The Northern Westchester Examiner

Officials Join Forces to Bash Pipeline at Peekskill Rally

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Representatives from municipalities directly affected by a proposed expansion of natural gas pipeline banded together Saturday in Peekskill to vehemently oppose the controversial project.

“This pipeline is frightening. It is not safe for our communities,” said Courtney Williams, a cancer research scientist and member of Concerned Peekskill Residents (CPR).

“This pipeline is bad for animals, wetlands, humans, particularly for children and the elderly,” said Nancy Vann of Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion. “We all stand together. We’re a family of cities and towns.”

The Algonquin Pipeline Project proposed by Spectra Energy Corporation would run from Stony Point, under the Hudson River, through Peekskill, Cortlandt, portions of Yorktown and into Southeast, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The proposal, which is being reviewed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), would remove an existing 26-inch gas pipeline and replace it with a 42-inch one.

State Assemblywoman Sandra Galef (D/Ossining) was the highest ranking official to appear at Saturday’s rally at Pugsley Park. She said what was particularly disturbing about Spectra’s plan was the siting of the pipeline under extreme high pressure right next to the Indian Point nuclear power facility in Buchanan just1,500 feet away and its 40 years of spent nuclear fuel rods.

“I think we’re all here to say no we have energy right here. I think we have to continue to put the pressure on. Don’t give up,” Galef said.

During a FERC public hearing in Cortlandt last month, opponents of the pipeline presented FERC with a petition containing more than 26,000 signatures. They were countered by about 200 union laborers from Westchester and Rockland counties clad in bright orange shirts who supported the project for the jobs it would create.

Several speakers at the rally in Peekskill contended Spectra wasn’t being forthcoming with vital details about its plans.

“I think they know what’s in these pipes and what it will do to our communities,” Williams remarked. “I believe Spectra is lying to us when they say this pipeline is safe. Produce the data that will allow us to sleep at night.”

“Spectra is playing games with us,” maintained Cortlandt Councilwoman Debbie Costello. “We can’t trust them. We have to keep fighting them.”

Yorktown Councilman Vishnu Patel, a retired IBM scientist who has been the most vocal opponent of the pipeline on his town board, the health and safety risks from the pipeline are alarming.

“We can’t afford to put this in the air, in the water and in the ground,” Patel asserted. “I promise to keep up the fight that I started in June. Nobody is going to buy my vote.”

Other speakers included Peekskill councilmen Joe Torres and Darren Rigger, Cortlandt Councilman Seth Freach, congressional candidate Chris Day and State Senate hopeful Justin Wagner, who lambasted his opponent, Yorktown Councilman Terrence Murphy, for voting to send a resolution to the state Legislature seeking permission to alienate parkland for the pipeline.

“This really is about the future of our children. This is about the future of our communities,” Wagner said. “We have to continue to fight this. Only by speaking out can we make a difference.”





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