Hudson Valley Parent

HVP September 2016

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 8 of 39 n Hudson Valley Parent 9 the market and take off for greener pastures. But Malick couldn't help but think of the children in the community who wouldn't be able to leave so easily. "When I became a mother, my primary focus became the health and safety of my children," she says. "But that soon expanded to become the health and safety of all the children in this community. It was because of them that we decided not to leave, and to get involved." Family affair Malick founded an advocacy group called Stop The Minisink Compressor Station, and it wasn't long until her children made signs, went to rallies and protests, at- tended public hearings, submitted testimonies, and wrote songs. "They're all musicians, and seeing them write and play music together is always one of my greatest joys," she says. The fight against the compressor station took its toll on Malick as a parent. For five years years, time that she'd usually spend on PTA meetings and helping her kids with their homework was instead spent fighting the compressor station. But along the way, her children learned to take responsibility for the world in which they live. They also learned about how the political sys- tem works while undertaking citizen science projects, as well as how to fight for social justice. Their involvement even led to larger life lessons. Before the com- pressor station, her children used to love riding All-Terrain Vehicles I am a Hudson Valley Parent Pramilla Malick: Fighting for clean air for her kids and yours By BRIAN PJ CRONIN S ixteen years ago, Pramilla Malick and her family bought a house in Minisink so that on the weekends they could leave New York City behind and enjoy Hudson Valley's great outdoors. They chose Minisink because it was in a pro- tected agricultural district, insuring that they would always be able to enjoy fresh, clean air and not have to worry about being hemmed in by industrial development. So it surprised her when, in 2011, she received a letter from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commis- sion informing her that the Millen- nium Pipeline Company would be building a natural gas compressor station right up the road from her. "I was really bewildered, because it was a complete violation of our local zoning laws," she says. "So my initial assessment was that some- body had made a grave error. All we had to do was make them aware of the zoning laws and then this would be rejected. I did not realize that we were going up against a billion dol- lar company and the entire fracking enterprise – and that we were sitting at a historic intersection between geopolitical interests and energy policy." Standing ground Because they were just week- enders, for Malick and her family – husband Ibrahim, a sales engineer for Cisco, and their four children who now range in age from 13 to 23 – the easy route would have been for them to simply put their house on around the valley. But learning about the environmental impacts of the station led her children to become aware of how they had an impact on the environment. "They realized that this fight wasn't just about the station, it was about fight- ing for a more sustainable way of living," says Malick. "So they stopped riding ATVs." Battling on The community lost its fight in court and the station was built, de- spite all the zoning regulations. But Malick continues to fight. As a result, she's helped to found a new group, Protect Orange County, to make sure a proposed natural gas power plant station never gets passed the plan- ning stages. "There's a public housing project literally right next to where they want to build it," she says. Part of the fight is to protect Orange County's pristine natural resources – the fabled "black dirt" agriculture – and its numerous vineyards. Later this month, she'll take that fight to voters as a write-in candidate for State Senate. Ultimately, the fight will still be about preserving the Hudson Valley's greatest resource: Its children. "I can make sure my kids get good quality food and health care," says Malick. "I can even make sure that my water is filtered. But I can't con- trol the air they breathe. That's my biggest challenge." Brian PJ Cronin is a freelance writer whose work appears through- out the Hudson Valley.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Hudson Valley Parent - HVP September 2016