Ithaca College senior Katya Andersson — and Ithaca College distinguished scholar and resident Sandra Steingrabber — were two of the 12 arrested at a Gas Free Seneca march and rally held in Watkins Glen on Mar. 18.
Demonstrators gathered at an Inergy facility to protest the proposed natural gas storage tank near Seneca Lake. Andersson said the twelve who were prepared to risk arrest stood in front of the entrance to the Inergy facility, linked arms, and held a sign that read, “Our Future Is Unfractured, We Are Greater Than Dirty Inergy.”
“We had a lot of energy going and there was an incredible sense of community,” she said. “When the police came, we weren’t too phased by it. We knew what was coming.”
This comes as the state continues its debate over whether to allow hydraulic fracturing in New York. For the past several months, the state has continued a cycle of projecting decision deadlines — and then pushing them back.
According to a recent Quinnipiac University poll, upstate New Yorkers favor hydraulic fracturing by 44 percent, while 42 percent say they are against it.
As a native of Caroline, N.Y., Andersson said she has watched her community debate the issue for years. At the rally, she spoke with two former truck drivers who worked in the fracking industry in Watkins Glen.
“They started telling us their stories, and they were destroyed,” Andersson said. “These men had only been truck drivers for fracking companies for about four months — so a very short amount of time. The effects on their health and their families and their communities were outrageously destructive.”
Andersson said she went in to the rally hoping to teach others about the issue. She returned learning something new.
Photo Courtesy of Emily Wilson, NY Youth for a Just and Sustainable Future