Help us and tell Senator Gillibrand, “Minisink Matters”
Dear Senator Gillibrand,
Residents of Minisink, NY have been engaged in a historic two-year battle to protect their community from the reckless and irresponsible siting of a 12,260 horsepower gas compressor station in the middle of their beautiful, agricultural town by Millennium Pipeline, a subsidiary of NiSource, Inc.
The community of Minisink faithfully engaged the federal regulatory process, only to find that the decision was predetermined from the very beginning and their participation in the FERC process was a futile exercise that drained both morale and resources of this middle-class community. As you are aware, over the last five years, FERC has approved 99% of all the plans that come before them.
Minisink residents reached out to you and your staff repeatedly for assistance, with equally great faith and hope, but to little avail. Residents and supporters sent you emails, made phone calls to your office, and even travelled to Washington DC and met with your staff on several occasions; a six-hour journey each way, with residents leaving at two in the morning with their entire families in order to elicit your help. Regretfully, you failed to answer their desperate pleas, and stood silent as this community of young families and first responders were robbed of their basic human and civil rights.
Now, despite the fact that their case challenging the FERC decision has yet to be heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals, the station is built, emitting multiple toxins into the air, endangering the health of hundreds of young children and many 9/11 first responders with respiratory illnesses within half a mile, many of whom ironically moved to Minisink to heal in a rural, country environment; their due process rights, along with their right to clean air and clean water, trashed in the dustbin by a broken system.
The community now feels a deep sense of betrayal in both the political and regulatory process. Senator, as a mother and 9/11 First Responder advocate, we expect more from you.
The crisis facing Minisink is emblematic of the egregious excesses of the gas industry. There are now far too many American communities being sacrificed for a corporate industry that is unrestrained and almost entirely self-regulated. In direct contrast, the Minisink case represents an opportunity to change the balance of an unequal equation. Moreover, this is the great state of New York, and we reject the idea that our citizens or environment can be sacrificed for any corporation, commodity, or cause. Finally, Minisink is one of the most significant agricultural districts in New York State, thus a critical part of our food and dairy shed. Gas infrastructure in such a location impacts all of us.
We urge you to expeditiously visit the community of Minisink and personally meet with impacted residents.
We urge you to proactively engage with community organizers in Minisink and develop an actionable plan to protect the community.
We urge you to call immediate Congressional hearings to investigate the numerous failures in the regulatory process on the siting and monitoring of gas infrastructure as documented by the Minisink case.
We urge you to use the full power of your office and position to hold all government agencies and their staff accountable for these failures.
Senator as a representative of the great state of New York you should be well aware that New Yorkers have drawn a line in the sand. No more sacrifice zones. Minisink Matters. The People Matter.