40 residents of Conestoga & Martic townships, together with a local chapter of the American Indian Movement and supporters from across Lancaster County, PA have peacefully forced a drilling operation along the Conestoga River to stop working.
For Immediate Release:
40 Lancaster residents encircle & halt Williams Partners pipeline drilling operation at registered archaeological site along Conestoga River
40 residents of Conestoga & Martic townships, together with a local chapter of the American Indian Movement and supporters from across Lancaster County, PA have peacefully forced a drilling operation along the Conestoga River to stop working. The drilling team was hired by Williams Partners, the company attempting to build a 42” natural gas pipeline through Lancaster County, to obtain core samples at a depth of 150 feet from the area where they intend the pipeline to cross underneath the Conestoga River.
A crowd of 40 people began gathering in Safe Harbor Park along the Conestoga River at 9am. Dressed in hats, coveralls, gloves and boots against this morning’s cold, they marched together to the location of the drilling and encircled the 25ft. high rig, holding banners and shouting “Not Welcome in Lancaster County.” When they arrived, the drilling team immediately stopped work.
Lancaster residents vowed that they will not allow drilling to occur for the rest of the day, and possibly longer. Williams Partners has faced fierce opposition to the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline by Lancaster County farmers, residents, Native American groups and others. Pipeline opponents have vowed to protect archaeological sites, historic Lancaster County farmland, and their rural way of life. A majority of Conestoga residents oppose the pipeline. Today is the first time that Lancaster County residents have used civil disobedience to disrupt Williams Partners
The drilling is taking place in Conestoga Township, approximately 25 feet from the Conestoga River. Residents claims that the area has been registered with the state as a historically significant Native American cultural site (site number: #36LA15), and that the area should not be disturbed.
A crew contracted by Williams Partners has been drilling along the Conestoga River since Monday December 29th to obtain core-samples. As of Wednesday, the team had reached a depth of 93 ft. The residents gathered today have decided they do not want the Williams-contracted team to drill any further.
“Well over half of registered voters in Conestoga support an ordinance outright banning this pipeline. This action is an enforcement of the will of the people of Conestoga Township. The people of Conestoga Township are stopping this drilling today and any day in the future that Williams attempts it.” said Leslie Bunting of Conestoga.
“We as a community have unequivocally stated that Williams Partners is not welcome here. We intend to peacefully do everything we can at each stage of the process to stop Williams from destroying our rural way of life. ” - said Mark Clatterbuck of Martic, PA.
As of 9:30am, no police had arrived, and the residents on-site appeared to be settling in for the day with food, chairs, water, and orange vests. Interactions between workers & residents has been peaceful.
Visit LancasterAgainstPipelines.com for updates or follow @nolancpipelines on twitter