Eight days and 90 miles later, the last leg of Water Walk for Life hugged the eastern shore of the Hudson River on Saturday, March 11.
The walk protested two controversial projects in the Hudson Valley — the proposed Pilgrim Pipeline and the Spectra Energy Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) gas pipeline expansion, which is under construction.
The 178-mile Pilgrim project would carry crude oil and petroleum products in two parallel pipelines between Albany, NY and Linden, NJ.
The 1,129-mile Spectra project, which stretches from New Jersey to Massachusetts, includes replacing a 26-inch diameter pipeline with a 42-inch pipeline under the Hudson River, about 105 feet south of the Indian Point nuclear power plan in Buchanan.
On the morning of March 11, the walk kicked off at the Cortlandt Metro-North Station, stopped at Indian Point, then ended at Peekskill Landing Park.
The participants were led by Jun-san Yasuda, a Japanese Buddhist nun who established the Grafton Peace Pagoda in upstate New York in 1993. Yasuda was joined by Buddhist monks, Native Americans, and assorted activists who chanted prayers, played drums, and carried signs.
Outside Indian Point, participants placed origami cranes on the ground in remembrance of the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on March 11, 2011.
Three months ago, Indian Point’s owner, Entergy, announced that the plant’s two functioning reactors will shut down in 2020 and 2021. That decision followed a decade of sustained opposition to relicensing the reactors, which began operation in 1974 and 1976.
On the Peekskill waterfront, north of Indian Point, participants held a Native American water ceremony that concluded with tossing tobacco into the Hudson.
The Water Walk for Life started in Carteret, NJ on March 4, then headed north into Rockland County during its first six days. On the seventh day, March 10, participants joined a march on Washington, DC that protested the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Tim Lamorte is an award-winning journalist who has spent almost two decades documenting life along the Hudson River.