Wednesday, March 6, 2013

North Jersey on the Rise!

From www.northjersey.com :

Pipeline opponents hold protest in Ringwood [video]


Wednesday, March 6, 2013 Last updated: Wednesday March 6, 2013, 7:25 PM

The Record

 
RINGWOOD -- Two protesters lashed themselves to a pair of maple trees in Ringwood Wednesday to try to slow construction of a gas pipeline, leading to a standoff with police that eventually ended with the intervention of a Native American tribe leader.
Contractors for Tennessee Gas cut trees and clear a pathway near Morris Road in Ringwood Wednesdsay, part of Ringwood State Park.
THOMAS E. FRANKLIN /STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Contractors for Tennessee Gas cut trees and clear a pathway near Morris Road in Ringwood Wednesdsay, part of Ringwood State Park.


From left, Jerome Wagner of Wayne and Matt Smith of Wanaque locked to the trees.
COURTESY OF MATT SMITH
From left, Jerome Wagner of Wayne and Matt Smith of Wanaque locked to the trees.


Using a device made of PVC pipe and a steel lockbox, Matt Smith and Jerome Wagner secured themselves to the trees around 8 a.m. Wednesday in an effort to force a work crew to miss a March 15 deadline to cut down trees in the Tennessee Gas pipeline’s path. The deadline is timed to the nesting and breeding seasons of the bald eagle and the timber rattlesnake, both protected species under federal law. Missing the deadline might have delayed the pipeline project eight months and have bought protesters time to challenge the construction in court.

Smith, from Wanaque, and Wagner, of Wayne, said they’d dressed for the protest expecting to have to withstand an approaching winter storm and planned to stay until the deadline elapsed. He said they would “stay as long as it takes to defend this last stand of forest.”

State police and officers from Ringwood arrived at mid-morning to back up officers who had already arrived, and were preparing to free the two from the trees when Vincent Mann, chief of the Ramapough tribe, and asked the protesters to end the standoff. Mann told the them their demonstration threatened to interfere with the tribe’s legal process with the pipeline developer and the two unlocked themselves and left.

“We have to have one voice,” Mann said. “The larger picture is bigger than any one person.”
It was one of a series of demonstrations along the path of the proposed 40-mile pipeline from Pennsylvania into northern New Jersey, said Harriet Shugarman, a spokeswoman for Stop the Tennessee Gas Pipeline, a group of local organizations opposed to the project.
Contractors for Tennessee Gas began cutting down trees in Ringwood State Park on Feb. 6 for the 7.6-mile pipeline expansion project, extending from West Milford across Ringwood and into Mahwah.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which approved the pipeline project last May, in January rejected a request by environmentalists to postpone the project, saying its own reviews showed the pipeline would not have significant effects on “the human environment.” Environmental groups now go to the U.S. Court of Appeals to stop the pipeline.
Email: mcgrathm@northjersey.com and norman@northjersey.com
 

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