By Ted Glick
Very possibly as early as tomorrow, chain-saw-armed tree cutters hired by Williams Partners, a powerful pipeline-building corporation for the gas and oil industry, will try to cut down sugar maple trees on the property of Maryann Zeffer, Cathy and Megan Holleran and their family. For 65 years they have lived on this land, and for the last ten or so they have been producing delicious, pure, Pennsylvania maple syrup from those trees.
This destruction won’t happen without a big fight. Nine days ago as I write, after FERC gave approval to Williams’ request to start tree cutting in Pennsylvania even though Williams does not have all of the necessary approvals to build their Pennsylvania-to-New York Constitution pipeline, an encampment was set up on the Zeffer/Holleran land. Every day since, people have been there.
The press has been there, too. TV stations in Binghamton, N.Y., and Scranton, Pa., have done stories on this epic David vs. Goliath battle, though this one is more like strong women Davidas vs. Goliath.
I spent a very cold but inspiring day yesterday with Maryann, Cathy and Megan and about 30 other people there for some part of the day, including fracktivist heroine Vera Scoggins, who I had never met before. One of the rewarding things about a life of for-the-people activism and organizing is the wonderful people you are always meeting and getting to know.
Yesterday it looked like Williams’ tree cutters might not be getting to the Zeffer/Holleran land for a while. They had started just the day before, a number of miles away. However, just today, another crew started cutting a little more than a mile away, and the locals sent out an alert calling upon as many people as possible to show up today if possible but tomorrow for sure. They expect the confrontation to take place within 48 hours at most.
People who can get to the site should do so right away. You don’t need to be prepared to risk arrest to do so; the more people there to watch and observe and take pictures and spread the word the better.
You do need a car. Here’s the information you need, from the “Stop the Constitution Pipeline in Pa” site on Facebook:
The Holleran property is located at 2131 Three Lakes Road, New Milford, PA, but use these coordinates to find where people are gathered to stop the tree cutting: 41.8272387, -75.7585062
You can contact the following two people:
Megan Holleran 570-709-3268
Alex Lotorto (after 5 p.m.) 570-269-9589
The courageous stand of these women and their family needs to be emulated and supported throughout the country, wherever the fracking industry is trying to build new pipelines and infrastructure. Their fight is literally our fight; as Rev. Yearwood often says, this is our “lunch counter moment.” Just as young black people and older black people stood up against the racists in the Deep South in the early 60’s, galvanizing a process of social change in this country that continues to have impacts today, so must we take up this fight right now on behalf of the people and the planet.
Yesterday, in a very spontaneous moment, Cathy, Megan and Maryann began singing the John Lennon song, Power to the People. The feeling to do so came out of the power I’m sure they were feeling as a result of what their refusal to bend to the will of Williams Partners has already brought them—new friends, solidarity, community, hope. Power to the people, indeed, not the frackers, polluters and corporatists who think they will rule over us forever. We cannot let them, and the time is right now to make that very clear.
More information on Ted Glick can be found at http://tedglick.com.