A proposed gas pipeline expansion project — Spectra Algonquin’s Incremental Market (AIM) – is expected to go through Rockland County, cross the Hudson River and enter Westchester County near the Indian Point nuclear facility and then continue through Putnam County into Connecticut and through New England.
Project officials hope to win approval by January 2015 and following a 2-year construction period, the project should be ready to start up by December 2016.
"The Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) Project will offer a cost-effective, long-term solution for moving domestically abundant supplies into the Northeast to help meet the region's growing need for affordable, clean burning natural gas," Marylee Hanley, a spokesperson for Spectra Energy, told Patch.
The proposed pipeline would also go through the Peekskill-Cortlandt area.
"According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) natural gas pipelines are the safest form of energy transportation," Hanley said.
Several local groups, including the Community Watersheds Clean Water Coalition, Inc., disagree. Group members have voiced their concerns against the project citing "pipeline safety risks and health impacts."
Suzannah Glidden, Board director and treasurer for the Community Watersheds Clean Water Coalition, Inc., said natural gas pipelines and compressor stations are subject to leakage and explosions.
"Health impacts from compressor stations include nosebleeds, headaches, dizziness, skin rashes, respiratory, developmental and neurological problems, breast, kidney and liver cancer," Glidden said.
Experts from across the country who specialize in gas infrastructure, air quality and energy safety will address the public in two educational forums this week regarding pipeline safety risks and health impacts from Spectra Energy’s Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) project. The events are sponsored by the grassroots group, Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (SAPE).
More than 40 groups from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts are cosponsoring the events.
"Because of the health impacts and safety risks to people, pets and wildlife, there is the potential for grave illnesses and reduced property values and quality of life," Glidden told Patch.
Spectra Energy's Hanley told Patch that the company has delivered safe and reliable natural gas to this region for 60 years.
"Spectra Energy has an outstanding safety record, and the Algonquin Incremental Market Project will be built to meet or exceed all Federal safety requirements and regulations," she said.
The two Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (SAPE)'s forums will be held this week.
Gary Shaw of Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition will speak at the Montrose forum and Richard Kuprewicz of AccuFacts, a pipeline safety expert, will participate via Skype for both forums.
In addition to the issues related to air emissions, Marian Rose of Community Watersheds Clean Water Coalition said the expanded pipeline would "traverse the East-of-Hudson watershed" that supplies NYC and Westchester with critically needed drinking water.
"CWCWC deems this to be an unacceptable risk - adequate supplies of safe drinking water are more essential, in our opinion, than expanded supplies of natural shale gas destined for other regions," she said.
The first event will be held at Hendrick Hudson Library, 185 Kings Ferry Road in Montrose on Wednesday, Dec. 11. The second forum will be held on Thursday, Dec. 12 at the Mahopac Library, 668 Route 6 in Mahopac. Both are scheduled from 7 to 9 p.m.
For more information on the forums and the speakers, click here.
For more information on the Spectra Algonquin’s Incremental Market (AIM) project, click here.
For more information on what Community Watersheds Clean Water Coalition, Inc. has to say about the project, visit www.newyorkwater.org.
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