Algonquin Pipeline: IN THE NEWS


Spectra Energy’s Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) pipeline expansion project involves new high-pressure 42″ diameter gas pipeline sections slated to run from Stony Point in Rockland County, NY under Hudson River into Westchester and Putnam Counties in NY through Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.

The new pipeline expansion is routed next to homes, schools, houses of worship,through sensitive parkland, eco-systems and watersheds; and is planned to go through Westchester County Park, Blue Mountain Reservation – and construction has started.

Algonquin Pipeline Expansion opponents gain media traction



View: Don’t give parkland

Journal News, Opinion
Written by FCWC Co-President, Carole Griffiths

“Enlarging this pipeline and the expansion of the easements will have negative impacts on the park. There will be permanent destruction of trees and habitat for animals. New edges will be opened a few hundred feet into the forest on either side of the expansion, which will allow invasive species to further infiltrate the park.”

e1463a_8d6976b362d54183887ec0dd5cc256c7Opponents Block Construction

Journal News, Algonquin pipeline opponents arrested after blocking construction

“We all know that we have to do everything we can to keep all the fossil fuels in the ground and switch to renewable energy, wind and solar,” Rubin said. “We’re concerned about our children’s future.”

e1463a_9b5e6d968314492b9f3337a02de848fdTrees Protest Pipeline Expansion

Blog Post, Waking Up on Turtle Island

“A grove of trees in Westchester County’s Blue Mountain Reservation in the Town of Cortlandt is staging a protest in an effort to save their fellow trees from being cut down along the 1½ mile Spectra Energy AIM pipeline route through the reservation.”

e1463a_1d0cd1f6d91a409fbeafc6fc87468a8aVideo: High Pressure in NY

The Guardian, High pressure: the pipeline that could destroy New York state

“In December 2014, Governor Andrew Cuomo outlawed fracking in New York, citing the method as unsafe for both the health of his citizens and their surrounding environment. However, the ban did not take into account the transportation of fracked natural gas liquids through the state.”

e1463a_b54a51e80b9740d4b97650542571bfd8Video: 9 Protesters Arrested

Democracy Now!, at 5 minutes, 9 Arrested Protesting AIM Pipeline in Westchester County

“Following the defeat of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, environmentalists continue to oppose other oil and gas pipelines across the country.”

635755746381551281-347Letter from Bobby Kennedy

Riverkeeper, December 1st, 2015

“I write to bring your attention to significant issues regarding the Algonquin Pipeline expansion in New York and to seek your immediate attention and intervention in the application process…”

src-adapt-960-high-pipeline_thumb-1449518882014NYers fear gas pipeline

Al Jazeera America, NYers fear gas pipeline near nuclear reactor could spell disaster
“Whistleblowers and experts allege safety violations, inadequate oversight surrounding new project near Indian Point”


A Look Into Our Past – Westchester Environment, “New York State Breeding Bird Atlas”

This is the fifth installment of our “A Look into Our Past” Series, honoring the past five decades of work done by Federated Conservationists of Westchester County. This series revisits some of our best accomplishments by featuring past articles from our original publication “Westchester Environment.” 

In this post we would like to welcome spring and the start of the birding season with a piece on the first New York State Breeding Bird Atlas. This article, written by Berna Weissman our then Treasurer, delves into the planning and work behind the Breeding Bird Atlas Project 1980, which culminated in a published Atlas. In December 2008 a “Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in New York State” was released with updated information and public Google Earth datasets. Details on this “Second Atlas in Breeding Birds in New York State” can be found here:

“Westchester Environment” – Vol. 4 No. 3 – April & May 1982

A Look Into the PastNew York State Breeding Bird Atlas: a work a scientific significance

By Berna Weissman, FCWC Treasurer (Excerpt from)

Even in New York, endowed with a long history of ornithology and the current activity of a large number of professional and amateur observers, the precise distribution of the more than 200 species of birds which breed here is imperfectly known. Previous publications have had to rely on scattered studies of single species and random observations. The Federation of New York State Bird Clubs, seeking to fill this gap, launched the Breeding Bird Atlas Project in 1980, in cooperation with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, National Audubon Society, Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology and New York State Museum.

To accomplish the enormous task of mapping the distribution of all breeding birds, the entire state has been divided into approximately 5000 blocks of 25 square kilometers, each to be surveyed for the species breeding within it. The field work, which will last for five years, is being done by volunteers who, by visiting all the habitats within a block at various times throughout the breeding season, locate and identify birds, make observations of their behavior and code them as possible, probably, or confirmed breeders according to a list of established criteria. Publication of the Atlas is expected in the latter half of this decade.

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A Look Into Our Past – Westchester Environment, “Earth Day: Progress and Promise”

This is the fourth installment of our “A Look into Our Past” Series, honoring the past five decades of work done by Federated Conservationists of Westchester County. This series revisits some of our best accomplishments by featuring past articles from our original publication “Westchester Environment.” 
In this post we would like to celebrate FCWC’s favorite holiday, Earth Day. Follow along as J. Henry Neale, Jr., a previous FCWC board member, recounts the first Earth Day and the start of “Earth Day ’80.”

“Westchester Environment” – Vol. 2 No. 4 – April 1980

Earth Day 80Earth Day: Progress and Promise By J. Henry Neale, Jr. (Excerpt from)

April 22, 1980 will be “Earth Day ‘80”. It has been declared to be the start of the “second decade of environmental progress.

The Earth Day celebration this year had an auspicious and impressive beginning. It was officially announced on January 1, 1980, on the first day of the new decade, in a Presidential Proclamation. President Carter’s proclamation called upon all citizens and government officials “… to observe this day and appropriate ceremonies and activities” and that “…special attention be given to community activities and educational efforts directed to protecting and enhancing our life-giving environment.”

Although the characterization of this year as being the start of the “second decade of environmental progress” may seem overly optimistic about our future – and excessively charitable about our recent past – there have been many changes during the past ten years. Several of these changes might be considered improvements. Perhaps these are reasons for describing the last decade as one of progress and for hoping that this progress will continue in the future…

…One indication of the change in the past ten years is that the environmental movement has become even more diversified. In addition to the continuing commitments to achieving air and water pollution control, wilderness preservation and land use planning, which had been well established long before 1970 and are enough to keep anybody busy for a long time to come, the environmental movement now includes many persons advocating other themes and causes: energy conservation, workplace safety, cancer prevention, transit reform, neighborhood preservation, alternative technologies and labor-intensive economic development, to name only a few.

A rough way of estimating progress toward accomplishment of this expanding list of goals is by evaluating the actions taken by the New York State Legislature in response to the various conflicting pressures upon it.

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A Look Into Our Past – Westchester Environment, “Doom Is The Spur”

This is the third installment of our “A Look into Our Past” Series, honoring the past five decades of work done by Federated Conservationists of Westchester County. This series revisits some of our best accomplishments by featuring past articles from our original publication “Westchester Environment.” 
In this post we would like to highlight an issue still prominent in the environmental community today. Follow along as this article tries to answer the question: how do we best spread the message of conservation? While forty-five years later we are still trying to find the answer, it is interesting to look back and see how far we have come.

“Westchester Environment” – Vol. 2 No. 3 – March 1980 Doom Is The SpurDoom is The Spur By Patrick Allen In the early ‘70s the prevailing orthodoxy amongst conservationists was doom-gloom – the view that very nasty things will very shortly occur unless we very quickly mend our wicked ways. This was the period of A Blueprint for Survival, jeremiads from the Club of Rome – notably (or notoriously) The Limits to Growth – and the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. For a time a great many people were mightily exercised by these warnings and even a few of the mighty took time off from (mis)directing affairs of state to Express Considerable Concern. But when the end, so widely heralded as nigh, quite failed to show up, the boom went out of the doom business. Books with titles like The Hungry Future, Standing Room Only, Our Polluted World, Timetable for Disaster, no longer poured from the printing presses, and in the western world earnest young men and women, so lately converted to the edifying values of cycling and recycling, quietly reoccupied their former niches in the gas-guzzling, throw-away society. For all but a hard core of the faithful doom-gloom was out. Yet despite nature’s well-known abhorrence of a vacuum, no revised version of the gospel took its place. Nor has done since. With the result that conservation has joined the long list of Worth Causes of Our Time about which all men of goodwill are agreed that something should be done tomorrow once Pressing Matters have been dealt with today. Doleful finding But of course the main characteristic of Pressing Matters is that they are always with us. Which means that for other matters – conservation for example – tomorrow arrives, if at all, very late in the day. Nowadays even those who should be beating the drum for conservation appear instead to be beating a retreat. A recent polling of environmental journalists produced the rather doleful finding that while most of them accept that the loss of species leads to a world that is aesthetically poorer, most of them do not believe that the loss of species leads to a world that is economically poorer. In other words, while they regard conservation as a Good Thing – in that having animals and plants around jollies up our grey lives – they do not regard it as an Essential Thing. And this from a cross section of environmental journalists! Admittedly many decision-makers (those paragons of our day) are better informed. They readily concede that conservation does matter – in an economic, scientific, in a strictly utilitarian sense. But whereas in former days, when the fear of imminent doom rode high, there was the immediate payoff or popular applause for conservation rhetoric (with the promise of deeds to follow), now there is nothing of the kind. With the result that Pressing Matters (see above) have entirely taken over.

The missing factor, it is clear, is popular pressure – or in the jargon, “public awareness.”… Fearsome predictions where are falsified by events (or rather by non-events) spoil the market for truth.

The missing factor, it is clear, is popular pressure – or, in the jargon, “public awareness.” Of course the apocalyptic warnings of the early ’70s, with their naïve dependence on crude computer models, were counter-productive. Fearsome predictions where are falsified by events (or rather by non-events) spoil the market for truth. And yet… and yet. The environmental pundits of a few years back may have erred in believing that the planet’s life-support systems were heading for imminent and dramatic collapse. But if the truth is that the planet’s life-support systems are softly, invisibly coming apart, is the message very different? If the world ends not with a bang but a whimper, the result is the same. Doom deferred is still doom. Doom deferred, though, is not in itself a rallying cry to action. As who-was-it said: “There is nothing to concentrates a man’s mind as the knowledge that he is to be hanged in a fortnight.” But substitute 15 years for a fortnight and concentration vanishes. How then to recover that focusing public attention on the Conservation Issue? For this, after all, is the truth. The time scale of cause and effect in nature may sometimes be lengthy. But it is nonetheless very real – with the added caveat that the results of what we do or do not do now may prove irreversible. What we do or do not do now also serves to narrow or to expand our range of options. Choice dwindles as resources are used up. Rainforests are shrinking at a frightening speed. World catches of many fish species have plummeted. Deserts are growing at such a rate that one-third of the world’s croplands may have disappeared by the turn of the century. Or take the most obvious example of all: energy. Failure to conserve now makes a full-blown nuclear future – the “technological fix” for a world in a fix – almost inevitable, regardless of hazards. So long as politicians feel that they are more likely to receive kicks than kisses for acting so as to stave off distant and problematic calamity, they will act, if at all, only halfheartedly. But of course people want a healthy future for themselves and even more so for their children. So a public which perceived the real-life choice between Good and Ill – and understands that choosing starts now – will direct both kicks and kisses to Good effect. With a real-live chance of happy outcome. The enemy of action The doom-watchers of the early ‘70s got it wrong. But the doom-watchers of the present day also have got it wrong. They know full well the track we are on but believe a rose-tinted view is all that people should be given for fear of depressing them. This is psychologically inept. It makes for complacency, the enemy of action.

The doom-watchers of the early ’70s got it wrong.

The track we are on is bound for doom but we are not bound to go there. We can backtrack in time. Just in time. And this truth is a truth that should be told. Unavoidable doom breeds only despair but preventable doom is the best of all possible spurs to action. So come back doom, preventable doom – we need you. Originally printed in the bulletin of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.

A Look Into Our Past – Westchester Environment, “About FCWC”

In honor of the past five decades of work done by Federated Conservationists of Westchester County, we will be taking the time to look back on some of our best accomplishments. We will be posting past articles that were published in our previous publication “Westchester Environment.” 
In this first post we are highlighting an piece written during 1979, the publication’s first year. It harkens back to FCWC’s original mission, one that has stayed close to us through the past 50 years.

“Westchester Environment” – Vol. 1 No. 1 – September 1979

This is the cover of the first edition of the printed and circulated Westchester Environment. The picture features John R Thornborough, FCWC President 1979.
This is the cover of the first edition of the printed and circulated Westchester Environment. The picture features John R Thornborough, FCWC President 1979.

About FCWC

With a larger-than-usual distribution of our September newsletter and calendar, many of our readers may be introduced to FCWC for the first time. In response to the inevitable question, “What is FCWC?”, we endeavor here to describe who we are and what we do. The Federated Conservationists of Westchester County, Inc. founded in 1965, is the only countywide citizen’s organization devoting its entire effort to the protection and appropriate use of Westchester’s natural resources. A non-profit, tax exempt coalition of individuals and organizations, FCWC acts as a clearinghouse of information on environmental issues, a liaison between citizen and government, an effective monitor of County and State planning, a forum to focus on environmental problems, and serves to promote efforts to conserve the County’s environmental resources. FCWC’s founders envisioned an organization of concerned citizens capable of bringing a countywide perspective to address the growing array of environmental problems created by rapid growth and poorly planned development. The larger-than-local concerns of flood control, air and water pollution, open-space preservation, safe and sensible solid waste management, and wise energy use have been the focus of major FCWC activities. An important part of our work has been to ensure that government planning in land use, solid waste, water resources, and outdoor recreation are reconstructed and sensitive to environmental values. We have evaluated and commented on County and State planning, testified at public hearings, participated on citizen councils and, when necessary, defended the County’s environment in court proceedings. In all our activities, including major conferences and workshops, we have endeavored to promote a widespread awareness and appreciation of Westchester’s bountiful natural resources. FCWC has extensive files and resources which are available for research on a widespread range of issues relating to environmental protection. Our long association with governmental agencies, with other organizations, and with individuals having valuable expertise has broadened our capabilities and enabled us to respond to almost every request for information or assistance. With increased pressure to maintain a viable economy and free ourselves from dependece on imported fuel, FCWC sees an even greater challenge ahead. Decisions made today in the interest of economic growth need not trade our natural resources for unrestrained development. We have an obligation to ensure that we and the future residents of Westchester County continue to enjoy the benefits of a healthy and beautiful environment.

Link to September 1979 Cover