Gas pipeline threatens New York City water supply and risks nuclear catastrophe

Gas pipeline threatens New York City water supply and risks nuclear catastrophe

Peekskill, New York – New York residents and environmental experts are desperate to stop the construction of a gas pipeline that poses a major threat to more than 20 million people. The “Algonquin” Pipeline Expansion is a high-pressure fracked-gas pipeline being built under the Hudson River adjacent to the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant just north of New York City. Despite a pending lawsuit seeking to overturn the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) approval of the pipeline expansion and demands from Governor Cuomo and Senators Schumer and Gillibrand for work to be halted, the first phase of the “Algonquin” Expansion has been completed. There are two additional stages planned that threaten communities all the way from New Jersey to the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada.

Possible Nuclear Catastrophe

If completed, Spectra Energy’s massive “Algonquin” Pipeline Expansion would run only 105 feet from the aging, troubled Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant’s safety infrastructure. Pipelines are prone to accidents. According to the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, there were roughly six pipeline incidents every week in the United States in 2015. Experts have warned that a rupture of the “Algonquin” line could result in a nuclear catastrophe worse than the Fukushima disaster. That is due in large part to the 40 years of highly radioactive spent fuel rods stored in overcrowded storage pools on the Indian Point site. Governor Cuomo’s recent announcement that the plant will cease operations in 2025 does little to mitigate the risks the pipeline poses to that highly radioactive spent fuel.

Spectra’s Project Mishaps and Safety Violations

The project has been plagued with mishaps. For example, the company building the pipeline, Texas-based Spectra Energy, was issued a “serious violation” by FERC when, after losing a drill stem in a wetland, Spectra proceeded with unapproved work there, destroying the sensitive wetlands area. Residents are understandably concerned for their families’ safety. Courtney Williams, a cancer researcher and mother of two said, “Spectra had a pipeline blow up a few months ago in Pennsylvania, and now that’s the company that we will trust to put a gas pipeline next to a nuclear power plant and the water supply for New York City?” Nancy Vann, a Peekskill resident and one of the lawyers working to overturn FERC’S approval of the construction said, “There is simply no safe way to put this pipeline next to Indian Point.”

Community Resistance

Even though fracking is banned in the State of New York because of the significant threats it poses to public health and safety, gas pipelines running though State lands and waterways are not prohibited. Many anti-fracking activists have joined the ResistSpectra movement and thus far, 87 people have been arrested while protesting in New York. The resistance continues to escalate in light of new challenges. One of President Trump’s first executive actions was to advance the approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) being built by Energy Transfer Partners – a company that is in the process of merging with Spectra. Trump’s appointment of Scott Pruitt, who opposes the Clean Power Plan, as head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Rex Tillerson, former chairman and chief executive officer of ExxonMobil, as Secretary of State signals even more deal-making with oil and gas companies at the expense of the environment and the public. Pruitt has sued the EPA 13 times and Exxon hid information about climate change for decades.

Taking Action
ResistSpectra is continuing to work to stop the pipeline expansion through New York, refusing to allow more precious lands to be lost and additional communities to be put at risk. You can join them as they resist the buildout of fracked gas infrastructure in New York by signing The Pledge to Resist ( and making a donation to Resist Spectra’s GoGetFunding page:

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