U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to suspend action on the Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) Project until independent health and safety reviews of the project are completed. The Senators pointed to the impacted communities’ significant environmental, safety and health impacts as impetus for this action, and also cited that this pass-through pipeline burdens many New York communities with risk and costs without commensurate benefits.
“As I have said before, I have serious concerns with the Algonquin gas pipeline project because it poses a threat to the quality of life, environmental, health and safety of residents across the Hudson Valley and New York State without any long-term benefit to the communities it would impact. It presents even more safety concerns given its proximity to Indian Point. For these reasons I oppose it, and that is why I strongly urge FERC to cease all work until a thorough, independent review of all of the project’s potential health and environmental impacts is completed and made available to the public,” said U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer.
“I am very concerned about the Algonquin pipeline project, and I urge FERC to wait on going forward with more construction. We need to make sure that whenever a project like this goes forward, the benefits outweigh the risks to our health, our safety, and our environment. I am not convinced those benefits exist with this project, and I hope FERC listens to the concerns of all parties involved,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.
Schumer and Gillibrand have expressed significant concerns about the AIM project in the past. In 2015, Schumer and Gillibrand urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to ensure that the environmental, safety, and public health concerns of residents were thoroughly and substantially addressed before any construction began. In addition, Schumer and Gillibrand asked that FERC not approve any proposal until a thorough, independent review of all of the project’s potential impacts was completed and made available to the public, with full opportunity for comment and review, including additional public meetings.
The senators pointed out that since the announcement of this project, their offices have received numerous comments from community leaders, advocacy groups and individuals to express their legitimate concerns about the safety and potentially negative environmental impacts of the proposed pipeline and associated infrastructure. These include the potential to negatively impact air quality, public health, and the quality of life currently being enjoyed in these communities. The senators also said that the overwhelmingly negative feedback received from the public during scoping sessions hosted by FERC and at community meetings has made it clear that this project does not have the support of their constituents. The senators also said that at no point has it been made clear that there is a compelling economic need for this project in New York, while the potential for long lasting environmental, safety and health impacts is clear.
The AIM project is a significant expansion of the current natural gas transmission line on a route which travels through densely populated communities in Rockland, Putnam and Westchester Counties in New York. The project would replace the current 26-inch pipeline with a new 42-inch diameter pipeline, nearly doubling its current size.