Starkey Citizens for a Clean & Healthy Environment
Schuyler County Protesters Get 15 Days in Jail

READING — Three members of a group called the “Seneca Lake 12” pleaded guilty to trespassing and were sentenced to 15 days in jail Wednesday night by Reading Town Justice Raymond H. Berry after they refused to pay $375 in fines.

Sandra Steingraber, 53, of Trumansburg; Michael Dineen, 64, of Ovid, and Melissa Chipman, 55, of Hector were immediately taken into custody and transported to Schuyler County Jail.

The trio was arrested with nine others March 18 and charged with trespassing after they blocked the entrance to an Inergy natural gas facility on state Route 14 in Reading.

Of those other nine, five — KC Alvey, Dennis Fox, Jack Ossont, Crow Marley, and Katya Anderson — already paid $375 each in fines. A law student, Mahats Miller, had his case postponed.

On May 1, the remaining three — Jim Bora, Spike Jones and Margie Rodgers — are scheduled to appear in court.

The 12, along with another dozen people, blocked the gates to protest Inergy’s plan to store natural gas and propane in salt caverns under Seneca Lake and what they see as the company’s plan to turn the region into a transportation hub for natural gas and propane shipments.

The three read prepared statements at sentencing.

“I’d rather have bread and water now than no bread and toxic water later as a result of this flawed Inergy project,” Chipman said.

Steingraber said Inergy’s project would be “toxic trespassing” because of contamination and dangers of explosion from the storage of the propane and natural gas.

Prior to their court appearance,Steingraber, Dineen and Chipman spoke at a Watkins Glen rally attended by about 125 sign-waving, clapping supporters, many of whom filled the Reading courtroom
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