New Independent Report on Environmental Impact of Proposed Gas Pipeline Expansion in County Park

Westchester County Board Of Legislators Labor, Parks, Planning & Housing Committee (LPPH) has received an independent report on environmental impact of proposed gas pipeline expansion in Blue Mountain Reservation.

FCWC Program Director, Alicia Molloy, reading FCWC's position statement against the Spectra Energy project.
FCWC Program Director, Alicia Molloy, reading at DEC hearing FCWC’s position statement against the Spectra Energy project.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo set a positive precedent this past year when he passed the New York State ban on fracking – we must not trade away a healthy environment for natural gas production. However, currently our environment is under threat of being compromised by the Houston, Texas-based Spectra Energy Company.

Spectra Energy has proposed an expansion project for the Algonquin natural gas pipeline; the proposed construction will replace and widen the existing pressurized gas pipe, built in the 1950s, from a 26″ diameter pipe to 42″ pipe. In the proposal for the project, there is planned construction activity to go through the County-owned park, Blue Mountain Reservation.

A Draft Environmental Impact Statement has been completed by Spectra Energy, but the Westchester Board of Legislators felt that it was lacking in many respects. Fortunately, Dr. Erik Kiviat, from the non-profit institute Hudsonia produced a new, independent environmental assessment of potential impacts to Blue Mountain Reservation was completed to find out the truth behind this proposed project.

On January 14 2015, the Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) Labor, Parks, Planning & Housing Committee (LPPH) met to receive and discuss this new report. The conclusion of the report states, “The proposed expansion will be highly destructive to wetlands on and near the ROW [pipeline’s right-of-way], justifying comprehensive and detailed species surveys to provide information for habitats and species protection and restoration.” He suggested, and FCWC agrees with:
  • Dedicating wetlands conservation;
  • Saving and salvaging native plants;
  • Widening the ROW as little as possible;
  • Conducting a better survey of plant and animal species (especially during the growing season);
  • And ensuring that the project includes a full-funded, independent environmental monitor on-site.

Blue Mountain Reservation contains high numbers of vernal pools and sensitive wetlands essential to amphibian populations. Habitat and air quality degradation through construction and operation of the proposed pipeline will negatively affect Westchester County’s rich biodiversity.

The pipeline was the subject of two New York State Department of Environmental Conservation public hearings, January 21st and January 22nd. FCWC was one of the many participants, and presented a statement to oppose the granting of new air permits for this project (to read it in full click here).

It is imperative to maintain a united front in fighting for our health and our environment.

Written by: Kate Munz, FCWC Member Relations Coordinator


Source: Press Release (Jan. 15, 2015) “BOL Committee Receives Independent Report on Environmental Impact of Proposed Gas Pipeline Expansion in County Park

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