Protect Farms from Fracking: Protect Our Food: Why Minisink Matters to YOU

Posted by & filed under Action, Benefit/Fundraiser, Social, Solidarity, Special Event, Teach-In.

Date(s) - 10/26/2013
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm


Union Square
14th St. & Broadway
New York

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Protect Farms from Fracking: Protect Our Food: Why Minisink Matters to YOU

Facebook Event Page:

Youtube Video – Save The Black Dirt Region –

Save Minisink & The Black Dirt Farms!

We have a great event planned with speakers, musicians, face painting for kids, and a giant, sung storybook telling the story of the Black Dirt Region. Speakers include Eve Ensler, John Feal, Angela Monti Fox, as well as affected farmers, food distributors, chefs and restaurateurs.

It’s time to connect the dots between fracking infrastructure and our food supply. On Saturday, October 26th, join us to protect our NY State food shed. We’ll be focusing on a very special place called The Black Dirt Region. A unique, extremely fertile agricultural area in Orange County, NY where many of the state’s greenmarket farmers live.

This particular region is at risk from a fracked gas COMPRESSOR STATION in Minisink, NY. Additional gas infrastructure, including a new gas-fired power plant and pipeline enlargements are also planned. A lawsuit against the project awaits a court date.

We must support Minisink farmers and residents, many of whom include 9/11 first responders, who moved to the area for its “fresh clean, country air.” Minisink is but one of the first New York communities feeling the effects of shale gas infrastructure–but it won’t be the last if we don’t stop this kind of build out: 29 similar projects are planned for NYS. What’s happening in Minisink could be happening across the state if the drillers get their way.

Shale gas infrastructure emits toxins and methane, which impacts the health of residents in the immediate area, increases climate change, and could impact our food supply. The VOCs released create ground-level ozone, which can severely impact crop yield. It’s unclear yet how these toxins could affect livestock and produce, but early reports from areas out west are of concern.

Here’s some in-depth information about the issues:

What Is The Black Dirt Region?

Located just over an hour away from New York City, in Orange County, NY, the Black Dirt Region is a famously fertile valley of dark, rich glacial till, also known as ‘prime muck soils.’
This region is the closest significant food-shed to the greater metropolitan area, providing fresh and local food to markets, chefs, and restaurants throughout the city’s five boroughs. This region also sits atop the Wallkill River Aquifer, which contributes to NYC’s drinking water supply.

The highly-prized Black Dirt Region is anchored by the five towns of Minisink, Wawayanda, Warwick, Chester, and Goshen. Once known predominantly as ‘Onion Country,’ the Black Dirt
Region, over the last few decades, is now home to a wide variety of field crops, orchards, vineyards, cattle farms and dairies- with Black Dirt farmers particularly expanding into ‘niche’
sectors such as specialty and artisanal cheeses and wines, and organic and heirloom produce.

Where Is Minisink & Why Can’t I Find It On A Google Map?

Located on the Western periphery of the Black Dirt Region, Minisink has a long-standing and historic tradition of agricultural progress. Minisink is a township consisting of three smaller
hamlets: Johnson, Unionville, and Westtown- (these specific locations are recognized by google rather than the township of Minisink).

What Is At Risk in Minisink?

Minisink is under siege by the oil and gas industry, as the unwilling hosts of a new gas compressor station, and two gas metering stations, all of which presently release emissionstoxins
produced by the fracking industry- directly into Minisink’s atmosphere. Though the compressor station has only been on-line since May of 2013, numerous residents have experienced troubling and serious health symptoms already. In addition to posing grave safety and health dangers to the residents of Minisink, these facilities, and the emissions they produce, put local farms- and a local agricultural-based economy- in direct
jeopardy. Farmers are concerned that pollutants from the facility will affect their ability to continue to raise a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as grass-fed and organic meats.
The potential build-up of toxins in the soil and local well-water, additionally, threatens organic certification. Low-frequency vibration from the facility can affect honeybees and cause stress on animals. All of this spells disaster for the small, family-run farms in Minisink, and the permanent jobs they create and sustain.

After over two years of dispute with Millennium Pipeline, through a process facilitated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the compressor station was approved by a slim margin, and quickly put into service. However, Minisink residents are challenging this case at the
U.S. Court of Appeals; the case is expected to be heard in 2014.

How Does This Affect The Black Dirt Region At Large?

Unfortunately, this is just the beginning of the plans for rapid industrialization that the oil & gas industry has for the Black Dirt Region. The Minisink Compressor station would serve as an
industrial ‘hub’ for several new facilities to connect to in the next couple of years, if it is not shut down. One such facility, already in advanced stages of approval, is the CPV Valley Power Plant, just seven miles away from Minisink in the town of Wawayanda, in the heart of the Black Dirt Corridor. This gas-fired plant would release an anticipated ten times the amount of pollutants as the Minisink Compressor Station.

Why Is Minisink’s Battle in So Important To The State, And To The Nation?

Minisink’s case at the U.S. Court of Appeals will set a new legal precedent in terms of communities’ rights vs. the corporate interests of the oil and gas industry. Already, Minisink has broken four legal precedents, and the community is now poised to make history again at the federal judiciary level. It could either go remarkably well, and Minisink could
be the first community in the nation to have a compressor station shut down and physically removed, thereby setting an incredible precedent for the state, in fact a national precedent; or it will be an unconscionable failure to protect and defend the people, enabling the industry to place
industrial facilities of this magnitude in agricultural and residential areas across the country, even if corporate fraudulence is exposed, and viable alternatives exist. It’s one or the other, there is no in-between in this scenario.

How Can I Learn More, And Get Involved?

Please visit us at, where you will find further information on the history of our struggle, our legal documents and pending federal court case, old and new press releases, links to video documentation, and media coverage over the last two years. We are happy to accept contributions toward our efforts at the “donate” tab provided on our website. You can also follow us on Facebook or Twitter. For general inquiries, please email

We appreciate your interest and support in this critical struggle.

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