On February 14, 2014, I am joining women across the globe who are making their voices heard with One Billion Rising for Justice. There is a clear parallel between crimes and oppression inflicted on women and girls, everywhere in the world, and the disrespect and violence exhibited to the earth, to our environment.  We are not separate from our environments. We are dependent on our surroundings for life – therefore, violence against the earth is violence against ourselves.

I stand against the misdeeds of the corporate gas and oil industry, and I fight to defend my town of Minisink, NY, which is under siege. For two and a half years, we’ve been fighting against the notion of being a “sacrifice zone.” Despite lack of a final legal determination, Millennium Pipeline built a 12,600-horsepower gas compressor station in the middle of Minisink, with some homes as close as 600 ft away. It’s part of a massive pipeline system now bringing fracked gas from Pennsylvania to NYC and other points East. The station releases emissions which contain carcinogens, neuro-toxins, and hormonal disruptors. The venting began this Spring, and residents, adults and children, now experience disturbing health symptoms.

Minisink is in the middle of NY’s prized agricultural area, ‘The Black Dirt Region’; this is where much of the fresh and local food offered at NYC farmer’s markets is grown and produced. My small organic farm, and many others, are at risk as this fracked shale gas infrastructure quickly expands through the region.

On Christmas Eve day, and again on Christmas morning, Millennium Pipeline conducted unscheduled toxic gas releases from the Minisink Compressor Station. The incidents were reported by several residents living in the vicinity (there are 200 homes within half a mile of the facility).

The community is deeply upset and offended by this absolute lack of respect, but not surprised- this insulting behavior on the part of Millennium has become par for the course.

The residents of Minisink await their hearing at the U.S. Court of Appeals to overturn the original decision to approve the compressor station- to have it shut down and removed. Our landmark case has set several precedents already. If our community is successful, we will set a new legal precedent, nationally, enabling other communities like ours to better defend themselves from devastating effects of infrastructure projects. You can learn more about our case, and our story, through the many links and features of our new community-managed website, www.minisinkmatters.org.

We are currently asking that folks consider donating what they can to help us raise money for this final push- we desperately need help with legal fees, expert testimony, and air monitoring.

Thank you all, and here’s to a truly happy New Year for all of us,

Asha Canalos