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James Cromwell, activists blast planned Orange County pipeline

Environmental advocates, including actor James Cromwell, want to shoo off the construction of a natural-gas pipeline through Orange County to protect bald eagles in its path.

Cromwell — who starred in “L.A. Confidential,” “Star Trek: First Contact” and “Babe” — and 40 other protestors chanted “The eagle has landed!” outside the Thurgood Marshall Courthouse in lower Manhattan Tuesday.

Inside, the group’s attorney argued before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals that the discovery of a bald eagle’s nest along the path of the 7.8 mile-long extension of the Millennium Pipeline should halt the final stages of construction of the controversial gas line.

Cromwell, 77, insisted it goes beyond the eagles.

“They’ve violated air and water quality standards,” he charged. “They’ve cut down Shagbark trees. They violated an Indian burial ground. They basically did everything wrong they could do.”

The Oscar-nominated actor, from Warwick in Orange County, has long opposed the pipeline.

Last month, he was tossed from a meeting about it by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in Washington, D.C.

“FERC doesn’t work!” he yelled, before the agency approval of the $ 900 million project.


Cromwell warns that increased pipeline placement could displace bald eagles and create other moral and ecological catastrophes.

(Tom Brakefield/Getty Images)

FERC ruled that the New York Department of Environmental Conservation surrendered its power to make a decision regarding water quality by the site because it waited more than one-year to issue a decision.

Cromwell has also been arrested and served three days in jail for refusing to pay a $ 375 fine for participating in a sit-in near the site of the pipeline.

“Jail was quite an experience,” he said.

On Tuesday, Millennium Pipeline lawyers denied that the endangered birds are currently nesting. That season doesn’t begin until January so construction should begin right now so as not to interfere with their habitat, they argued.

Cromwell and other activists said that was a lie.

“There’s been a lot of Millennium duplicity and mendacity like this,” he charged.

A decision from the three judge appeal panel is expected within the next few days.

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