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Officials Want Pipeline Construction Halted Pending Independent Study

Dana Levenberg expresses her opposition to the Spectra Algonquin Pipeline in Buchanan.
Dana Levenberg expresses her opposition to the Spectra Algonquin Pipeline in Buchanan. Video Credit: Daily Voice
Assemblywoman Sandy Galef expresses her opposition to the Spectra Algonquin pipeline in Buchanan.
Assemblywoman Sandy Galef expresses her opposition to the Spectra Algonquin pipeline in Buchanan. Photo Credit: Sam Barron

BUCHANAN, N.Y. -- Standing outside Indian Point nuclear power plant at St. Patrick's Church Cemetery in Buchanan and near the site of the proposed Spectra Algonquin pipeline, elected officials and concerned residents echoed Gov. Andrew Cuomo's call for an independent study of the pipeline's potential impacts.

Assemblywoman Sandy Galef (D-Ossining) led the press conference, flanked by Assemblyman David Buchwald (D-White Plains), municipal officials and members of organizations dedicated to opposing the pipeline.

Galef and others said they did not want construction to begin until the study was completed, signing a letter that was being sent to FERC.

"I know how important independent analyses and second opinions can be, especially in circumstances in which two large energy production systems are intersecting," Galef said. "I am thankful for the governor's concern."

The pipeline was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in March 2015. An appeal filed by the Town of Cortlandt in January was denied.

Peekskill Councilwoman Kathleen Talbot said people are beginning to take the concerns of the pipeline's opponents seriously.

"We are starting to make an impact," Talbot said.

Buchwald said he remained optimistic that officials at FERC would take action if the independent study found safety concerns with the pipeline.

Last week, Cuomo sent a letter expressing to FERC expressing his concerns about the pipeline in light of recent incidents at Indian Point including plant shutdowns and a radioactive tritium leak and said several state agencies would conduct a risk review of the pipeline.

"Until this independent safety risk analysis is completed, we ask the FERC stay and reconsider its prior determination to grant a certificate of public convenience and necessity to ensure that the health and safety of all New Yorkers is adequately protected," Cuomo wrote.

Spectra has said in statements that the pipeline will be constructed, operated and maintained to meet or exceed federal safety standards and regulations. In two separate incidents, 11 people were arrested for protesting the pipeline.

The pipeline will carry gas from Pennsylvania to New England. It runs through Stony Point, under the Hudson, and through parts of Westchester, including Cortlandt.

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