May 19, 2015
Contact: Sherrie Anne Andre, 401-474-7666
Social Service Advocate Launches Tree-Sit to Prevent Pipeline Construction
BURRILLVILLE, RI – A local woman launched a tree sit at the edge of a gas compressor station in Burrillville this morning to prevent its proposed expansion. The station, owned and operated by Spectra Energy, pressurizes and moves gas along the “Algonquin” Pipeline. Spectra is planning to nearly double the capacity of the compressor station as part of the highly protested “AIM” pipeline expansion project.
Sherrie Anne Andre, a member of FANG (Fighting Against Naturals Gas), and a Rhode Island native is holding the tree-sit “indefinitely”. The sit is aimed at preventing the tree clearing necessary for constructing the addition to the compressor station.
Andre is occupying a platform that is suspended 60 feet high on a tree located just yards away from the existing gas compressor station. A banner hanging from the platform reads “Spectra’s Toxins are Trespassing on Our Bodies, #StopSpectra”, highlighting the health impacts that residents face during the extraction, transportation and burning of fracked-gas.
Citing her eight years of professional work as an advocate for survivors of sexual and domestic assault Andre relayed that, “Spectra’s proposed project would hurt families along the pipeline route and in the areas where the gas is extracted. If I truly believe I am an advocate, then I am exactly where I need to be – participating in a nonviolent direct action to stop this harm.”
In her work with FANG, Andre researches the social impacts connected with the development of fossil fuel infrastructure. “From places of extraction like the Bakken oil fields that saw a 300% increase in sexual assault after industry moved in, to Pennsylvania’s shalefields where hard drug use rates have risen – the fossil fuel industry devastates communities.”
In March the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, charged with reviewing interstate gas pipeline projects, gave initial approval to the AIM pipeline project. Spectra has still has not received final approval from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council.
Last month, protestors delivered a “final notice” to Spectra, giving the company forty days to either cancel the AIM project or face increased community resistance. A national “week of action” targeting Spectra Energy is scheduled to start on June 6th, marking the end of the forty day window.
Sherrie called for people to participate saying “if you also believe that what Spectra is doing is wrong, I ask you to join me in taking action to stop them.”