The people behind the Constitution Pipeline have been very busy applying enormous pressure to landowners along the proposed route, continuing to insist that the pipeline is inevitable and that giving up and giving in is better than fighting. They have been aggressive, telling residents that if they don’t give Constitution what they want, Constitution will simply take them to court and take their land. At the same time they are engaging in a public relations campaign to convince regulators and naive members of the public that they are just nice folks.
They recently doled out a new set of “grants” that included money to the Richmondville Emergency Squad, which took the money despite the many residents in their town who will face seizure of their land and who will live near a pipeline built by a company with a terrible safety record. They took the money despite being in a town that has passed a formal resolution opposing the pipeline. They took the money despite being in a community that has overwhelmingly spoken out against the pipeline.
So why is taking the money a bad thing?
By taking the money they are helping the pipeline get built and are helping to ensure that their neighbors will lose their land, their property values and their safety. By taking the money they help Constitution pretend that they are just out to help the community while they exploit it. By taking the money they help Constitution get approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
The Iroquois Museum also took the money. Despite insisting they are dedicated to highlighting the culture and history of Native peoples, they conveniently forgot that having land taken away is a terrible part of Native history. They don’t seem to care that patrons and neighbors of the Museum will lose their land to Constitution. They also conveniently ignore the fact that not far from here the Onondaga Nation is waging a bitter battle against their own pipeline threat and helping activists in Schoharie County fight the very pipeline from whom the Museum has taken the money. They have blindly cashed a check from Constitution to fund a museum dedicated to indigenous peoples while indigenous peoples around the world are actively fighting exploitation by the same gas and oil companies that are behind the Constitution Pipeline.
It is often said that everyone has a price and so it seems that some in our community indeed have a price. I am deeply proud of those who do not have a price and who have said no to the bullying tactics of the pipeline company and no to the sleazy efforts of that company to buy community support with payments that represent a ridiculously tiny fraction of their enormous profits. I am deeply proud of those landowners who have stood up to protect the land of their parents and the land of their children. I am proud of every non-profit, fire company, emergency squad and struggling museum that has refused to sell out their neighbors. I am also committed to fighting an arrogant pipeline company that thinks all it takes for a community to surrender is a few dollars in one hand and the threat of eminent domain in the other.