Ted Glick reports on the environmental horror that’s about to begin in Northeast Pennsylvania:
Very possibly as early as tomorrow, chain-saw-armed tree cutters hired by Williams Partners, a powerful pipeline-building corporation for the gas and oil industry, will try to cut down sugar maple trees on the property of Maryann Zeffer, Cathy and Megan Holleran and their family. For 65 years they have lived on this land, and for the last ten or so they have been producing delicious, pure, Pennsylvania maple syrup from those trees.
This destruction won’t happen without a big fight. Nine days ago as I write, after FERC gave approval to Williams’ request to start tree cutting in Pa. even though Williams does not have all of the necessary approvals to build their Pa. to NY Constitution pipeline, an encampment was set up on the Zeffer/Holleran land. Every day since people have been there.
The implacable Williams Partners pipeline builders aka land destroyers and water polluters, has obtained the go-ahead from FERC to begin clear-cutting more private land on 160 Pennsylvania properties than they need to lay a pipeline for transporting fracked fuel through Pennsylvania to New York. Williams got the red light to proceed even though they lack all the necessary permits and have not paid for some of the land they plan to access. They acquired some of the land through eminent domain seizure and will cut down more trees than the pipeline requires to give themselves “working space”.
The families of Cathy and Megan Holleran and Maryann Zeffer fought the pipeline builders in court for well over a year. With tree felling now about to begin, they’ve taking their battle to the public. Anti-fracking/anti-pipeline and clean water activists, environmentalists and the press have been summoned to witness the Holleran/Zeffers take a stand against the usurpation of their land rights and the destruction of their beautiful maple syrup kingdom and stand with them, if they’re willing to risk being arrested. These people’s little slice of Paradise is a 1/2 hour drive north of Scranton, PA.
The family loves these 22 acres that Catherine Holleran’s parents bought in the late 1950s, when they escaped to the Endless Mountains from Long Island.
Sturdy maples, cherries and other hardwoods rise from their property’s steep eastern hillside. A small creek-fed lake lies at the bottom of the gentle valley. Across a strip of trees, a grassy field rises to the north. It’s a place for syrup making and snowmobiling in the winter, lake parties and off-roading in the summer.
Constitution’s designs call for a 30-inch pipe laid in an S-shaped strip across 1,670 linear feet of their land. The permanent easement would be 50 feet wide, but the company would fell timber in a wider area to create work space. The family doesn’t want to lose the trees or the quality of their lake, which they fear could fill with sediment despite the company’s stated policies of controlling erosion.
The five Zeffer siblings — Ms. Holleran’s maiden name — want to pass the land on to their children the way it is, “without a big stupid pipeline,” Ms. Holleran said.
Hollywood Actor James Cromwell joined a family's fight to save maple trees from a pipeline project in Susquehanna Co pic.twitter.com/NKdxVQRVG3
— Jon Meyer (@JonMeyerWNEP) February 5, 2016
If you wish to join or support the resistance, here’s the information you need:
Holleran property is at 2131 Three Lakes Road, New Milford, PA. But use these coordinates to find the location where people have gathered to stop the tree cutting: 41.8272387, -75.7585062
Contacts: Megan Holleran 570-709-3268 and Alex Lotorto (after 5PM) 570-269-9589
Visit Stop the Constitution Pipeline Facebook group
Hat tip to Theresa Lam for the share