Residents of Connecticut, New York, and Rhode Island gathered outside the Democratic Governors Association Thursday, using a puppet performance to protest the governors’ support for the natural gas industry. In particular, the demonstrators called on the governors to withdraw their support for Spectra Energy’s gas pipeline expansion proposal. Called the “Algonquin Incremental Market” project, Spectra’s project would carry high volumes of flammable methane gas through neighborhoods in Connecticut and other states and, most dangerously, in the vicinity of the Indian Point nuclear power plant in New York.
The No Pipeline Expansion (NOPE) coalition planned the demonstration, which brought about twenty-five attendees from three states.
“Together we must stop the fossil fuel direction that the New England governors are taking us in which will exacerbate global warming and our extinction. They must choose renewable energy instead of natural gas and they must do it now, it’s a matter of life or death,” said Suzannah Glidden, who spoke to protesters on behalf of Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion.
Demonstrators carried a five-foot tall puppet of Death riding a skeleton horse. In a puppet performance, Death awarded the Northeastern governors the Annual Award for Exceptional Destruction, in recognition of their support for the gas industry.
“I, The Lord of Death, am thrilled and humbled by the heroic efforts of these governors in their support of the gas industry and fracking,” read Nick Katkevitch, a protester acting as Death’s spokesperson in the puppet performance.
Peter Romersa, a Stamford resident, spoke to the crowd of protesters, “It’s extremely important that people from several states came here to Greenwich to tell the governors that dirty fracking is not a substitute for truly clean energy sources.”
The NOPE coalition is planning community outreach across several states to raise awareness about Spectra’s proposal. Recently, they convinced New York’s Putnam County to pass a resolution opposing the pipeline expansion. The NOPE Coalition is made of groups throughout the northeast including SAPE (Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion), Capitalism vs. The Climate, FANG: Fighting Against Natural Gas, Fossil Free RI, Occupy Providence, the Rhode Island Green Party, and Better Future Project. This event was also co-sponsored by Food & Water Watch.
“I am concerned about the respiratory diseases and risks of explosion that Spectra’s project will bring to my community in Middletown and neighboring Cromwell,” said April Scheller.
Grounded in the principles of environmental justice, NOPE is based on a common vision of fossil-fuel free, community-controlled renewable energy that works for all without endangering the health of our communities and the planet.
Standing in solidarity with Marcellus Shale communities affected by hydraulic fracturing, the No Pipeline Expansion (NOPE) coalition seeks to expose methane gas as a dangerous energy source by actively working to stop Spectra Energy’s Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) project, a major expansion of shale gas infrastructure in NY, CT, RI and MA. NOPE opposes the project because it will exacerbate climate change; roadblock renewable energy development; endanger our safety and quality of life; contaminate water, air and soil; cause harm to domestic animals and wildlife; and threaten farmland and homes.