Community Groups Oppose Fracked Gas Algonquin Pipeline Expansion
Capitalism vs. the Climate is part of a new coalition–the name is still being decided–to stop the expansion of the Algonquin fracked gas pipeline. CvC has filed for “intervenor status” against the proposed expansion, as have Fossil Free Rhode Island, Food & Water Watch, Sierra Club Lower Hudson Group and Better Future Project.
Video taken by Stan Heller last weekend in Voluntown, CT at the coalition’s first planning summit.
April 9, 2014
Community Groups Oppose Algonquin Pipeline Expansion Project
Groups from Four States File for Intervenor Status before FERC
Brooklyn, NY – Food & Water Watch, Sierra Club Lower Hudson Group and Better Future Project joined with community groups across four states, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, to call on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to deny approvals for Spectra Energy’s Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) Expansion Project.
A meeting was held in the Town of Cortlandt, NY last night and many stakeholders raised significant concerns about the project’s impacts on the environment and the risks to health and safety of residents in the region. The project would cut across environmentally sensitive areas, under the Hudson River, near an active quarry in the West Roxbury section of the City of Boston, and through a number of major watersheds and public lands.
“Spectra Energy is proposing a spectacularly dangerous project that would put an additional 42 inch pipeline under the Hudson River, near Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant,” said Alex Beauchamp, Northeast Director for Food & Water Watch. “The project threatens New York City’s water supply and communities in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. We suspect that Spectra’s real aim is to reach the export market.”
According to its application, Algonquin Gas Transmission LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Spectra Energy Partners LP, is requesting FERC authorization to: (i) “construct, install, own, operate and maintain approximately 37.6 miles of take-up and relay, loop and lateral pipeline facilities and related facilities in New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts; (ii) modify six existing compressor stations in New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island resulting in the addition of 81,620 horsepower (“hp”) of compression; (iii) modify 24 existing metering and regulating (“M&R”) stations and construct three new M&R stations…” (FERC Docket No. CP14-96, Application filed February 28, 2014)
Susan Van Dolsen, a co-founder of Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (SAPE) said, “The AIM project does not meet the requirement of ‘public convenience and necessity’ and therefore the expansion should not be permitted by FERC or the state regulatory agencies. This project promotes fracking; the $1 billion price tag should instead be used to fund renewable energy projects that create long-term economic benefits for the entire region.”
The groups are urging FERC to include the environmental impacts resulting from fracking as well as cumulative impacts of the project, as the pipeline will deliver “fracked” gas from Marcellus Shale gas fields. They also call on FERC to look at the potential impacts of exporting gas overseas. The project will expand capacity to a pipeline, which connects to the Maritimes and Northeast pipeline that leads directly to Canadian Liquified Natural Gas (“LNG”) export and proposed LNG export facilities.
“It’s simply irresponsible to expand the Algonquin Pipeline when we know that our continued addiction to fossil fuels is exacerbating the climate crisis and putting our safety at risk. What’s worse, we suspect that an out-of-state company is building the pipeline primarily to export gas to other nations. We can export the gas, but the leaks, the explosions, and the destructive climate impacts will be felt right here in Massachusetts,” said Craig Altemose of Better Future Project.
Bill Meyer of the Sierra Club Lower Hudson Group stated, “We also oppose this proposed expansion because of the increased risk to the health of our members in Rockland, Westchester, and Putnam Counties, and because of the risk of explosion as the pipeline crosses two high voltage electric lines in the vicinity of Indian Point’s spent fuel pools. Instead, we encourage and support New York State’s rapid transition to clean, renewable energy, such as wind, water and solar power.”
Algonquin Gas Transmission LLC, an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Spectra Energy Partners LP, filed its application with FERC at the end of February, and the agency gave the public until April 8, 2014 to submit comments on the Notice of Application and to file for intervenor status. By intervening, individuals and groups can challenge any FERC approval later. The other local groups filing to intervene are Capitalism vs the Climate, Connecticut and Fossil Free Rhode Island. Many other stakeholders filed motions to intervene, including Community Watersheds Clean Water Coalition, Conservation Law Foundation, Riverkeeper, the Village of Ossining and the New York Attorney General.