WEST HEMPFIELD TOWNSHIP, LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. --Protesters in Lancaster County continued to rally against a natural gas pipeline on Saturday.
The protests follow recent rallies against the construction of the Atlantic Pipeline located at 1255 Prospect Road in West Hempfield Township.
On Monday, 23 people from 'Lancaster Against Pipelines' were taken into custody. State Police in Lancaster say an additional six people, including a Catholic priest, were arrested Saturday.
According to a press release from the Lancaster County District Attorneys Office, police gave 4 male and 2 female protesters a warning to leave the area, however after a few minutes they did not leave.
Pennsylvania State Police say they arrested the six protesters who have been identified as:
- William Pickard, 70, of New York
- Ann Dixon, 54, of Philadelphia
- James Hannigan, 25 of New York
- Elliot Martin, 25, of New York
- Karen Davis, 49, of Lancaster
- Sean McCreight, 29 of New York
The release states that those individuals were cooperative and their interaction with the police was peaceful. They were charged with defiant trespass and released.
Protesters say it's important to recognize those who were arrested, and to fight for what they say is their right to religious freedom.
"To stand against injustice no matter what, is what I think residents of this country are called to do," said Melinda Harnish Clatterbuck, co-founder of Lancaster Against Pipelines. "Everyone out here should be out here saying... I should be doing something about this... this is not okay," she added.
Williams Partners released this statement about the protests:
"We respect the rights of people to protest, but our focus remains on constructing this important, federally-approved infrastructure in a safe, efficient manner. We will continue to coordinate with federal, state and local authorities to ensure protestors and our employees are protected during the construction process.
This vital project will deliver economic growth and help millions of Americans gain access to affordable Pennsylvania-produced, clean-burning natural gas. In fact, the construction of this project is resulting in a $1.6 billion increase in economic activity and directly or indirectly supporting about 8,000 jobs. That is why this project has received tremendous support from thousands of Pennsylvanians who recognize the value of energy infrastructure to the economic future of the state. Sufficient access to affordable natural gas supplies keeps our energy costs low and supports thousands of good-paying jobs, in addition to helping America lead the world in combating climate change.
While there are some who broadly challenge the value of natural gas, the truth is the growth in natural gas production has helped the U.S. become more energy independent, while reducing its carbon emissions more than virtually any other nation in the world. Thanks to American-made natural gas, U.S. CO2 emissions have plummeted to 20-year lows, providing the reliability and flexibility need to supplement the growth of more renewable energy sources."
The Mariner 2 East Pipeline that is currently under construction will carry natural gas through parts of Cumberland, Dauphin, and Lebanon counties.
The Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline will transport natural gas to the Mid-Atlantic and Southern States and cuts through Lancaster County.