Back to earth: Following an oil-train protest on Saturday, Maeve McBride comes down from the train trestle at French’s Hollow, to face arrest for trespassing and other charges.

by Elizabeth Floyd Mair

 

GUILDERLAND — Police say they performed a rescue from the railroad trestle at French’s Hollow in Guilderland Center on Saturday afternoon.

Activist Marisa Shea calls it an extraction.

Shea, 30, of Lowell, Massachusetts was one of five people protesting the oil trains that haul fossil fuel, fracked in South Dakota, to refineries along the East Coast, passing through Voorheesville, Guilderland Center, Guilderland, and Albany, among many other towns and cities, on the way.

In 2013, an oil train derailed in Quebec’s Lac-Mégantic, causing an explosion and a fire that leveled several square blocks and killed 47 people, raising awareness about the dangers.

The five people arrested in Guilderland — Shea; Maeve McBride, 40, from Vermont; Alexander Lundberg, 32, from Minnesota; Rachel Kijewski, 31, from Florida; and Jordan Davis, 27, from Windsor, New York — coordinated their protest with a larger demonstration in Albany.

McBride and Shea are accused of rappelling from the train tracks and trestle that rise about 40 feet above the Watervliet Reservoir, suspending themselves above the water.

All five of the protesters were charged with unlawful interference with a railroad train, fifth-degree conspiracy, and third-degree criminal trespass. Shea, who police say refused to come down when ordered to, also faces charges of reckless endangerment.

The issue that they were protesting feels very personal to her, McBride said, since most of her extended family lives along the Hudson River, within several miles of what she calls “the bomb trains.”

“We use the term ‘bomb train,’” McBride said, “to indicate how explosive the material is. It’s being transported in tank cars that were never intended to carry hazardous material. And because it’s unrefined — a mixture of oil, gas, and fracking fluids — it’s a nasty toxic slew that is more flammable than, say, refined oil.”

Shea, who teaches eighth-grade math — and also teaches climate change — at a public middle school, believes that Saturday’s protest shows the power of ordinary people to stop oil trains from running.

She hopes that more and more people will be willing to put their bodies at risk in order to prevent fossil fuels from reaching their destination and from being burned. She said, “I think if we scale up this model, it could be really effective.”

Shea told The Enterprise, “It’s ironic that we’re seen as extreme or radical, when really the radical thing is destroying the entire planet.”

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Photo by Ellen Leren
Faces of the future: Maeve McBride often brings her sons, Phinneas Clason, 9, and Spencer Clason, 5, with her to protests. She wants them to grow up seeing people taking risks to ensure the health of the planet that they will inherit.

For the police and first responders who arrived on the scene Saturday, human safety was of paramount importance.

Sergeant Carl Duda of the Guilderland Police, the shift supervisor on Saturday afternoon, said that police did not know at first that the people on the trestle were activists. “We didn’t know what their agenda was,” Duda said. “We were trying to coax to come down on their own free will,” at first, he said.

“A couple of them were documenting, taking video and pictures. Officers were able to get one female down off her rope and her harness. There was one that refused to come down. She first claimed that her rope was too short. We believe that actually she was tweeting out, trying to get people to come and observe what was going on.”

Police didn’t realize that they were activists, Duda said, until they got three people out of the area and back to the spot where police had set up a command post and spoke with them.

First responders were very concerned about injury, Duda said. They had police there, firefighters on top of the trestle, and emergency medical staff staged in the area. “We were actually very concerned, because if someone did fall, there’s a great risk of injury,” he said.

One firefighter did receive a minor injury, Duda said, when he hit his back on the bridge as he was rappelling down.

The protest also tied up all of Guilderland’s police resources for hours, Duda said. “Basically our entire shift was tied up with the rescue operation, and then we had officers who were tied up because they had to transport the five individuals … to our station.”

Deputy Chief Curtis Cox said that there have been a number of protests in Guilderland in the past, often involving labor issues. He said, “People have usually been within their rights to assemble and had their protest within the law, and there’s been no issue.”

In fact, people planning protests often meet with police in advance, he said, to ensure that there will be no problem.

Cox emphasized that railroad property is off-limits. “It’s trespassing; you cannot be on or within so many feet of the railroad tracks, and then when you get up on a railroad trestle like that, that’s very high, it’s very dangerous. So nobody should be trespassing anywhere near those trestles or railroad tracks or anything.”

McBride’s view of safety is larger — it encompasses the future of the planet.

 

 

Photo by Ellen Leren

Faces of the future: Maeve McBride often brings her sons, Phinneas Clason, 9, and Spencer Clason, 5, with her to protests. She wants them to grow up seeing people taking risks to ensure the health of the planet that they will inherit.

 

Valedictorian of her Troy High School Class of 1993, she went on to get a Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering and work as an engineer. She now serves as executive director of the environmental activism group, 350 Vermont. As an engineer, McBride’s field of study was rivers and streams, and she feels a particular connection to the impact of climate change on waterways.

And to the impact of oil trains, too. When the trains are crossing over or near waterways, she says, they have a potentially huge impact. She notes that one-third of the Watervliet Reservoir lies within the immediate half-mile-wide area that would be evacuated in the case of a derailment, and another third lies within the potential mile-wide impact zone.

The Watervliet Reservoir, she pointed out, provides drinking water for the town of Guilderland.

She mentioned an interactive website that makes these questions more real. This site, which can be located by searching online for “oil train blast zone,” shows a map of the trains’ route across the country. By putting in any zip code, visitors can see how close an area lies to the impact zone.

She also wants to draw attention to what she calls “environmental racism,” in which it is “often areas of color that are affected.” She points out that the Ezra Prentice subsidized family housing complex on South Pearl Street is just feet from the train tracks, as is the complex’s playground. The Albany County executive held a press conference at the complex, pointing out the same dangers and inequities.

McBride’s faith also plays into her activism. She is a lay worship leader at her Unitarian church in Burlington. One of the tenets of Unitarian Universalist belief, she said, is faith in “the interdependent web of all existence.” We are all connected to the natural world, she says, and to other people, and our actions have an impact on that whole web.

She brought her two young sons with her to Albany, although not to Guilderland Center. She, her husband, and the children took part in a related “kayak flotilla” on the Hudson River Friday evening and her family took part in the large march through Albany on Saturday that was also meant to draw attention to the oil trains.

What McBride hopes to teach her kids, she says, is “that there are people, including myself, who are willing to take risks to ensure that their future is one in which they have a clean and healthy environment to live in.”

The activists and at least some of the first responders are likely to meet again: in Guilderland Town Court on May 26, at 5:30 p.m.

Albany protest: 5 arrested after oil train delayed

Environmental activists from around the region march down Pearl Street to the Port of Albany on Saturday, May 14, 2016, in Albany, N.Y. The demonstration delayed oil train traffic at the Port of Albany to raise awareness for the region's opposition to all fossil fuels. The event was part of a weeklong global effort called Break Free From Fossil Fuels. (Cindy Schultz / Times Union) Photo: Cindy Schultz / Albany Times Union

Environmental activists from around the region march down Pearl Street to the Port of Albany on Saturday, May 14, 2016, in Albany, N.Y. The demonstration delayed oil train traffic at the Port of Albany to raise awareness for the region’s opposition to all fossil fuels. The event was part of a weeklong global effort called Break Free From Fossil Fuels. (Cindy Schultz / Times Union) 
Hundreds oppose oil trains at the Port of Albany
ALBANY — A daylong effort to block crude oil trains brought hundreds of people near the Port of Albany, where they sat on train tracks and listened to speeches, sang and discussed nationwide and local environmental issues.

The Albany event on Saturday, organized by the coalition Break Free From Fossil Fuels, was one of several around the country and world this month.

More than 400 of the 1,500 people registered said they would be willing to be arrested for physically blocking the trains, a Break Free spokeswoman said.

 Oil trains did not come to the area where activists sat throughout the day, but five people were arrested after a demonstration near the Watervliet Reservoir in Guilderland.

There, at about 1 p.m., activists Marissa Shea and Maeve McBride delayed an oil train coming from North Dakota into the Port of Albany by rappelling off a railroad bridge that crosses the reservoir, Break Free spokeswoman Aly Johnson-Kurts said.

Guilderland police said they charged Shea, 30, of Lowell Mass., McBride, 40, of Burlington, Vermont, and team members Rachel Kijewski, 31, Lakw Worth, Fla.,Alexander Lundberg, 32, of Minneapolis, Minn. and Jordan Davis, 27, of New Windsor N.Y., with unlawful interference with a railroad train, fifth-degree conspiracy and third-degree criminal trespass. Shea was also charged with reckless endangerment.

They were all released on their own recognizance, police said.

During the incident CSX railway stopped all train traffic for over two hours.Guilderland Center and Selkirk firefighters responded to help rescue a person who refused to come to the ground, police said. One firefighter had a minor injury during the course of the rescue.

Shea and McBride are “core organizers” of the Albany Break Free action, Johnson-Kurts said. The train proceeded after the activists’ arrest, she said.

The central action Saturday consisted of sitting at train tracks in the South End. Hundreds from around the country listened to speeches in Lincoln Park before walking down Morton Avenue and Green Street to tracks near Church Street.

Chants of “Hey hey, ho ho, fossil fuels have got to go,” mixed with drum beats and other music, rang out as activists walked toward the tracks with signs, wind turbine replicas and megaphones.

Albany Common Council member Dorcey Applyrs, who represents Ward 1, said in an interview that the day’s energy was an inspiring moment in the long-standing fight against oil trains.

“This is the spinach we need to keep fighting,” she said before the march, adding that residents of the Ezra Prentice Homes, who live close to the trains, are “impacted every day.”

Albany Common Council member Vivian Kornegay, who represents Ward 2, said at Lincoln Park that oil trains should not be in the “backyard” of city playgrounds.

“We assume 100 percent of the risk and see minuscule benefits,” she said.

As the sunny morning faded into a cloudy and windy afternoon, some people sat in metal folding chairs that straddled the tracks, while others sprawled out on nearby grass. Colorful chalk marked up the concrete between rail lines with slogans and drawings.

At about 3 p.m., Break Free began collecting money for tarps and line so that people could stay the night, as it became clear that trains would likely not pass through that afternoon. About 80 people expressed interest in staying overnight, a Break Free organizer said.

The Rev. Marc Johnson, associate pastor at Greater St. John’s Church of God in Christ in the South End and an outspoken opponent of oil trains in Albany, spoke throughout the demonstration.

“We want clean air, we want clean water, we want a great quality of life,” he said in Lincoln Park. “We all deserve clean air.”

Johnson criticized energy company Global Partners LLC in a prepared statement. The company has facilities at the Port of Albany.

“I’ve seen the damage first hand, so I’m saying ‘no’ to the oil trains, and ‘no’ to the pipelines, not just for myself and my community, but for all humankind,” Johnson said in a statement.

Global Partners Chief Operating Officer Mark Romaine said in a statement that the company’s employees “turn our commitment to safety into a reality” and emphasized employees’ contributions to the city. “They live and work in your neighborhoods, send their kids to local schools, and shop in local stores,” he said. “In the last three years, we’ve been inspected more than 270 times, resulting in a handful of minor infractions that were promptly corrected.”

Romaine also praised law enforcement officials and public officials for their efforts to manage Break Free events this week.

But throughout the day, memories of the catastrophic Lac-Megantic, Quebec, accident were apparent. In 2013, 47 people died and a large portion of the town was destroyed when an unattended freight train carrying Bakken crude rolled into the center of town, derailed, exploded and caught fire.

Jay O’Hara, a founder of the Climate Disobedience Center, read a written statement from Marilaine Savard of Lac-Megantic to close the speeches on Saturday.

“Our old downtown is now totally razed to the ground,” she wrote, later adding that even three years later, the “community needs healing.”

lellis@timesunion.com518-454-5018 @lindsayaellis