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Necessity Defense:  Jury in Delta 5 Climate Case Splits Decision, Shares Sympathy With Protesters


January 15, 2016


Lynnwood, WA – The historic case of the ‘Delta 5’ train blockaders has ended with a conviction on one of the two charges. After four days of testimony from the defendants and their expert witness a Jury found the defendants not guilty of impeding the movement of a train, but guilty of trespass in the second degree.


Immediately following the verdict three of the jurors gathered in the halls of the courthouse to talk with the defendants, their legal team, and supporters. In a heartfelt conversation the jurors expressed their support for the defendants, told their lawyers they would have acquitted on all charges were necessity instructions given, agreed to work with the Climate Disobedience Center to improve further cases and signed up to attend a lobbying day on oil-trains with defendant Abby Brockway.


“The fact that the full testimony on climate and oil trains was allowed, and the jury acquitted us of blocking an oil train makes this a historic trial. Two of the jurors said they are ready to join us lobbying at the state house, I’d call that a success,” said defendant Abby Brockway.


Despite the compelling testimony, the judge instructed the jury to limit their deliberations only to the question of finding whether there were violations of trespass and train laws.

“This judge refused to introduce our defense because of lack of precedent. It set me to thinking of all the bold judges who broke with precedent and advanced the cause of justice in the process, The necessity defense is something that needs a new precedent.” said Jackie Minchew of the Delta 5.


Jurors told the defendants and their lawyers that they were moved by the testimony on the climate crisis and oil train threats and that they would find ways to take action on both issues. “Welcome to the movement,” defendant Mike Lapointe told jurors as he and Brockway embraced them.


Four of the five defendants were sentenced to $550 in fines and fees and a two year probation. Mike Lapointe had his fines suspended due to his financial circumstances. The terms of their probation are that they have no further criminal violations and have no contact with BNSF property.


In 2014, Motivated by the alarming science of climate change, and by concern for the safety of those living in Washington’s fossil fuel corridors, the five local activists had blockaded a train used to transport explosive Bakkan crude oil in Everett on September 2, 2014.


“The Delta 5 knew that they had to step outside of business as usual to take climate action commensurate with the crisis. The fact that Judge Howard stayed within his strict legalism and declined to take a risk of conscience reinforces how important it is for citizens to take bold moral actions. It is clear from the comments of the jurors that this was a transformational moment,” said climate activist Tim DeChristopher. DeChristopher, a founder of the Climate Disobedience Center, had his own trial and conviction after disrupting a federal oil and gas auction in Utah in 2008.


Defendants are now available for comment to the media.
Contact Ahmed Gaya, 773-960-2587,


Video of the defendants and jurors talking available here.




Our Friends and Allies at Resist AIM Kick It up a Notch: See Headlines and Articles Below



Algonquin pipeline opponents arrested
after blocking construction


MONTROSE – Nine people were arrested Monday morning after blocking the entrance to Spectra Energy’s parking lot for the Algonquin pipeline construction.

State police spokeswoman Trooper Melissa McMorris said police were dispatched at about 6:30 a.m. to 207 Albany Post Road, Route 9A, where dozens of people were protesting the ongoing pipeline construction.

Their action caused a traffic backup, and nine people were arrested for disorderly conduct, she said. They were released with tickets to appear in the Cortlandt Town Court on Nov. 20, McMorris said.

Linda Snider of Hastings-on-Hudson, who was one of those arrested, said opponents took action to call for more attention to the safety issues related to the pipeline.

“I’ve never been arrested before. I’m 74 years old, and I have had it,” Snider said. “So many people in Westchester don’t seem to know the dangerous side of this pipeline expansion. Some of us have been working against this for some time. It seems to be the only way to get attention is by trying to stop it … by actually blocking the road.”

Spectra Energy’s Algonquin Incremental Market Project (AIM) will expand existing pipeline systems in New York and three other states to carry more natural gas north from Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale. The project will replace parts of the pipeline as well as run a new section through Stony Point, under the Hudson River and into Verplanck and Buchanan.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the project in March. Opponents have been trying to reverse the decision, citing, among other concerns, their belief that the pipeline is too close to the Indian Point nuclear power plant in Buchanan.

About a month ago, opponents delivered 30,000 petition signatures to Albany, calling for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to halt the project.

The Rev. George Packard of Rye, a retired bishop who was also arrested, said the risk of installing a high-pressure 42-inch-diameter pipeline near the nuclear plant shouldn’t be taken lightly.

“The safety history of these pipelines is a very suspect,” Packard said.

Marylee Hanley, the pipeline’s spokeswoman, said in a statement that the company “respects the right of individuals to peacefully protest and express their positions.

“However, we do not condone actions that interfere with the FERC authorized activities for the AIM Project. The Algonquin pipeline system has been operating safely in the area for more than 60 years,” she said.

Monday’s protest was organized by Resist AIM, a coalition formed to stop the project.

The use of fossil fuels, including natural gas, only contributes to climate change, argued Susan Rubin of Chappaqua, who joined the protest.

“We all know that we have to do everything we can to keep all the fossil fuels in the ground and switch to renewable energy, wind and solar,” Rubin said. “We’re concerned about our children’s future.”




Democracy Now Logo  Group arrested for pipeline protest

More than half a dozen people arrested as they protested the expansion of a gas pipeline that goes from Rockland into Northern Westchester. (11/10/15)

MONTROSE – More than half a dozen people were arrested as they protested the expansion of a gas pipeline that goes from Rockland into Northern Westchester.

For an hour yesterday, nine protesters blocked access to Spectra Energy’s construction yard in Montrose.

The Spectra Energy pipeline would replace 20 miles of existing Algonquin pipeline with a new one nearly twice as large in diameter. The pipeline would run from Stony Point, under the Hudson River and into Verplanck and Buchanan. Protesters say the expansion would impact neighboring communities, including one elementary school.

A spokesperson for Spectra Energy has told News 12 that the project will provide affordable and environmentally friendly energy, adding that the company has been operating safely for more than 60 years.


Click Here for the Democracy Now!’ Article – Montrose 9 Trial

Click Here for the News12′ Video – Montrose 9 Trial

Click Here for the LoHud’ Story – Montrose 9 Trial

Click Here for the ‘Patch’ Article – Montrose 9 Pretrial Press Conference

Click Here for the Patch’ Article – Upcoming Montrose 9 Trial

Click Here for the ‘Peekskill Daily Voice’ Article – Montrose 9 Trial


Click Here for the American Herald Tribune Article – Montrose 9 Trial


Click Here for the Popular Resistance Blog – Montrose 9 Trial





Legislators Take Action to Blunt Harmful Impacts of Astorino’s Northern Westchester Pipeline!

Members of the Westchester County Board of Legislators announced a series of actions intended to stop the harmful impacts of the Spectra/AIM Pipeline on local homeowners

Press Conf 5

Press Conf 3

SEnRG members Nancy Vann and Courtney Williams join Legislators Catherine Borgia and Mary Beth Shinsky at a press conference on Wednesday.

For more on the Press Conference click here

Public News Service:
Lawmakers Call for Independent Risk Assessment of Pipeline

Two New York lawmakers are calling for an independent risk assessment of a natural-gas pipeline near the Indian Point nuclear power plant in Westchester County. Assemblywoman Sandra Galef, D-Ossining, and Assemblyman David Buchwald, D-Mount Kisco, said pipeline experts have found flaws in the analysis used by federal regulators who signed off on expanding Spectra Energy’s Algonquin Pipeline. Galef insisted that the expansion project be suspended while a new assessment by an outside agency is performed.
Listen to the report here:
For the full article, go to: Lawmakers Call for Indian Point Assessment

Share to help protect the health and safety of more than
20 million people in the NY metro area!

For more updates on our Indian Point project click on the video below:



Paul Blanch, nuclear expert, on Indian Point:  ” . . . probably the most dangerous nuclear power plant in the world”!!

Paul Blanch, Registered Nuclear Engineer, 3 Mile Island Expert Witness, discussing the poor risk assessment of Indian Point staff, with crude calculations provided to the NRC revealed in a FOIA request reluctantly granted. He points to the risks of the proposed AIM pipeline. He points out the NRC has become a captive of the nuclear power industry serving their interests instead of the public’s and not properly analyzing the risks involved in the pipeline or nuclear power plant renewal. July 18, 2015 video by Joe Friendly.

 . . . or on the video below:



Empowering Communities to Power the Future.

SEnRG is a group of engaged citizens working together to protect communities in the Northeast from unsafe energy development and infrastructure. We employ our experience and professional expertise to assist those impacted by harmful fossil fuel projects in exercising their rights to safe, sustainable energy. Our goal is to provide credible information and support to ensure that communities of all sizes can protect their health and safety. To this end, we assist citizens in taking social, legal, and political action as they demand meaningful dialogue and adherence to the law from elected officials and permitting agencies. 

SEnRG is a non-profit organization.

Experts Present Critical New Information on Spectra Pipeline Next to Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant

On Wednesday, July 15th experts presented information about the Spectra AIM Pipeline project to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Petition Review Board.

Nuclear energy experts Paul Blanch and pipeline safety expert Richard Kuprewicz spoke to a packed audience at the Hendrick Hudson Library in Montrose, NY at a press conference hosted by Assemblywoman Sandy Galef. They then made their second presentation to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Petition Review Board regarding the dangers of installing a high-pressure, 42-inch diameter fracked gas pipeline adjacent to the Indian Point nuclear energy plant.

Click here for further info



Today in Tree History
(i.e., these trees are history)


One Third Gone

Very Hungry Machines

At Boulder Drive in Cortlandt




From our friends at Creating Change:

New Year’s Resolutions for a Fossil-Free NY!

NY may have a ban on fracking, but we are still experiencing a build out of related infrastructure, including pipelines, compressors, storage facilities, new natural gas power plants, and bomb trains. For 2016, communities across the state are resolving to stand up to the industry that is threatening their health, safety, and the environment. Here is a checklist of easy actions you can take to help them meet their New Year’s goals!

✓ Say Stop the Spectra AIM pipeline! 

Call Governor Cuomo (518-474-8390) daily to demand that construction of the Spectra AIM pipeline be halted and an independent risk assessment be conducted.  Closing Indian Point is not enough to keep 20 million New Yorkers safe. Learn more at


 Call for a Statewide Health Impact Assessment on natural gas pipelines

Contact your town, county, state officials, asking them to e-mail Governor Cuomo their support of the  American Medical Association 2015 Resolution 519 (calling for legislation that would require a comprehensive Health Impact Assessment regarding the health risks that may be associated with natural gas pipelines.) Send your own email to the Governor too!

 Make a quick call to help stop the Constitution Pipeline

Call Governor Cuomo at 877-235-6537 and ask him to direct the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation to deny the 401 Water Quality Certificate for the Constitution Pipeline.

 Sign the petition to Save Seneca Lake

Tell Governor Cuomo you oppose gas storage in unstable salt caverns at Seneca Lake! Learn more & sign the petition here. 

 Join us in Albany for the “State of the Climate” rally 

People fighting fossil fuel infrastructure and working to create our renewable energy future will rally outside Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address on January 13th, continuing in the tradition of the anti-fracking movement. You know you want to be there! Invite your friends to carpool or ride a bus with you!

 Demand full EIS on Dominion “New Market Project”

Contact Governor Cuomo (518-474-8390e-mail ) and DEC Commissioner Seggos (518-402-8545, e-mail ) and tell them to conduct a state-level Environmental Impact Statement (which FERC failed to do) on Dominion’s “New Market Project” addressing health, safety, and environmental impacts including alternatives that would reduce emissions. Learn more here.

 Ask the DEC to deny permits to Frack-Fired Power Plant in Orange County

Contact Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos (518-402-8545, e-mail) to ask that all permits be rescinded for CPV Valley and to reject the water permit for the Millennium-CPV lateral pipeline.  Sign the petition here:







Some background information and resources for learning more about the Spectra Algonquin Incremental Market Expansion (AIM Project):

Scroll down for the following sections:

Summary/Overview of the AIM Project
Maps of pipeline route
Environmental Impacts
Health Impacts
Safety risks
Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant


The AIM Project is part of a system-wide expansion of Spectra’s Algonquin Pipeline. Spectra is proposing to enlarge several sections of pipeline from 26 inches to 42 inches, enlarge existing compressor stations, build new compressor stations, and expand other above ground pipeline facilities. They are also proposing to build several new segments of pipeline outside of their current right of way. One such new segment goes from Rockland to Westchester Counties in NY, adjacent to the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant and the Buchanan-Verplanck Elementary School.

FERC approved the AIM Project in early March, contingent upon additional permits from other agencies. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is currently reviewing comments on the air and water permits required by the EPA. Spectra has already begun “pre-construction activities” in the pipeline right of way.

The AIM project is the first of several expansions of the Algonquin Pipeline proposed by Spectra. The follow-up expansions are the Atlantic Bridge Project and the Access Northeast Project.



All maps are based on Spectra Energy filings with FERC from February 2014.

Environmental Impacts

Impacts on Blue Mountain Reservation in Cortlandt, NY (click here)

Impacts on bird populations in Westchester County, NY (click here)

Health Impacts (PCBs, air emissions)

Removal of old pipeline segments (click here)

Health risks of pigging stations (click here)

Air quality (click here)

Environmental Justice (click here, here)


Safety risks

For a list of some of Spectra’s safety violations and accidents click here.

Report by pipeline engineer Rick Kuprewicz of AccuFacts for the Town of Cortlandt discussing safety risks (click here)

Risks of citing new route of Algonquin Pipeline 450ft from Buchanan-Verplanck Elementary School (click here)


Indian Point

Transcript of Nuclear Regulatory Commission hearing on safety concerns of citing new segment of Algonquin pipeline adjacent to Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant (click here)

Press release from US Assemblywoman Sandra Galef calling into question the safety of siting the new pipeline adjacent to Indian Point (click here)

Radio show “Connect the Dots” host Alison Rose Levy talks with SAPE co-founder Susan VanDolsen and SEnRG Vice President Courtney M. Williams discussing the risks of the proposed pipeline route to Indian Point (click here)




Surprise! Another “Ware Yard” from the AIM pipeline folks!

Seems like Algonquin just discovered another “Ooooops!” They had completely overlooked the fact that they’ll need an additional 4.6 acres of land for a ware yard and work space in Peekskill!

Of course they’re still assuring us that they’ve got everything under control. Not to worry! No problem! They’ll just add heavy equipment, constant traffic, air pollution and diesel fumes to the property across the street from the Westchester Diner and the Welcher Avenue McDonald’s (see map below).

What a shame they didn’t realize this in time to include it in the environmental review of the project – including the stormwater permits issued by the city. Hope that Peekskill officials will take some time to revisit those permits before the increased runoff starts pouring into our road drains and into the Hudson River!

New Work and Wareyard Area






Updated 11-28-15 Flyer

Free Public Lecture on Winter Tree ID

Sponsored by: Bedford Audubon Society
When: Wednesday, November 11, 7PM

Where: Katonah Village Library’s Garden Room

Bedford Audubon will welcome Michael Wojtech for a free public lecture on winter tree identification, entitled “Bark: Get to Know Your Trees”. This program will be useful to nature enthusiasts with all levels of experience.

Refreshments will be served at 7 pm and the lecture will begin at 7:30 in the Garden Room. No registration is necessary. Please bring a reusable mug to help us reduce our ecological footprint. For more information visit

Zero Waste Your Event

Sponsored by: Greenburgh Nature Center and Lower Hudson Sierra Group
When: Wednesday, November 11, 7PM
Where:  Greenburgh Nature Center, 99 Dromore Road, Scarsdale, NY
Pete and Toshi Seeger’s Clearwater Festival, the largest annual environmental celebration in the US, reduced waste by over 15 tons in the last three years. Festival Co-Coordinator MJ Wilson will share practical and proven ways for reducing waste dramatically, whether at a family gathering or a large community event. Program is FREE. For more information visit Greenburgh Nature Center Events Page.