March 6, 2013 —
Three men were arrested on trespass charges for trying to block progress in the development of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline loop around Milford. Members of the Eastern Pike Regional Police Department made the arrest. Police believe that Newburg, NY resident Stephen Olympia, 23, was perched in a tree high above the path of the pipeline for three days, blocking attempts of tree-clearing in the area. Along with the trespass count, he was also charged with resisting arrest.
Olympia and another man, Middletown, NY resident Richard Henning, were also charged with trespassing at the same location a week earlier.
Milford resident Alex Lotorto, 26, was charged for climbing a tree and refusing commands to come down. However, he turned himself in the next morning and also faces trespass and resisting arrest.
Lotorto issued a press release on March 4, saying that Milford residents who have been fighting the pipeline for more than a year feel that “direct action against the company is now their only option after being shut out or ignored by regulators.”
The press release said, “a previous tree sit in the area halted work for nine days. Last week, residents deployed a one-day tree sit and pledged to use civil disobedience to prevent any more trees from being felled. This week, tree crews arrived again but were prevented from working by the presence of residents along the road.”