Friday, October 23, 2015

Destroying Trees to Build Pipelines

The transition from theory to reality can be pretty shocking.

At least it was for me as I stood by the side of the road last week near the Indian Point nuclear power plant in Westchester, NY, watching a giant machine take down 100-foot trees like they were matchsticks. It was horrific, and it was real.

The noise alone was amazing. The giant saw blade made an incredible buzz, the diesel engines roared, and the falling trees crunched and moaned as they fell to the ground. One after another, the mature trees fell, as one solitary machine operator relentlessly moved his giant rig deeper into the woods.

The trees were being cut down to make way for the new 42-inch gas pipeline that will traverse Westchester County as it transports natural gas from fracking operations in Pennsylvania to export terminals in the Canadian Maritimes. We've been talking about this possibility for years. But now the destruction has actually begun.

I was in Westchester to survey the route of the proposed pipeline, getting ready to shoot video for a documentary film we're making. Luckily I had my camera in the car, and was able to document the destruction of the trees with a short film.

As I watched the mayhem, I thought about industry executives and their lawmaker partners who champion the job-creating aspects of the natural gas delivery build-out. Sure, I thought, the guy taking down all the trees has a job. And the three truck drivers waiting to haul them away had jobs. But for how long? What kinds of jobs are these, that enable this kind of environmental tragedy?

Our film will be about the irony of building a massive natural gas transportation infrastructure at a time when climate change is causing so many problems around the world.  Who is it, exactly, who is pushing the natural gas export agenda? Who thinks it's OK to plunder our resources, exploit our environment and pollute our air and water so that they can personally make a big profit?

I want to know who's responsible for this. And I plan to find out.

Watch this space.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for taking the time to document something that is so upsetting. Know that you are making a difference.