Something extraordinary happened in Lancaster County yesterday.
A busload of fifty local residents took over the field offices of Williams/Transco at 805 Estelle Drive, Suite 101, in Lancaster. We dropped a 12 foot stretch of pipeline in Williams’s meeting room, sang songs through the hallways, and slapped a Condemnation Notice on the door before leaving. When a Williams employee complained about our visit, one of our residents deadpanned: “Sucks to be invaded, doesn’t it?”
Our message was simple and direct: we the people, whose lives and land are under assault by this toxic piepline, openly defy the “right” of dirty energy giants to profit at the expense of our health, safety, water, and land.
From there, the bus headed down to southern Lancaster County where Williams is drilling under the Conestoga River and desecrating federally recognized indigenous graves. The HDD process they’re using is the same one now contaminating drinking water along the Mariner East 2 pipeline.
We walked off the bus and sang our way straight onto the worksite, right past the workers, and up onto the drill rig itself. After police arrived, five bold residents locked arms and stood atop that monstrous machinery for another three hours, shutting down operations for the rest of the day.
By day’s end, the Drill Rig Five were arrested while defending our community. It’s a perversion of justice that law enforcement are sued to protect the financial interests of energy giants in Oklahoma over the health and safety of local residents. We look forward to the day when fossil fuel billionaires are stuffed into police cruisers for sabotaging our children’s future, rather than those of us peacefully working to protect that future.
Yesterday made one thing crystal clear: local communities are done waiting around for regulators, legislators, judges, and law enforcement to protect our most basic rights–pure water, healthy soil, clean air, and safe communities.
Until it’s illegal for dirty energy giants like Williams to seize farmland and force explosive pipelines next to our children’s schools, we’ll keep walking onto their destruction sites, dropping pipes into their corporate offices, and singing songs of defiance right onto their deathly drill rigs.
Momentum is shifting, and the industry knows it. That’s why they’re so desperate–and why we need to be more resolved than ever. And the march goes on!
Open Letter to Williams/Transco on Today’s Action:
As you may have noticed, the people of Lancaster County occupied your stupid pipeline today.
We took over a stretch of pipe laid out on farmland you seized from a woman who promised her dad that land would never be industrialized. You took her to court and ripped that land from her hands. Now we rage and mourn, as you dig and grin.
Today we stomped and sang songs of resistance on your illegitimate pipe because we don’t respect an industry that poisons our water, fouls our air, and steals our children’s future for its own filthy profits.
We don’t accept your “right” to take our land, invade our neighborhoods, put our schools in toxic blast zones, drill under our rivers, clear cut our forests, desecrate Native graves, seize preserved farms, and bulldoze the fields of Catholic Sisters who regard this earth as Sacred.
You hide behind your army of ex-police security mercenaries. You file cowardly false charges against our children for delivering carols and cookies to your workers. You’re a $50-billion corporate crybaby that plays the victim when we march your trucks to a standstill as they haul pipes of destruction down our country roads.
Today, we trampled your pipeline under foot as an act of defiance for defiling so many of the things we love.
We’re done waiting for legislators, regulators or judges to save us. They’ve already shown that protecting your profits is their number one job. It turns out the people of Lancaster County have a job to do, too: saving the place we call home.
All across the US, communities are rising up against pipeline Goliaths just like you—mega rich actors who’ve grown accustomed to operating above the law. We’ve had enough of your intolerable invasions. And our love of land and home has made us fearless.
That’s what scares you most of all.