U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to extend the public comment period for a National Fuel Gas (NFG) project that would build a compressor station 1,600 feet away from the Pendleton neighborhood. Schumer and Gillibrand explained that NFG plans to build a 22,000 horsepower compressor station to support an expansion of the Empire Pipeline, which runs from Pennsylvania to Canada. Schumer and Gillibrand said that many residents have voiced concerns about this project. More than 300 local residents attended a recent public scoping meeting to express their concerns regarding the project. Many commented that they were not given any information about the timing, status, or potential impacts of the project until last month, and some had not received any notification at all.
NFG and FERC presented plans and details about the project at the scoping meeting, and after the meeting, residents only had nine days left in the federal public comment period to respond with their concerns on the project. Schumer and Gillibrand said that because the comment period is set to end on May 29, and because of the holiday weekend, residents really have only about three days left to voice their concerns about this project, which is not sufficient. As a result, Schumer and Gillibrand are urging FERC to allow an additional 30 days for public comment so residents can express concerns on this major project that could impact their quality of life.
“When it comes to evaluating the impacts of this project there is no need to rush. The people of this community deserve to have their voices heard, and now, with only three days left in the public comment period, residents simply do not have enough time to respond regarding a project of this complexity,” said Senator Schumer. “Granting a 30-day extension of the public comment period is the only fair way for this process to continue and make sure residents’ concerns are heard. This extended comment period would give the area’s residents, business community, and the local governments time to fully voice their concerns about this project and give FERC all the information necessary to make an informed decision.”
“The comment period should be extended to allow residents the opportunity to voice their concerns and have all their questions answered,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. “The public deserves adequate notice and the 30-day extension allows time for an open dialogue with FERC. There should be more time to answer the community’s questions and concerns about the project and its impacts.”
Schumer and Gillibrand explained that in a recent local meeting on the NFG project, Pendleton community residents conveyed concerns that they had not been notified of the project by NFG or FERC. However, the comment period on this project is set to end on May 29, which gave residents only nine days after the scoping meeting to enter their comments for the public record. Schumer and Gillibrand said this is not an adequate amount of time for residents, local elected officials, and other interested organizations to provide their input on such a complex issue. As a result, Schumer and Gillibrand urged FERC to allow an additional 30 days for public comment so residents can weigh in on a proposal for a compressor station that could impact their daily lives.
A copy of the Senators’ letter to FERC appears below:
Dear Chairman Bay,
We write to urge you to extend the public comment period on Northern Access Project FERC #CP15-115 & Frontier Chemical (Pendleton Site Code 932043). On Wednesday, May 20, 2015, over 300 Pendleton, New York residents attended a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) public scoping meeting on this project. In this meeting, residents conveyed concerns that they had not been notified of the project by National Fuel Gas (NFG) or FERC. Currently, the comment period on this project is set to end on May 29, giving residents only nine days from the scoping meeting to review information on the project and enter their comments and any concerns that they have. This is not an adequate amount of time for residents, local elected officials, and other interested organizations to provide their input on such a complex issue, and we urge you to allow an additional 30 days for public comment.
The NFG intends to build a 22,000 horsepower compressor station to support an expansion of the Empire Pipeline, which runs from Pennsylvania to Canada. The proposed site sits approximately 1,600 feet from residential properties in Pendleton, and some residents have voiced concerns about the impact that this proposed project could have on their quality of life. In particular, they have raised concerns to our offices about the level of noise and vibrations the compressor could produce, emission levels, and about the potential impact of this project on the value of property in the area.
Some residents, including those residing within a quarter mile of the proposed site have not received notification from NFG or FERC on the status, timing, or potential impacts of the project. As a result, residents have had to notify their neighbors via word of mouth in order to organize a response. The residential community deserves the opportunity to fully express their concerns to FERC, and given the size and scope of this project, it is essential that all voices are heard by FERC in the decision-making process. Extending the comment period would give residents that opportunity, and we respectfully request an extension of the public comment period. We appreciate your attention to this request.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator
United States Senator