Charges Won’t Be Dropped for 84 Crestwood Protesters

Protesters in front of the Crestwood gas storage facility/Photo courtesy of We Are Seneca Lake
Protesters in front of the Crestwood gas storage facility/Photo courtesy of We Are Seneca Lake
Schuyler DA Joseph Fazzary said to rescind his support for dismissal of trespassing charges

By Ray Finger, Star Gazette

The Schuyler County district attorney has decided not to dismiss trespass charges against 84 protestors arrested at the gates of Crestwood Midstream Partners, We Are Seneca Lake said Thursday.

Those protesters were part of a civil disobedience campaign organized by We Are Seneca Lake in opposition to plans by Crestwood to expand natural gas storage and add liquefied petroleum gas storage on the lake’s western shore.

District Attorney Joseph Fazzary rescinded his support for dismissing charges againt the 84 protesters that was to take place Thursday, We Are Seneca Lake said.

Earlier, Fazzary, along with local judges, dropped charges against 60 protesters “in the interests of justice,” the group said. A month ago, he agreed to dismiss charges against the 84 additional Seneca Lake protesters, the group said.

“We understand that the district attorney says that he has withdrawn the promised offer because 19 new community members blocked the gates of Crestwood in a peaceful act of civil disobedience on Earth Day (April 22),” the group said in a news release.

Those 19 protesters, ages 49 to 76, had not been arrested before and were not part of the dismissal agreement, the group said.

“There has never been any promise that there would be no more protests or even more arrests,” the group said. “We and our legal advisors have been very clear, in court and out, that the extent of our promise was what we committed to in the statement we negotiated.”

A telephone call to Fazzary’s office seeking comment was not immediately returned late Thursday afternoon.

“We are concerned about the implications of revoking offers for the 84 remaining, based on the actions of 19 unrelated people,” the group said. “We are all individuals and believe that it is our right to be treated as such by the courts. We have never promised there would be no more protests, or no arrests. And we could not make that promise even if we wanted to.”

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave conditional approval Sept. 30 of Crestwood’s plans to expand methane storage. The state Department of Environmental Conservation continues the environmental review process for the planned LPG facility on a portion of Crestwood’s 576-acre site in underground salt caverns.

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