A demonstration got under way Tuesday afternoon outside the New York City office U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. The protesters want the senator to take a stand on a compressor station already up and running in their Orange County hamlet.
Opponents of the Minisink compressor station, which was built on a residential road in the Hamlet of Westtown, traveled to midtown Manhattan Tuesday to urge Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand to break her silence. Asha Canalos is with the group “Stop the Minisink Compressor Station,” and one of those demonstrating.
She says opponents pursued Gillibrand more aggressively than fellow Democrat Senator Charles Schumer because they felt that would have a better chance of having Gillibrand speak out on their behalf, given what Canalos calls Gillibrand’s political identity.
The Minisink station is on a rural, residential road, in an area where many 9/11 first responders reside. And while John Feal, founder and president of The FealGood Foundation, does not live near Minisink, he has been actively opposing the Minisink station on behalf of first responders. He, too, was slated to take part in the demonstration, along with Angela Monti Fox, founder of The Mothers Project, and mother of documentary filmmaker Josh Fox of “Gasland” fame.
The Minisink natural gas compressor station was put online in May, yet opponents are trying to turn back the hands of time. They have a case before the U.S. Court of Appeals challenging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s approval of the Minisink project, and hearings are scheduled to begin next week, which is a major reason Canalos says the demonstration is happening today. Opponents want Gillibrand to submit documents in support of their case. They have written her a letter dated July 9, urging her to stand with them or, at the very least, to take a stand. They are calling on her to hold congressional hearings to investigate the regulatory process when it comes to siting and monitoring natural gas infrastructure.
Repeated requests for comment from Gillibrand’s office were not answered in time for this broadcast. Canalos says they have contacted Schumer’s office and plan to do so again, along with Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, a Democrat whose district includes the Town of Minisink.
Canalos says she and Stop the Minisink Compressor members most recently met with Gillibrand’s aides in Washington, D.C. April 18. Opponents and some residents have raised concerns about health and safety, while a spokesman for Millienium Pipeline’s Minisink compressor stations has said the project passed rigorous emissions and safety review prior to being put into service.