June was a time to hit the road AND the streets for Sane, with outdoor events in Long Beach, Westchester, the city’s harbor and West Village. Indoors, we testified at a City Council hearing and continued putting final touches on our Mapping Project.
Jun 7 & 8 was an “island weekend:” We tabled at a Staten Island screening of Bidder 70 and took part in Figment Festival at Governors Island, performing a climate change cantastoria and leafletting. The shocker, revealed on the ferry ride out, was exactly HOW CLOSE the chemical and oil tanks of Bayonne, where the Spectra pipeline traverse, are to residential neighborhoods on the North Shore of Staten Island (easy swimming distance).
Jun 14 found us out in Long Beach, Long Island, for the Wind Run, when our pal, Matt Kearns ran 90 miles from Montauk to bring attention to two proposed offshore wind projects. We spent the afternoon before the finish line event leafletting about the choice between an LNG port and the wind projects. For a full reportback, click here.
Sierra Club activist, Matthew Kearns arrives at Long Beach after an epic, 23-hour, 90-mile run to highlight offshore wind on Long Island.
The obvious choice between wind or LNG
Jun 16: Sane Energy Project’s Kim Fraczek was on air with Creek Iverson from Whirligig Farms for The Farm Hour broadcast on WIRX in Roxbury, NY, to talk about Food Not Fracking with host, Ellen Wong.
Jun 18: The City Council hearing on failing infrastructure was revealing, both in terms of what local utilities have to say about NYC’s infrastructure (don’t worry be happy), and in how interested (or not) in citizen testimony some council members appeared to be. Utility reps seemed to think that their new public relations campaign encouraging the public to call if they smelled gas was the panacea for centuries-old infrastructure. Plus, sprung on the three councilmen running the hearing (Garodnick, Richards and Espinal), was the announcement–just that morning–that gas leak calls will now be responded to by the Fire Department, adding a potential 60,000 additional runs to firehouse calls each year. Councilman Garodnick wondered why the city should have to bear the cost of all that extra work for FDNY.
Read Sane’s testimony here; watch the full 4-hour video here, or fast forward to the last 40 minutes when the public was finally invited to speak. Particularly of interest (at 3:27 in the video) is gas leak expert Robert Ackley. Though Council members had repeatedly asked Utility reps, over the course of their hours-long testimony, if maps existed showing where gas leaks occur, and those reps warned that the info was too sensitive to release to council, Mr. Ackley, like other members of the public, was given only 2 minutes to present his maps showing gas leaks in Manhattan.
WBAI Radio host, Ken Gale testified last, and at least got a smile out of council reps by ending with his trademark, “If your air and water are clean, thank an environmentalist; if not, become one. “Nuff said.”
Map from a partial study of Manhattan gas leaks done by Robert Ackley for Damascus Citizens for Sustainability, who testified at the City Council hearing on failed infrastructure. Despite being the preeminent expert on urban gas leaks, Mr. Ackley, who had traveled from Boston to attend the hearing, was given a brief 2 minutes to testify.
Jun 18: OTP’s No Impact Picnic at West Beth’s courtyard was an extravaganza of art, theater and song, and a beautiful summer night of community building. No Impact Man Colin Beavan spoke about the relationship between environmental consciousness and personal authenticity; the Living Theater used the courtyard’s steps as a stage, and multiple musicians and artists performed.
“No Impact Man,” Colin Beavan, addresses the crowd at OTP’s No Impact Picnic
The picnic was a family affair, with lots of children running around WestBeth’s famous courtyard statues.
Jun 19: Following in-depth reporting by Nick Pinto in Gothamist,that quoted Sane Energy Project, Channel 11 WPIX’s Magee Hickey broadcast interviews with residents who are up in arms over the start of construction of the Rockaway pipeline.
Jun 21 & 22: Food Not Fracking worked a booth at the Clearwater Festival in Croton Point Park, where a sneak preview of The Mapping Project was a big draw for concertgoers, who stopped in their tracks to locate their home, or their child’s college, or their favorite weekend retreat, noting with concern how close it was to any of the 48 statewide shale gas infrastructure projects identified so far. We also got lots of participants in the Photo Booth, including Peter Seeger’s granddaughter.
Sane Energy Project Coordinator, Kim Fraczek explains the Mapping Project to a visitor at the Clearwater Festival.
Lots of participants loving renewable energy in our Photo Booth at Clearwater, too, including the granddaughter of Pete Seeger and her friend
Jun 15 & 29 Sane Energy Project was invited to speak at historical Caffe Vivaldi for the Environmental Awareness Concert series, “Schubertiades,” with pianist Emir Gamsizoglu and sopranos, Jessi Goebel and Megan Hafer. Between songs about nature and water, we had productive conversations with the audience about fracking, pipelines and climate change. On the 29th, we also hit the Pride parade with flyers announcing the upcoming People’s Climate March.
Jun 30: Sane is the first antifracking group to report on the conversion of New York lands to federal control as part of a casino deal struck between Cuomo and the Oneida tribe. The conversion could open NYS to fracking, injection wells or increased frack waste dumping.
PHOTO CREDIT: All photos by Erik McGregor