The Northern Westchester Examiner

Pipeline Foes Call on Obama to Halt Construction over Safety

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A grassroots coalition group is calling on President Obama to direct the stoppage of construction of the controversial natural gas pipeline following a recent change in the plan near the Indian Point nuclear power plants in Buchanan.

Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (SAPE), comprised of residents and elected officials in the tri-state region, has maintained an October 28 decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to allow Spectra Energy to tie the new 42-inch diameter AIM pipeline into more than 50-year-old pipes poses “urgent safety and national security risks.”

SAPE contends FERC’s original approval of the project in March 2015 did not include a contingency plan if any of the proposed drilling techniques failed, as apparently is the case with Spectra unable to place the larger pipeline through a hole drilled under the Hudson River.

“This is a classic bait and switch,” said Suzannah Glidden of SAPE. “Spectra applied for approval of a new 42-inch diameter pipeline and now that they cannot get the huge pipe under the Hudson River, they sought and were approved to use a different route and pipeline infrastructure that were not evaluated for this project. A corporation’s profits must not take precedence over public safety.”

The significant operational modifications should require a risk assessment and analysis of safety procedures, according to SAPE, which pointed out a letter from Entergy, owners of Indian Point, to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) indicated the existing 26-inch pipeline was only intended to remain in place as a backup.

“A single malfunction of a valve could over pressurize the existing lines,” Entergy stated in its October 25 correspondence.

SAPE would like Obama to get involved before the pipeline starts sending large quantities of fracked gas at high pressure, which was initially scheduled to begin this month.

“FERC’s approval is a flagrant case of a federal commission favoring industry while dismissing the risks to the 20 million people within the 50-mile impact radius of Indian Point,” said Susan Van Dolsen, co-founder of SAPE.


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