A group of Pike County residents are spending President’s Day locked to a gate in the Delaware State Forest. The gate is used by pipeline workers clear cutting trees for the Tennessee Gas Pipeline northeast upgrade construction. The new Loop 323 will stretch from Milford, PA to New Jersey. Milford resident Alex Lotorto is one of the activists locked to the fence, because, he said, the impact of the pipeline will be detrimental to the area’s economy.
“Milford is a town that’s in the Poconos, our economic engine is from tourism, recreation, and real estate. The recreation includes hunting, fishing, and river recreation, I’m a sportsman, I hunt and fish,” said Lotorto.
The goal of the civil disobedience is to stop clear cutting work for at least one day. So, Lotorto and a New Jersey resident planned to stay locked to the gate until the end of the work day. As of mid-afternoon, the demonstration had attracted some supporters, news crews and gas company officials, but no police. This is one of several actions planned to try and slow Tennessee Pipeline construction upgrades.
“I believe that our rural heritage is under attack for the energy policy of a president, and a Congress and Senate that believes we’re a resource colony for their political gain and Pennsylvania deserves better,” said Lotorto.
As the two remained at the gate, residents from throughout the impacted areas of Pennsylvania and New Jersey rallied at George Feighner's home across from Milford in Montague, NJ. The 86-year-old Mr. Feighner property was taken by eminent domain following the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s notice to proceed on clear cutting. Feighner is in the midst of legal proceedings to stop it.