Peekskill Officials, Residents Latest to Oppose Pipeline

A planned high pressure natural gas pipeline received anything but a warm welcome from residents and officials in the City of Peekskill last week.

Spectra Energy representatives were bombarded with questions and critical comments during a two-hour presentation at City Hall about the controversial project that would only run 2/10ths of a mile through Peekskill but would lie approximately 1,500 feet from the protective fence that surrounds the Indian Point nuclear power plants in nearby Buchanan.

Residents and Common Council members expressed concerns about the health threats of materials and emissions in the pipeline, along with safety of it, which in other parts of the country have experienced accidents and explosions.

“The people in this area have had enough,” said Cortlandt resident Bernie Vaughey, who has led a committee in Cortlandt opposed to the pipeline. “Enough is enough. We don’t need you here.”

One route of the pipeline in Peekskill would travel directly through a 74-unit former summer cabin community near Dickey Brook where homes are occupied from April through November.

The construction, which is scheduled to begin in Peekskill in April 2016, would start underneath the Metro-North railroad, and go below Route 9A and Pine Street before traveling through the campus of Indian Point. Spectra’s construction manager contended no private property would be used without the permission of the land owner.

“I know it’s going to be big and dirty and it’s going to be a big impact in the neighborhood,” said Councilwoman Kathleen Talbot.

The project is regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which supersedes local authority. It also must be approved by the federal Environmental Protection Agency and reviewed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Project Manager Tim O’Brien said public safety was the “top priority” of Spectra, claiming the design of the pipeline protected it from tremors like occurred a few months ago in the area from a minor earthquake.

“Most incidents in pipelines are caused by third party damage,” O’Brien said. “The levels of radon and natural gas are not harmful.”

The pipeline is the same that would be constructed in Verplanck and on Stoney Street in Shrub Oak, where residents have also publicly opposed.

FERC has scheduled a public hearing on the pipeline project September 11 starting at 5 p.m. at the Muriel Morabito Community Center in Cortlandt.

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