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Pipeline Under More Scrutiny As Community Forums Near


In the latest chapter of a long-simmering battle, anti-pipeline groups and Rensselear County legislators worked hand-in-hand to craft a local law that is designed to thwart pipeline development.

Written to protect freshwater supplies by regulating blasting, the law is seen as another tool in fight to stop the planned Northeast Energy Direct gas pipeline, which would run through the towns of Schodack, Nassau and Stephentown. The Rensselaer County Legislature unanimously approved the measure November 23rd. Republican County Executive Kathy Jimino signed it into law. "We have been following this from the start, and trying to do our best to convince FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, that this is not something that we want in our community, that there won't be a benefit to our communities, and it's even somewhat questionable who will receive the benefit. We're concerned about the impact on the environment, we're concerned about the impact on people's health, on safety, on their well-being."

There has been strong resistance against the line by local activists. One of the lead opponents is Save Burden Lake, which describes itself as a "grass-roots organization that formed to oppose the NED pipeline and compressor station that would be built 2,500 feet from the southern shore of Burden Lake."

The group's Terry Nord says area where the compressor station is being proposed is a residential, recreational community.  "Where there are approximately 500 homes within a mile and a half of the area. It is home to two summer camps with children attending, and I've read studies that report a very increase in incidents of asthma and respiratory issues and nosebleeds in children around compressor stations."

Nord feels the risks to health, environmental impact and property values are too high. "I don't think that Kinder Morgan has proven that there is a need. None of this gas is benefiting New York state. In fact, we're taking on all the risks of a pipeline infrastructure and getting no benefits at all from the gas itself."

Nord points to what she calls "a record of accidents" involving pipelines over the years, and lack of oversight by the companies that install them.  Asked about the pipeline last week during a visit to Rensselaer County, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer said "paint me skeptical."   "You can't be too careful. There's this controversy about the pipeline here in Rensselaer County, I'm skeptical of it, not so much because of terrorism. I wonder if it's needed, and I particularly wonder if it's gonna benefit New York residents or Rensselaer County residents."

Allen Fore, Vice President of Public Affairs for Kinder Morgan, encourages the public to attend one or all of three community forums for the proposed pipeline, where they can meet face-to-face with experts in various disciplines involved in the initiative.  "We'll have folks there form engineering, operations, environmental, land... it's a good chance for residents and others to talk one-on-one with the folks that will actually be working on building the project. We look forward to continuing the public dialog, it's really been ongoing now, for about two years in New York about our project."

  • The three Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, L.L.C. community forums for the proposed Northeast Energy Direct Project in New York :
  • December 15th at the Days Inn/Quality Inn in Schoharie, December 16th at the Franklin Central School in Franklin, and December 17th at Birch Hill Catering , Castleton-On-Hudson.
  • All three forums will run from 6-8 p.m. 

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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