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We Are Seneca Lake: Recruiter of Useful Idiots

We are seneca lakeDavid Crea
Process, Energy & Reliability Engineer, Watkins Glen, NY
(David Crea is employed by US Salt but speaks here for himself only)

 ….

The ongoing saga of “The Locals” versus “The Ithacans” as arrest data-analysis reveals much about arrestees, and tells us why ‘We Are Seneca Lake” is no more than a recruiter of new useful idiots.

As any student of culture can attest, there is far more than 20 miles distance and a few hills and dales that separate the Village of Watkins Glen from its eastern neighbor at Ithaca, New York. The cultural gulf that separates those who people the two areas is an insurmountable chasm. The east shore of Seneca Lake is a clear demarcation line.

Put most simply from my own cultural observations, it is “folks who work, do business, and mind their own business” that inhabit the western side of this chasm, and I will designate them herein as “The Locals.”

There are many descriptors for those on the eastern side and the Ithaca area in general; I will leave you to recall your favorites or share them with others in the comments. I will use a tag that I favor, “The Ithacans.” The appropriateness of that tag will become clear as we look at characteristics of the “Crestwood Gate Arrestees,” aka the “We Are Seneca Lake” (WASL) group. In contrast to The Locals at Watkins Glen culturally, The Ithacans as a group want to “think for the workin’ folks, and mind others business.”

These two mental stances put The Ithacans permanently at odds with most of America, and especially with The Locals.

We Are Seneca Lake

I will not rehash the detailed history that has led to this moment in time, some 577 arrests having occurred at the Crestwood Gates since September 2012. Suffice it to explain that there is a “midstream” energy business, Crestwood, that wants to fill a market need to have more LPG and natural gas available for peak winter use in the northeastern USA. Storage closer to the users is needed since there is inadequate pipeline capacity and opportunity for storage farther east. Crestwood acquired land and facilities to fill this market need using ready-made cavities in what is US Salt’s brinefield to the north of the salt plant, and on the western shoulder of Seneca Lake.

As they worked to execute their plan, it became clear that the LPG-Storage Proposal had attracted notice from a group of  fractivists who tagged themselves “Gas Free Seneca.” The group has funding ties back to the Park Foundation, located in Ithaca, that have been previously revealed, such as here, here and here. The Park Foundation’s goal is to promote “excellence in journalism,” so it would seem anathema that they instead support those are clearly fractivists, posing as “friends of the earth,” and trying to stop the handling and use of carbon in any form, so long as it is others who are deprived of those uses, notwithstanding gas being the lowest carbon of fossil fuels and one that is lowering carbon emissions, not raising them. It all seems to trace to one person, a classic trust fund brat who directs the Foundation’s meddling, Adelaide Park Gomer.

In this instance, they are using Seneca Lake and the area wine industry as their prop to take a self-righteous stand “to protect it for the children.”

The anachronism this group displays is why they fight storage of LPG and gas so hard, yet while doing so promote prodigious use of petroleum derivatives in their efforts! The one-way distance travelled to the Crestwood Gate is now up to 36,625 miles! And they have to come back at least once for a court appearance. So, there is a tremendous amount of wasted-time and travel and gas burned to exercise their self-righteousness!

Another dichotomy is that while the Park Foundation fights the use of any carbon (even low-carbon gas), it is indebted to those same carbon-users driving past the billboards that made the family fortune. But back to the main story…

The initial anti-gas people grouped together their small army under the banner “Gas Free Seneca” and continued with fervor the slanted investigative article and message process with various journalists and activists. After a few years, some of them decided that group was not flashy enough to continue getting the free press that was felt necessary, so they branched into another group and tagged themselves “We Are Seneca Lake.”

Besides the hidden goal of getting free press coverage, they had an announced goal of punishing Schuyler County, because the County Legislature had not proved cooperative, and, indeed, had gone distinctly against their wishes, with action in support of the LPG-Project! In fact, they were so enraged by the lack of cooperation from the Legislature that they put out this “Wanted” poster, for “treason against their county and constituents” and a host of other contrived sins:

We Are Seneca Lake

WANTED! poster intended to shame Legislators for supporting the LPG-Storage Project

The We Are Seneca Lake group strategized that the way to punish Schuyler County was to get arrested, load up the meager Town Court system, and take time in jail, at great expense to the county. It was most effective as a strategy if you were female, since the authorities had to send females to the Chemung County Jail. So they started running a repetitive civil disobedience campaign by blocking the gates to Crestwood’s facility, and becoming arrested for trespassing or disturbing the peace. The authorities responded by becoming very good at hauling the offenders off on short-notice to Schuyler County Jail for booking.

It didn’t take long for the authorities to figure out fines levied on the offenders were far more cost-effective for the county residents. And, if not paid immediately, the court could then lodged civil judgments that went on Credit Reports and might get in the way of finding jobs.

Still believing they had strength in numbers and could overwhelm the court system in a non-violent way, the WASL group talked many more useful idiots into becoming arrested. That total is now up to 577 arrests. But that doesn’t mean there are that many individuals. There are only 387 individuals who I will call arrestees. Many of the arrests have been repeat violators – some as many as 7 times!

So, what can we know about these people, the arrestees? Well, it turns out that with basic sleuthing to get the arrest reports, and a lot of sweating the details work to match names and addresses to other public information, one can figure out quite a lot! This writer is only the data reducer. There is a super-collaborator who has done the data collection and database-entry work, and that person will remain unnamed. Needless to say, I am indebted to my collaborator for the chance to present these demographic and political studies to get insight into the group.

So here you have a story from data on the group We Are Seneca Lake. They might not want you to know this story, but it is a message they can’t control nor skew, as it comes from the very data on those WASL groupies who have chosen to be arrested to demonstrate their belief in the inherent evil of the carbon atom through being arrested, and thus had their personal details made public.

Let’s get into it with the basics, gender and age.

We Are Seneca Lake

Distribution by Gender

The chart above shows that the majority of arrestees, almost 60%, are female.

How old are they? Well, the average is 55, range 18 to 89. The distribution of ages is telling, seen in the chart below:

We Are Seneca Lake

Age distribution of Crestwood Gate arrestees

You can see they are predominantly baby boomers – the spoiled generation. Many of them became the “me” generation and learned to protest the establishment in the ‘60s and ‘70s Vietnam War and Black Panther era. They have grown old but still believe in causing trouble for society.

Now once you know their address, the mapping software can tell you the travel distance to get to where you were arrested from home; see below:

We Are Seneca Lake

Distribution of One-Way Distance travelled by arrestees

The arrestees have travelled, one-way, from 3 to nearly 3,000 miles (2,823 to be exact)! The average arrestee has driven 64 miles. Six arrestees have travelled more than the 400 miles shown on the chart.

The mode of this distribution (most frequent) is 30 miles, and that is driven by the preponderance of arrestees who have come from the area around Ithaca.

Collectively, they have travelled an amazing 36,625 miles, one way, to get to be arrested.

Where they are from, and why I have tagged them “The Ithacans” becomes more obvious when you look at their residenceds, starting with the chart below:

We Are Seneca Lake

Distribution of Crestwood Gate Arrestees by New York County, with out-of-staters designated at ‘NOT NY’

Here you have the arrestees separated by county of origin.  One classification is “NOT NY” for 18 out-of-state people, where Pennsylvania has a bare sprinkling of representation – most out-of-staters come from farther away. Tomkins County (Ithaca) stands out like a sore thumb, sourcing 39% of the total. Schuyler County follows at a mere 14%. One normally thinks of Schuyler County as Watkins Glen and Montour Falls, yet when you look at the Schuyler County residents mailing addresses they are predominantly Trumansburg (in Tompkins County) and Hector, Burdette and Cayutaville. The origin of the arrestees is the eastern part of Schuyler County, yet the gas-storage project they are so against is located in the western part of Schuyler County, and closest to Watkins Glen. Conclusion: Those living in eastern Schuyler County are part of “The Ithacans” group culturally. My apologies to the many non-Ithacans living there, such as my friend Steve.

Also following-up with larger proportions are Ontario County (Geneva) at 8%, and Chemung County (Elmira/Horseheads) with 4%.

Oddly, 18 arrestees come from addresses on Rachel Carson Drive in Ithaca.  When you check that out, the unpaved road ends at “hippie hollow” where you can see how those folks want all to live a “minimalist” lifestyle.

The preponderance of arrestees from Ithaca-area is better-shown when you define the areas-of-origin differently, as below:

We Are Seneca Lake

Distribution by Area of Origin

First, lump eastern Schuyler County arrestees in with those from Tompkins County (since the one area is effectively a bedroom community to Ithaca) and you find more than half from there—51%. Then lump the other counties surrounding Seneca Lake together as Yates, Ontario and Seneca Counties, and you get another 14%. Lump “All Other Locales” together and you have another 33%. The 1% left is the group from western Schuyler County, the actual location of the gas-storage project site!

Obviously, “The Locals” do not have the same level of concern outsiders have to get arrested over this relatively-small project. The Locals appear to be more interested in having the 8-10 year-round jobs added to the local economy, so their sons and daughters can stay in the area!

Now, many of the arrestee names have a familiar ring to them – we’ve seen them before. Thank you, that makes the data-collection that much easier! But, just how familiar are they getting to the Judge at Reading Town Court? With just a little more data-reduction effort we can find the number arrested multiple times, and you find that while 390 have been arrested once, 116 of those got arrested a second time! Then 40 of those got arrested a third time! …and 14 of those a fourth time! …and six of those a fifth time! …and three of those a sixth time! …and finally, two of those a seventh time!

The current ‘leaders’ in this race are Lyndsay Clark (age 56) of Wayland, NY, and Jodi Dean (age 53) of Geneva. In a seeming deviation from the trend you’d expect, neither is from Tompkins County or eastern Schuyler County. It is hardly surprising that Ms. Dean is part of the Howard and William Smith College’s Political Science Department.

Below is a chart showing the arrest frequency distribution by individual:

We Are Seneca Lake

Number of arrests by individuals

The repeat arrestees appear to be highly motivated attention seekers. Or again, is someone paying them? Either way, behavior follows rewards!  And questions immediately arise. Does the reward go up as the times arrested rises?

I wonder if anyone explained to them about the necessity to come back for court appearances, demonstrations of support in the middle of winter, and such? It turns out being an arrestee may not be the lark that some promoted it as. And, an arrest for Disturbing the Peace and Trespassing may just bar you from jobs other than “flipping burgers,” as they say.

Footnote: Some of the most memorable scenes from this saga involve videos of Sandra Steingraber and her followers standing outside the Reading Town Hall in snow, in 20 degree weather, while arrestees were appearing in Town Court. The Reading Town Hall was declared off-limits to WASL, except for those fitting into the courtroom, and traversing to and from it. This occurred after the first couple of instances when they were allowed inside, and the place was left in a mess. The Town also placed No Parking signs so that the road could not be plugged up with vehicles right near the Town Hall, and hinder or block ambulance or fire truck access. Overall, the Town’s leaders seemed to want to make it clear that the WASL group was not welcome in the style they would like to have become used to. Their actions imply “If they don’t pay taxes here, they can’t call this place home!”

One of the major revelations about the arrestees comes when you look into their politics, through matching voter registration names and addresses with the arrestee names, and the results of that is shown below in this chart:

We Are Seneca Lake

Distribution of Arrestee Voter Registrations by political party they designated

Whoa there! A whopping 60% of the arrestees are in the Democrat Party! Is Crestwood opposition a party plank? This further distinguishes The Ithacans from The Locals, where Republicans hold sway, and probably explains some of The Ithacans’ disdain for The Locals.

Now, you might think we had wrung all that we could out of the data, but no, there’s more! When you look at the distributions of “Newbie” arrestees to “Repeater” arrestees, over the last year, you see what any statistician would call a watershed change. See this final chart:

We Are Seneca Lake

Split of ‘Newbie’ versus ‘Repeater’ arrestees over past year

Notice the distinct change that occurred after arrest period 10? It looks like the well of fresh faces dried-up significantly! The 10th arrest-period in this chart was 8/26/15, and the 11th was 9/10/15.  So, during this two week period, something changed!

What could explain a change like this? Did a key recruiter drop out? Did someone let the cat out of the bag to the students that having an arrest like this might close the door to them on most white collar jobs? Did someone lower the price paid for a Newbie, or conversely, raise the price paid to a Repeater? Or, is the supply of useful idiots limited even when it is the Ithaca pool of talent? Perhaps an intrepid reporter can get the true scoop from someone at We Are Seneca Lake. Inquiring minds want to know!

Arrest period 17 is notable because it has all Repeaters – six individuals at that particular event.

Now, you might think I’ve typed myself out for this article, but no, there is still a bonus for you, that ties into the chart above.

The Lamron, the Geneseo SUNY student newspaper, published an article entitled “Civil disobedience training session addresses protest tactics” on March 25. It names two “Defenders” [of Seneca Lake] who came to recruit new blood for the protests. Either the message was garbled, or the translation was garbled, as it contains amazingly incorrect assertions by the Defenders, such as these:

“Plumlee added that Crestwood wants to store fracked gas in these caverns because they have an excess supply and are not making enough money selling it.

According to Plumlee, salt industries use a solution salt mining process to extract salt from the caverns. This process leaves shale with holes in it. When shale interacts with the methane, it can travel easily in the caverns, making them unstable.”

Obviously, there is some creative story-telling going on!  Crestwood is not a gas owner, and makes their business leasing storage space.  And methane in a “hole” travels easily because it is a hole, and does not make the cavities unstable!  The cavities are proven tight at higher than operating pressure to satisfy the FERC’s and NYS DEC’s oversight, permits and operating rules.

And, then there’s this which seems to support that the stories told around coffee in Watkins Glen about abusing the protesters as you drive by…..are true!

“If you’re up on site with us and somebody hangs out of their truck and gives you the finger and tells you to get a job—and you don’t do anything—it doesn’t feel like you’re acquiescing to their reality quite as much as it might in another situation. It’s because you’re standing with the most wonderful people that you’ll ever meet,” Plumlee said. “There’s something really special about the people who are brave enough to come out and stand up for Seneca Lake.”

I guess it is appropriate that she labels them “special people.” Many of The Locals had long suspected that.

So, this recruitment article, with the dearth of Newbies since last August, tells us Newbies’ are not coming running out of the bushes to be arrested, and active recruitment is occurring.

The recruiting trip told of in The Lamron must not have paid much, though, as none of the arrestees since then sport Geneseo addresses.

So, now you understand why I label the WASL group as The Ithacans. The typical arrestee is an aging female baby boomer from Tompkins County (and likely lives on Rachel Carson Drive in what is known as “hippie hollow”) and travels an average of 64 miles to get arrested.

We Are Seneca Lake

“Hippie Hollow” on Rachel Carson Lane outside Ithaca, NY (Google Earth)

How will this story end? It seems to be sputtering-out slowly, and Sandra Steingraber, arrested three times and a ring-leader initially, has been notably-absent from the scene for a long time. Earlier in this story, I noted how the Park Foundation is using Seneca Lake and the area wine industry as their prop for a display of self-righteousness and virtue signaling. Those of us who understand things at a deeper level will recognize these puppet-masters of the useful idiots as disciples of Saul Alinsky; anti-American, anti-capitalist, anti-gas leftists.

Pretty blunt, but that’s how I call it. 

Mr. Crea is a US Salt technical professional employee who is involved with their brinefield, wells management, and environmental work, but writes this as an interested citizen-observer, not as a spokesman for Crestwood or US Salt.

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29 thoughts on “We Are Seneca Lake: Recruiter of Useful Idiots

  1. http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/warns-rising-air-pollution-levels-worlds-cities-39060968

    Speaking of people riding around and flying around protesting natural gas which compared to other fossil fuels releases less air polutants and carbon dioxide emissions for years and years, there is something in the news right now about air pollution in cities all over the world.

    How the ithacans and antifracking natural gas pipelines and more movement got it all so completely upside down in such a short period of time is something else all right.

  2. People demanding their right of a safe and clean environment is totally American ….makes this country the greatest in the world .

    • And cleaning America up further is exactly what switching to propane and gas WILL DO!

      Burning propane instead of wood, and gas instead of fuel oil, that IS promoting a safe and clean environment.

      It is not only the ‘working for a living’ culture that has made America so GREAT. That was also dependent on having plentiful, ready-to-use, and cheap, ENERGY.

        • I’ll bet you like sausage, bacon and pork chops also, but don’t want to recognize that the making of same is a messy but very necessary business.

      • Dave: Congrats on an outstanding piece of of analysis and quantification! The results should be given to the Schuyler County legislators who support the Crestwood facility as well as Cuomo and his new DEC hatchet man, Basil Seggos who is from the rabid Riverkeeper and NRDC. I am certain that Seggos, with Der Fuhrer Cuomo’s blessing is not going to allow Crestwood to continue business. The killing of the Constitution Pipeline and high volume hydraulic fracturing bodes ill for the success of Crestwood to supply us with LPG. This 92 page U.S. Senate report http://www.epw.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/6ce8dd13-e4ab-4b31-9485-6d2b8a6f6b00/chainofenvironmentalcommand.pdf really drives home the point of who is behind all of this anti fossil fuel hysteria: the Rockefellers whose grandaddy, J.D., is really the one who started the fossil fuel industry. If anyone is “guilty” of the climate change hoax, it is the Rockefeller brats who should be under investigation by NY’s gestapo attorney general Schneiderman.

        • Thank you August! Glad you enjoyed it.

          How to take the raw data and do “technical data-reduction” was challenging in several cases here to create the charts, but overall a good learning experience.

  3. The “Salt” of the Earth are those of us who are seriously concerned about our safety, health and willing to protect ourselves and protest the usual, Industry rationale that they are not hurting us and then we find out 10 or 20 years later, all the harmful impacts….

  4. Good job Mr. Crea. We do not need Rockefeller or Soros money to tell lies, we need common sense and local jobs to support an honest tax base.

  5. I’m not sure why it is such a big deal that the average distance the fractivist traveled was 64 miles when the average distance the gasholes traveled from Houston Texas was 1600 miles.

    • Thee are something like 180 Crestwood employees that live closer to here than 64 miles! Drumming up antagonism toward Texas doesn’t fly!

      Besides, The Locals made the Crestwood management from Texas distinctly welcome! Remember the Legislature’s support?

      Conversely, The Locals have a definite disgust for outsiders coming in from far away to tell them how to do and think. The Ithacans are like a nosy, know-it-all, beer-swigging obnoxious neighbor, who wants to tell you, loud and repeatedly, the ‘right’ way to garden — HIS WAY!

      • Are you equally offended when “useful idiot” Tom Shepstone traveled 75 miles to Bradford County to stick his nose in “locals” business. Talk about a nosy, know-it-all, beer-swigging obnoxious neighbor.

        • Note that Shepstone blocked no one, and was not arrested. and probably LEFT money in town, rather than tried to impose costs. That makes him the sort of guest we welcome in The Glen.

          • The “guest” we got where a bunch of drunken “useless idiots” who puked and pissed their pants in the parking lots. If they left any money in town it was usually bail!!!

  6. Their student pool of protesters may have dried up when they realized an arrest record may jeopardize their student loans. Someone may have read the fine print.

  7. When people who are opposed to gas infrastructure travel an average of 64 miles to protest, it is made into an issue. However, when Tom Shepstone travels over 75 miles from Honesdale, Wayne County to appear at a hearing to support additional compression facilities in Herrick Township, Bradford County, this rag of a website applauds him. And he had the nerve while he was there to comment on the New York or New Jersey accents of some of our local attendees at the Herrickville hearing who actually DO LIVE in the vicinity of the proposed units. There are many of us in Bradford County who don’t appreciate a guy who lives in an area without fracking pushing more fracking on those of us who have to live with it. Natural Gas Now tries to put a pretty face on an ugly industry. I’m glad to see all the protests of natural gas infrastructure finally ramping up, thanks to the social conscience of many people, including a slew of baby boomers!

  8. If it makes sense, the the Ithaca and other anti fracking natural gas zombies will rail against it, no matter what. They are so poorly informed, that they don’t have any idea where the fuel for their SUV,s come from. How many of them do you suppose heat their homes with the good old natural gas?

    • Whether it be the making of fuel for their SUVs or gas to heat your house, or the sausage and bacon and eggs they like for breakfast, the hamburger for lunch, and the steak for dinner, there is a lot of “messy business” behind the production of things we appreciate and value.

      Rational people understand and appreciate that in most cases, it is done by “someone else, somewhere else”, so they don’t have to have a pig pen, chicken coop, and steer shed in the back yard. But those exist somewhere, and make jobs for people doing the dirty work, to make ‘clean’ end-products. Gas and oil is no different. Same goes for Solar and Wind energy-sources; they are only touted as ‘clean’ by people ignorant of the production supply-chains.

  9. And just what does any of the information and graphs and insults (very thinly veiled)that you have espoused here have to do with destroying the drinking water for 100,00 people that live on and around Seneca Lake?
    If you want to see what it is like to have a lake that is useless and undrinkable…take a ride up to Syracuse NY. We happen to have one of the most polluted lakes in the country thanks to corporations like Crestwood. They come in and make their money and leave town when it’s not profitable. We the people who can’t just move away are left with the mess.
    People who want to sit around and tell themselves stories about how the protesters at Seneca Lake are somehow not going to be affected by this and that we are all spoiled brats or some other name calling from your opinion above. Well I just have to say…nothing happens in a vacuum. If only the hazards could be contained within the area of Schuyler county that you speak of. But it cannot and the communities around the lake should all have a say. Since they will all be affected, as will generations to come.

    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on him not understanding it.” Upton Sinclair

    Unfortunately you can’t drink money.

    • Your entire argument rests on a false premise – that there’s anything to suggest Crestwood’s operation would threaten the lake. There’s no indication of that and, indeed, the experience of many years indicates the opposite.

      • No “false premise ” here, and that is why so many people are standing up to protect the drinking water of > 100,000 people. There is no substantive data that demonstrates that storage of gas in the crumbling salt caverns will not destroy the lake.

  10. That you spent your time developing this analysis demonstrates that you question the merits and safety of gas storage in the crumbling salt caverns by Seneca Lake. You have no right to assert that “distance travelled” to Crestwood makes any kind of substantial point. I pay taxes in this state and do not want any more lakes destroyed.

    • Perhaps you should explain that to all the tourists from far-away that come here to add phosphorus loading to the lake, and make the algae-blooms, as were observed last summer. The rush of tourists itself is ruining beautiful Seneca Lake.

      My questions about the merits and safety of gas storage were satisfied by the professional staff’s exhaustive review at the DEC.

      My perspective partly comes from having grown up as a farm-kid taking care of chickens, hogs, cattle and horses. Someone, somewhere, HAS TO DO THE ‘DIRTY WORK’!

      The point about ‘distance travelled’ is that The Locals, those closest to the Project Site, are seemingly the least-concerned, as indicated by willingness to be arrested in protest.

      The area-distribution of arrestees seems to tell two things: 1. There is a preponderance of people in Tompkins County (Ithaca/Trumansburg) who are open to persuasion that being arrested will make some point, and 2. In general, the farther-away from the project that you are, the easier it is to be recruited for this purpose.

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