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Westchester Legislator Calls For New U.S. Hearing On Gas Pipeline

County Legislator Peter Harckham
County Legislator Peter Harckham Photo Credit: File

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- County Legislator Peter Harckham (D-North Salem) has made a formal request to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to suspend the approval process for the expansion of the Algonquin natural gas pipeline.

The pipeline bisects the 1,500-acre Blue Mountain Reservation in Peeskill, part of the Westchester County Parks System.

Harckham is chair of the Board of Legislators Parks, Planning and Housing Committee. The committee has been monitoring the Algonquin Pipeline approval process.

On Tuesday, March 3, FERC granted a “certificate of public convenience and necessity” to Algonquin Gas Transmission to expand the existing pipeline. Harckham is requesting a rehearing of the application because it is contrary to the requirements of the Clean Water Act, the Natural Gas Act, the National Environmental Policy Act  and its implementing regulations, and the order is not required by the public convenience and necessity.

Among the inadequacies in the FERC report and approval which Harckham details in the attached request to intervene are:

  • Lack of a New York State Water Quality Certificate which the Clean Water Act expressly requires prior to the issuance of licenses or permits
  • The Environmental Impact Statement didn't provide sufficient information to allow adequate public review and comment
  • By not adequately considering the numerous adverse impacts of the pipeline project, FERC failed to demonstrate, as the Natural Gas Act requires, that on balance the projects benefits outweigh the detriments.

“I urge our colleagues at the federal level to take a step back from this fast-tracked approval process," said Harckham. "There are many unanswered questions and concerns from municipal and regional officials as well as the public. The hasty approval of this certificate to a big natural gas corporation disregards a number of procedural safeguards that exists to ensure the safety and health of our residents."

Here is a link to a video tour the county board's Parks, Planning and Housing Committee took with county officials at Blue Mountain Reservation, natural gas pipeline site.

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