At least four protesters were arrested this afternoon on the Gansevoort Peninsula as they attempted to stop work on the massive natural gas pipeline that will eventually run from New Jersey, under the Hudson, and into the Meatpacking District. David Publow, seen lying atop the backhoe in the above photo, said in a statement before his arrest, "The community has protested this at every stage—through the FERC review, through community boards, t o the Mayor, through block associations—and it's fallen on deaf ears." Publow added, "I can't stand by while radon is introduced to New York City...and our government acts like the gas industry's apologist."
An NYPD spokeswoman confirmed that the four protesters, three female, one male, were arrested around 1:20 p.m. Three were charged with criminal trespass and obstructing governmental administration, and a fourth was also charged with reckless endangerment. A media contact for the activists insists that six people were arrested and detained at the 6th Precinct, but that information could not be confirmed.
According to the release, the protesters stopped work for around 90 minutes, as Park Police waited for the NYPD to arrive and forcibly remove the activists as they locked arms around the equipment. On September 6, activists prevented construction on the pipeline for two hours, and two were arrested, and Occupy Wall Street protesters have been protesting the construction site since mid-August.
For those who remain unfamiliar with the pipeline that will pump 800 million cubic feet of natural gas into the city every day, the 30-inch pipeline is being built by Spectra, whose plan had 17 different safety inadequacies that were part of its initial plan (the company claims it has since be revised). The cost of the project is around $1.2 billion, and is the first major natural gas pipeline to reach New York City in 40 years. A similar pipeline built in San Bruno, California exploded in 2010, killing four people and injuring 50 more.