New Yorkers Dramatically Shut Down Massive Fracked Gas Power Plant

Photos Erik McGregor

Contact: Jess Mullen, 215-303-7468 iheartupstateny@gmail.com
Lee Ziesche, 954-415-6228 leeziesche@gmail.com

New Yorkers Dramatically Shut Down Massive Fracked Gas Power Plant 

Citing the plant’s large contribution to climate change and local air pollution, they are calling on Governor Cuomo to shut down the Cricket Valley plant for good.

Photos Erik McGregor
Link to livestream: HERE
Link to video of farmer on top of smokestack: HERE

Donate to the legal fund HERE.

Wingdale, New York – This morning impacted residents and supporters from across the Northeast, including local farmers, used a tractor blockade and climbed a 275ft tall smokestack to halt construction of the Cricket Valley fracked gas power plant.

Photos Erik McGregor

“Our valley has a lot of important resources, everything from our children, an elementary, middle and high school, to some of the largest freshwater deposits in New York State and our local farms, all which need clean air to survive and thrive,” said local farmer Ben Schwartz and one of the four people who climbed the smokestack. 

Construction of the 1,100 megawatt fracked gas power plant, one of the largest in the Northeast, is nearing completion and once up and running would cover the local community in 279 tons of nitrogen oxides, 570 tons of carbon monoxide, and more than 60 tons of sulfuric acid pollution. Local residents are particularly concerned that its location in the Harlem Valley, a narrow north-south corridor, will engulf the region with pollution. It will also emit 6 million tons of greenhouse gasses.

“New York State has taken a climate leadership position via the CLCPA by mandating that New York State reach net-zero GHG emissions by 2040. But right now the CLCPA is just a piece of paper, waiting to be turned into reality,” said Bill Kish, Stop Cricket Valley. “Bringing new fossil fuel plants like Cricket Valley online now makes no sense and only sets New York further back, reducing the likelihood that we’ll meet our ambitious goals while damaging our community’s health and our already stressed ecosystems.”

The plant is located close to the Connecticut border and residents there are also very concerned about the fracked gas pollution. The Connecticut residents had no say in the approval of the plant and now are forced to monitor their own air quality.

Photos Erik McGregor

“As a Connecticut resident, I am very upset about Cricket Valley Energy Center. The pollutants released in the air will travel into New Milford and be trapped due to topography,” said Cindy Davis, Western Connecticut Clean Air Action. “The pollutants released contain detrimental chemicals contributing to asthma, birth defects and other health problems. The plant was already approved and in construction when Connecticut residents learned about the plant.”

The shutdown was followed by a family friendly rally calling on Governor Cuomo to shut the plant down for good.

This is the perfect opportunity for Governor Cuomo to be a true climate hero. Cricket Valley was proposed before the science on fracking and the environment was clear,” said Jess Mullen, Coordinator of New Paltz Climate Action Coalition. “However, it’s clear now. With the recent Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, Cuomo has voiced desire to take the climate emergency seriously. Shutting down Cricket Valley will be the determining factor of the legacy he will leave.”

Climbers were still in the stacks as of 2:30pm. Updates on number of arrests will be sent as they come in.

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New York: Resist the Cricket Valley Fracked Gas Power Plant on Nov. 16

Cross-posted from Resist CVE

On Saturday, November 16, at 11am, help shut down the largest climate destruction site in the Northeast: Cricket Valley fracked gas plant in Dutchess Co., NY. Families & #ClimateStrike youth encouraged to attend as well as friends who would like to participate in non-violent and creative escalation.

Who is most at risk?

Schaghticoke Indigenous Nation, Dutchess Co. organic farms, three adjacent children’s schools, and the ecosystem of Harlem Valley’s The Great Swamp Watershed, the largest freshwater wetlands in New York, and surrounded by medicinal plants.

Background: 

The Cricket Valley Energy Center (CVE) is a 1,100 megawatt fracked gas plant under construction in Dover/Wingdale, New York. It would receive out-of-state fracked gas through the Iroquois Gas Transmission System, a pipeline project co-owned by TransCanada and the Virginia-based fossil fuel bully Dominion Resources. Advanced Power, a Switzerland-based private energy infrastructure company, would own and operate the plant. The plant aims to begin operations in 2020, but WE are going to stop it. The company wants to perform “shakedowns” or testing of the turbines using diesel fuel. We won’t let them shake us down.

Our Strategy:

Governor Cuomo has the power to stop this plant. The plant was approved nearly a decade ago, based on out-of-date science, and without genuine community input. The plant is also on very shaky financial legs, and will foot us with the bill through our electric rates, as well as endure decades of pollution that Cuomo has committed to halting through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. His father, former Governor Mario Cuomo halted dirty Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant even though the building was complete. Governor Cuomo can follow his father’s legacy, listen to climate science, and follow our climate law… or will the largest fracked gas power plant in the northeast U.S. be Governor Cuomo’s Climate Legacy?

Our Plan: 

Our coalition of community and advocacy groups across New York are hosting three orientation trainings to learn more, and help plan! Orientation trainings = learn history + where we are, build our community relationships, pick a role!


Sign the pledge to get more information on the following Planning Orientations:

*Saturday, October 19 in Millerton, NY 10am-2pm

*Sunday, October 20 in Kingston, NY 12pm-4pm

*Sunday, October 27 in NYC 12pm-4pm

Of Pipelines and Banks, Climate Uprisings in New York!

Nationally, the climate movement is organizing and growing quickly after years of treading water. The combination of the Green New Deal, the youth-led climate strikes, and radical demands for climate action from Extinction Rebellion to frontline communities across the world, has energized the movement to begin to meet the problem at the scale of what is needed.

And in the midst of it New York City’s climate movement is rising!

This week has been big. The long term campaign led by a robust local coalition, against the billion dollar Williams Pipeline scored a major victory as the State of New York rejected the company’s permit application (albeit temporarily). The projectfails to meet New York State’s rigorous water quality standards,” the department said.

The pipeline was planned to run 37 miles, connecting natural gas fields in Pennsylvania to New Jersey and New York. Its operator, the Oklahoma-based Williams Companies, pitched it as a crucial addition to the region’s energy infrastructure, one that would deliver enough fuel to satisfy New York’s booming energy needs and stave off a looming shortage.

And the battle is not over as the pipeline is still awaiting permits from the state of New Jersey.

Image via Erik McGregor.

Another NYC centered campaign slowly building steam has been targeting the largest funder of fossil fuels…. JPMorgan Chase (JPMC). For almost two years, campaigners with Rainforest Action Network, 350 Seattle, a host of Indigenous groups and others have been making life hell for Chase CEO Jaime Dimon, other top execs, board members and various Chase branches around the country.

In New York, organizers have focused on the company’s headquarters in midtown Manhattan with action after action. This week, climate activists erected and scaled a 24-ft tall steel tripod directly in front JPMorgan Chase bank’s headquarters, protesting their egregious funding of fossil fuels.

As one organizer said:

“we’re here to tell them we won’t put up with business as usual. While more species are going extinct, wildfires ravage the west, cities are lost to sea level rise and more water is polluted from spilled pipelines, we call on CEO Jamie Dimon of Chase Bank, the world’s biggest funder of fossil fuels, to stand on the right side of history.”

Currently, the global political establishment is being woken up to the climate crisis. New York is often seen as a center for media, finance, corporate power, national and global politics, etc, and as campaigns, local and globally heat up than New York becomes an increasingly natural place for climate uprisings.

Hooray for Scrappy Climate Action!

What a month!

Scrappy resistance to fossil fuels, its financiers and the politicians that love them has hit new levels with the goal of meeting the scale of the climate crisis with equal amounts of people powered momentum. As a result, climate and anti-fossil fuels action, both large and small, has spread globally.

The climate uprising centered around Extinction Rebellion has shaken the political establishment in London and iis spreading to other parts of the world. But we mustn’t forget that for decades, we’ve seen communities in countries like China and India rising up by the tens of thousands against mining and polluting power plants. And for more than a decade in North America, an Indigenous and frontline-led effort against coal, oil and gas have fought hard against mountaintop removal, coal mining, fracking and pipelines.

Now, today, a new report says that over 50% of new pipelines globally are being built in the U.S. and Canada. Report co-author Ted Nace said “This is a whole energy system not compatible with global climate survival. These pipelines are locking in huge emissions for 40 to 50 years at a time, with the scientists saying we have to move in 10 years. These pipelines are a bet that the world won’t get serious about climate change, allowing the incumbency of oil and gas to strengthen.” At the same time, a new phase of infrastructure fights with state governments passing anti-protest laws throughout the country. In North America, we’re in for a long struggle to counter climate change and extraction.

The past couple of weeks have seen scrappy action hit western governments, banks and carbon intensive industries most responsible for climate change again.

In the U.S.:

  • Anchorage, Alaska: Trouble-makers with Alaska Rising Tide dropped off a banner in protest of the government’s move to mine the state’s Pebble Mine.
  • Appalachia: In Virginia, the Yellow Finch tree-sit has stopped the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) in its tracks for over 200 days.  An epic battle has lasted for over a year where scrappy action that has included multiple landowner-led tree-sits, monopods, equipment lockdowns, bird-dogs of corporate CEOs and politicians and an impressive grassroots organizing effort. The MVP has been delayed for at least a year and the campaign is far from over.
  • Austin, TXXR Austin occupied a JPMorgan Chase branch with three members super gluing themselves inside the branch.
  • “Bank on Climate” Day of Action—In 22 cities, Rainforest Action Network and 350 Seattle organized rowdy actions in 22 cities against top climate financiers JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. From corporate office occupations in Boulder, San Francisco and Minneapolis to the shutdown of all 44 Chase branches in Seattle to a banner hang at Grand Central Station in New York to the bird-dogging of Chase CEO Jamie Dimon during a congressional hearing in Washington D.C. (and much much more), the funders of the climate crisis are receiving well deserved heat.
  • Eugene, OR—XR Eugene teamed up with Cascadia Forest Defenders to launch a tree-sit in in town to draw a connection between forest destruction and climate destruction.
  • Los Angeles—Two members of Extinction Rebellion Los Angeles super-glued themselves to the top of the NBC/Universal Studios globe demanding that NBC (a major media outlet) prioritize climate change as a daily news topic and reject fossil fuel commercials. Four members of the team were arrested and charged with felonies.

    Two climate activists super glued to the top of the Universal Studios globe in Los Angeles.

  • NYC— Climate activists with Extinction Rebellion NYC shut down traffic outside New York City Hall Wednesday, partially blocking access to the Brooklyn Bridge and staging a die-in to demand radical action on climate change.
  • Portland, OR— Eleven people were arrested after building a garden in the train tracks as a creative blockade against the Zenith export terminal.
  • Washington D.C.: And in the U.S. capital, two of our comrades with Beyond Extreme Energy occupied to top of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) building for six hours demanding a “Federal Renewable Energy Commission.”

Elsewhere:

  • London: In meeting the crisis at the scale that is needed, Extinction Rebellion UK occupied London for ten days. They’ve shut down traffic routes, disrupted the “Tube,” protested Heathrow Airport and targeted politicians and bankers. With over 1000 arrests, the Met Police found themselves with full jails and crowds of more willing participants.
  • Paris: More than 2,000 climate activists held a nonviolent blockade of France’s environment ministry just outside of Paris on Friday, calling out government complicity with fossil fuel companies and the banks that fund them. Climate activists are calling it one of the largest acts of civil disobedience in French history. The blockade also successfully targeted French oil giant Total; Société Générale, an investment bank that funds dirty energy projects; and a state-run electric utility that relies heavily on nuclear power.

    Climate activists sit in at French environmental ministry in Paris. Pic via Democracy Now!

  • Rotterdam: Today, over 40 climate activists occupied the Engie coalfired power station
  • The rest of world : In other cities around the world, Extinction Rebellion has disrupted business as usual in India, Germany, Spain, Denmark and more.

As Paul Street recently paraphrased radical historian Howard Zinn:

“Howard Zinn was right. It’s not just about who’s sitting in the White House or the Governor’s mansion or the Mayor’s office or the city council seat.  It’s also and above all about who’s sitting in the streets, who’s disrupting, who’s monkey-wrenching, whose idling capital, who’s occupying the pipeline construction sites, the highways, the workplaces, the town-halls, the financial districts, the corporate headquarters, and universities beneath and beyond the biennial and quadrennial candidate-centered big money big media major party electoral extravaganzas that are sold to us as “politics” – the only politics that matters. This is true about fighting racist police violence. It’s true about labor rights and decent wages.  It’s true about all that and more and it’s true about saving livable ecology.”

We’re up against some very bad players. The worst in the world. Maybe the worst in the history of the world. It’s time for serious organizing and hardscrabble actions.

See you in the streets.