by Alexander Lotorto
A song for my friends in Minisink, feauturing Tom Morello, a fellow Industrial Workers of the World union member of mine, on guitar.
The next rally in support of Minisink residents and 9/11 first responders will be on Saturday, October 6 at 2pm at 90 Jacobs Rd, Minisink, NY. Thomas Salamone, Minisink Valley school board member and father of two, asks everyone to bring drums, spoons, and pots. For more information, follow the "Stop the Minisink Compressor Station" page on Facebook.
Over 150 Minisink, NY residents, including 9/11 first responders, their neighbors, and their families, marched on the third straight day of battle against Millienium Pipeline's construction of a proposed compressor station.
As equipment rented from Pine Bush Equipment, a local contractor and union workers from the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825 continued access road construction, surveying, and tree clearing, shouts of defiance from young and old roared from across the street. Children, who were out of school for a teacher work day, led chants of "We will not give up," "Whose town? Our town!," and "Respond to First Responders!"
As a union delegate for the Industrial Workers of the World, I'm sad that Local 825 workers, whose union hall is nearby in Middletown, NY, are crossing the Minisink residents' picket line. In that picket line stand 9/11 first responders, union retirees, who are regarded as heroes to anyone in New York state except for the bosses directing this construction project who would rather disrespect them to build the compressor at the cheapest location, across from their homes.
As a grounds technician and laborer, I'm sad that Pine Bush Equipment owners, who have rented machines for great construction projects like a local performing arts center, school construction, and road work, are supplying machines that enable Millenium to wreck their neighbors' property values and public health with a compressor station that will emit 61,000 tons of volatile organic compounds and pollutants each year.
As a youth voter, I'm sad that President Obama's appointees to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the permit for this project. I'm sad that during tonight's debate, both presidential candidates will speak in favor of natural gas with no regard for the human sacrifices that must be made to follow through on full shale gas development they advocate.
These values do not represent the Delaware and Hudson river valley communities I was raised in, know, and love. In my community, we always take care of our own.
Pictures from the "Stop the Minisink Compressor Station" page on Facebook.