29 Arrested at Cricket Valley Protest

Protestors chained themselves to a tractor for high hours.

Photo Credit: Photo Courtesy of Jess Mullen

In the early morning hours of Saturday, November 16, a demonstration at the Cricket Valley Energy Center in Dover led to the arrest of twenty-nine people. The individuals, part of a group of concerned residents called Stop Cricket Valley Energy, have been protesting at the site every week for over a year Located at 2241 Route 22 in the Town of Dover, Cricket Valley Energy Center is an approximately 1,100 megawatt natural gas-fired power plant. Construction to the site is currently scheduled to be complete next year.

According to a statement from the the Dutchess County Sheriff’s office, “a large group of protesters gained access to the facility grounds, with most of the group blocking the entrance while a smaller group climbed up onto smoke stacks on the property. The protesters’ actions resulted in a large law enforcement response from both agencies, at which time arrangements were made to remove the protesters from the private property. As a result, twenty-nine of the protesters refused to follow dispersal orders and were subsequently taken into custody at the scene.” The State Police and Dutchess County Sheriffs were assisted at the scene by the Dutchess County Department of Emergency Response and Mobile Life, and no injuries were reported from the incident.

The majority of the subjects are accused with blocking the entrance to the facility and trespassing on private property. Ten of the protesters chained themselves to a tractor for eight hours, blocking the entrance to the facility and disrupted operations. The individuals charged are Amanda Sisenstein (38), Janet Apuzzo (53), Gabriel Reichler (21), Jonathan Keller (67), Dinala Wrightman (70), Mark Dunlea (65), Kim Fraczek (44), Alyson Halpert (28), Thomas Ross (62), Kristie Schmidt (59), Lewis Chiu (44), David Esposito (38), Lucinda Caroll (18), Nancy Nguyen (25), William Kish (54), Melissa Hoffmann (20), Laurie Cotter (63), Robert Friedman (30), Maggie Berke (21), James Gordon (61), Sandra Radoff (68), Margaret Lewis (77), Jeanne Bergman (62), and Susan Bloom (59). Following their arrests, the individuals were released with appearance tickets and are due in Dover Town Court on charges of trespassing, a violation.

In addition to the blockade at the facility’s entrance, four protesters scaled the 275 smoke stacks and occupied them for the majority of the day to further disrupt operations. Benjamin Schwartz (42), Monica Hunken (38), George Elliot (20), and Christopher Iversen (53), were charged with Criminal Trespassing, a misdemeanor. According to the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office, “the charges described are merely accusation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”