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Governor Cuomo: No Risk Assessment = No Water Permit

 

Banner at Petition Delivery

 

 

Monica at Petition Delivery

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Tolling Order Déjà Vu

But With No Quorum There’s Another Wrinkle

 

Environmental Groups & the City of Quincy File Federal Appeal of Atlantic Bridge Project

Contacts: Karina Wilkinson, Food & Water Watch, Massachusetts, kwilkinson@fwwlocal.org
Alice Arena, Fore River Residents Against the Compressor Station, aliceandrob88@gmail.com
Courtney Williams, Stop the Algonquin Expansion and Safe Energy Rights Group, mazafratz@yahoo.com

A coalition of a dozen environmental groups, two impacted Weymouth, Massachusetts residents, and the city of Quincy filed a federal appeal with the United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit today challenging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) approval of the controversial Atlantic Bridge project.

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Groups from three states and the City of Quincy argue that because of a lack of quorum at FERC, the waivers of the 30-day deadline to respond to the groups’ requests for rehearing that FERC staff issued on the certificate approving the project as a whole, as well as a construction permission for Connecticut, are invalid. On that basis, the groups are allowed to proceed directly to federal court. They have engaged DC-based attorney Carolyn Elefant, Esq. to file the appeal.
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The town of Weymouth made a similar argument in a petition filed with the same court yesterday.
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Local, state and federal elected officials, and citizens along the entire pipeline route have repeatedly cited the flawed FERC review of the project, which they say is not supported by substantial evidence. Massachusetts Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey have asked for the Certificate of Approval of the Atlantic Bridge Project to be rescinded, particularly because of the lack of a quorum blocking groups rights to a rehearing.
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Karina Wilkinson, Massachusetts Local Coordinator for Food & Water Watch, said: “We are appealing FERC’s approval of the Atlantic Bridge project because the agency failed to address serious health, safety, and environmental concerns associated with this dangerous, unnecessary project. Conflicts of interest with the environmental consultant FERC hired and recent revelations that the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection allowed the company to edit their air permit to make it more favorable to them demonstrate that the entire process is deeply flawed and the court should force the approval to be withdrawn.”
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Alice ArenaLead Coordinator of FRRACS, stated: “FERC never gave serious consideration to the potentially devastating health and safety implications for the environmentally sensitive and industrially overburdened Fore River Basin. With two federally and state recognized Environmental Justice communities in Quincy, within the 1/2 mile radius of the proposed station, along with a dense residential population in North Weymouth and seven polluting industries already in the Basin, this site is the worst possible place for another toxic and dangerous facility. FERC never did due diligence in our community and simply took Spectra at its word for everything.  Without a quorum, FERC’s issuance of a tolling order in response to our motion for a rehearing is untenable.”
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“Spectra has clearly taken their massive expansion of the ‘Algonquin’ Pipeline and broken it up into smaller projects to avoid proper assessment of the environmental impacts,” said Courtney Williams from Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (SAPE) and SEnRG, NY. “Many streams and wetlands will be crossed by Spectra’s Atlantic Bridge project, and hundreds of communities will be impacted by construction and infrastructure, yet FERC refused to produce a full Environmental Impact Statement. Add to this the shoddy science in the environmental assessment, numerous conflicts of interest, and the segmentation of the AIM and Access Northeast projects, and I am shocked that FERC continues to operate the way it does. We should be transitioning as quickly as possible to clean energy, not deepening our dependence on fossil fuels.”
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The coalition partners are:  FRRACS (MA), Food & Water Watch (national), Safe Energy Rights Group (NY), Berkshire Environmental Action Team (MA), Capitalism v. the Climate (CT), Eastern CT Green Action, Grassroots Environmental Education (NY), Keep Yorktown Safe (NY), 350 MA South Shore Node, Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (NY), Toxics Action Center (New England) West Roxbury Saves Energy (MA), Weymouth (MA) Councilwoman Rebecca Haugh (as an individual), Weymouth (MA) resident Sandra Peters and the Town of Quincy (MA).
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We Must Wait – But Pipeline Can Proceed

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Shocking nobody, FERC (without a quorum legally required to conduct business) has issued a “Tolling Order” for the Atlantic Bridge segment of the Algonquin pipeline expansion.
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A tolling order is basically an indefinite time out. Supposedly this gives FERC more time to consider the Requests for Rehearing. In reality, it holds all legal challenges at bay while Spectra is allowed to proceed, full steam ahead.
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In the case of the AIM segment of this pipeline project, FERC issued a tolling order and did not rule on our request for rehearing for 9 MONTHS, during which time Spectra cut down trees, dug trenches through wetlands, crossed important streams, and completed much of the construction.
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As of right now, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has not issued the permits necessary for Spectra to begin construction in New York. There are also numerous permits outstanding in Massachusetts.

 

 

AB Tolling Order for Website

FERC Vacancy2

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No Quorum? No Permits? FERC Says “No Problem”

 

And of course the FERC staff also issued this approval for the start of the Connecticut construction on the project:

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FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20426
OFFICE OF ENERGY PROJECTS

In Reply Refer To:
OEP/DG2E/Gas 2
Algonquin Gas Transmission, LLC
Docket No. CP16-9-000
375.308(x)

March 27, 2017

Chris Harvey
Director, Rates and Certificates
5400 Westheimer Court
Houston, TX  77056

Re:  Authorization to Proceed with Construction of Connecticut Facilities

Dear Mr. Harvey:

I grant Algonquin Gas Transmission, LLC’s (Algonquin) March 14, 2017 request to proceed with construction and use the following Atlantic Bridge Project facilities in Connecticut:

  • Southeast Discharge Take-up and Relay Station Numbers 0+00 to 32+74, 39+73 to 75+95, and 79+09 to 122+92, and associated minor route or workspace modifications;
  • Danbury Meter Station; and
  • Mill Plain Road, Lee Farm, and Algonquin Cheshire Yards.

In considering your request, we have determined that Algonquin’s initial Implementation Plan, filed on February 3, 2017, as supplemented on March 14, 2017, includes the information necessary to meet the construction conditions of the Commission’s January 25, 2017 Order Issuing Certificate (Order) for the activities approved herein.  In addition, we have determined that Algonquin’s March 14, 2017 request confirms that the Connecticut facilities may provide independent utility towards the project purpose.  We have confirmed the receipt of all federal authorizations relevant to the approved activities herein.

I remind you that Algonquin must comply with all applicable terms and conditions of the Commission’s Order, and that no other activities are authorized other than those activities identified above.  If you have any questions, please contact Maggie Suter at (202) 502-6463.

Sincerely,

Alisa M. Lykens, Chief
Gas Branch 2

cc:      Public File, Docket No. CP16-9-000

 

So once again FERC has told us that we can’t ask a Federal Court to decide whether this pipeline was approved legally until after our property and public spaces are destroyed. The phrase “Justice delayed is justice denied” was first used by William E. Gladstone (British Prime Minister from 1868 to 1894) and Martin Luther King, Jr. repeated it in his letter from the Birmingham Jail. The FERC tolling order maneuver seems like a clear violation of our constitutional right to due process. We mustn’t let it stand in a society that prides itself on offering everyone their day in court.

 


 

 

Pipeline Vigil at Cuomo’s house in New Castle

‘Sitting on a time bomb’
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Banners at Vigil

Nancy Vann, President of Safe Energy Rights Group (at left)

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NEW CASTLE – Holding signs calling for the state to “Treasure and Defend the Earth,” and to “Stop Algonquin Pipeline Expansion,” environmental activists gathered at the Bittersweet Lane home of Gov. Andrew Cuomo late Sunday for a prayer vigil they hoped would convince him to put a halt the to controversial natural gas pipeline that runs through the Indian Point nuclear facility.
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“We’re gathering in prayer, hoping that the governor has the strength and the morals to do the right thing,” said Paula Dalle Carboneri of Croton-on-Hudson, one of about 25 people who staged the peaceful vigil under the watchful eyes of a handful of New Castle and state police. “There’s no better time than now for him to be on the peoples’ side… Can you imagine a 42-inch gas pipeline exploding at Indian Point?”
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SVD at Vigil

Susan Van Dolsen , co-founder of Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (SAPE)

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Cuomo was not home — he remained in Albany, trying to reach a state budget agreement.
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ENERGY: Nun urges resident to lobby governor for smart energy choices

PROTESTS: Pipeline demonstrators found guilty of disorderly conduct

LETTER: Despite guilty verdict, pipeline protesters remain steadfast
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Enbridge Inc., which merged with Spectra Energy in February, is continuing the Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) Project to replace parts of the high-pressure pipeline. The work includes a recently completed new section through Stony Point, under the Hudson River and into Verplanck and the Indian Point nuclear plant in Buchanan. The project will allow more natural gas to go north from Pennsylvania to New England.
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Watch a video from the vigil here
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The demonstrators noted that, even though Indian Point is now scheduled to close as early as 2021, the spent, radioactive nuclear rods will remain stored there forever.
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“We can’t afford to be sitting on a time bomb,” said Hastings-on-Hudson resident Susan Rutman. “These pipelines rupture, they leak. We’re in imminent danger of a disaster, and it has to be stopped.”
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On Wednesday night, a 12-inch Spectra pipeline ruptured in downtown Providence, Rhode Island, shutting down Interstate 195 and other roads and creating traffic havoc for more than three hours until the spewing gas was contained.
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Bernice McCann, of Irvington, said there’s no reason for the Algonquin pipeline to be expanded “when many major corporations are actually moving toward renewable energy and away from fossil fuels.”
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Dalle Carboneri said those attending the vigil were hopeful they can convince the governor to stop the pipeline. She said state environment officials recently reached out to set up a meeting to hear their concerns.
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“We’re just normal people who love the environment, love our kids and want to ensure a safe future for them,” she said. “We’re hoping that the governor has the strength to be the leader we need him to be.”
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All Banners and Folks at Vigil 2

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. . . and read our press release:

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Interfaith Vigil For the Common Good at Governor Andrew Cuomos
Mt. Kisco Home

 

Residents call on Governor to Acknowledge Danger from Spectra’s Algonquin Pipeline

 

Press Contacts:   Bette Ann Jaster, OP   bajaster@ophope.org  720-587-9935
Paola DalleCarbonare   paola.dc.it@gmail.com   917-647-5143
What: INTERFAITH VIGIL FOR THE COMMON GOOD
When: Sunday, April 2nd 2017 at 5:30 p.m.
Where: Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Home,  4 Bittersweet Lane, Mount Kisco, NY
Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/274518702988523/

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April 1, Mt. Kisco, NY   Local residents will hold an interfaith vigil at Gov. Cuomo’s home on Sunday, April 2, 2017, at 5:30 p.m., calling on him to step up and speak out for the common good of his constituents and all New Yorkers. Sister Bette Ann Jaster, co-founder of the group organizing the vigil, Healing and Protecting Our Land: A Call to Prayer, said, “Gov. Cuomo needs to be our champion. Hospice the old ways and celebrate true movement into a new world where all life flourishes. Let’s together plan our energy future, and find a path that is safe for the Earth and for all of us.”

 

The group is urging Cuomo to acknowledge the dangers of the siting of the huge Spectra Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) Pipeline at Indian Point and to use the power of his office to stop the gas from flowing in this location. Residents and clergy members all call on Governor Cuomo and the NY Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to deny Spectra Energy’s Water Quality Certificate for the next leg of this project called Atlantic Bridge.
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A gas pipeline rupture caused by Spectra Energy in Rhode Island Wednesday is yet another example of the company’s bad track record for incidents involving explosive fracked gas infrastructure. “This was a dangerous situation because you did have a high volume of gas blowing at the time,” Don Ledversis, an official with the Rhode Island Division of Public Utilities, told the Providence Journal. The pipeline next to Indian Point is twelve times larger than the on that ruptured in Rhode Island! [1]
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The huge pipeline crosses Indian Point property for 2,159 feet; it is 105 feet from critical safety infrastructure adjacent to the plant. This explosive methane pipeline also runs 400 feet from an elementary school and past homes, schools, businesses, and houses of worship. A rupture at this location could cause a radioactive release that would endanger more than 20 million people in Westchester and the New York City metropolitan region. The threat exists right now and it will continue even after the plant’s planned closure by 2021.
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In February 2016, Gov. Andrew Cuomo called for an independent risk analysis of the siting of the 42-inch fracked gas Spectra AIM pipeline at the Indian Point nuclear facility, and the study has still not been released. That’s more than 13 months since the Governor called for the risk assessment. Some of the FOIL records requested by Westchester resident Susan Van Dolsen were belatedly released this week, but were incomplete and over 338 pages were redacted. “The Cuomo administration’s lack of transparency and delay in releasing the risk assessment demonstrates an appalling lack of concern for the health and safety of the millions of people in this region.”
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Paola Dalle Carbonare, co-founder of Healing and Protecting Our Land Together: A Call to Prayer said, “To counteract the destructive actions and policies like the recent anti-climate executive order being perpetrated by the current administration on Mother Earth and its inhabitants, we need to keep up the pressure on our Governor and urge him to be strong against political and money corruption, leading us on the right side of history!”
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Safe Energy Rights Group President, Nancy Vann, said “Governor Cuomo must show that he’s serious about his role as an environmental champion with deeds not just words. If we lose the progress we’ve made against climate and environmental disasters there might not be any future generations to judge us.”
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The non-denominational group will gather at the Governor’s home in solidarity and prayer to urge him to act on
these threats and help him find the strength to be the leader New Yorkers need him to be by halting the
harm to the people and the planet.

 

####
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[1]   http://www.wickedlocal.com/news/20170331/providence-pipeline-rupture-raises-concerns-over-spectra-project-in-weymouth  A 12-inch diameter pipeline has a 113 square inch cross-section; a 42-inch diameter pipeline has a1385 square inch cross section.
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Speaking of Scary Pipelines, Spectra Energy
Just Did This in Providence

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Officials: Construction caused gas-line rupture in Providence

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The gas line rupture that closed Route 195 Wednesday night was caused by construction on a nearby pipeline, according to National Grid and the Rhode Island Division of Public Utilities and Carriers.
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That work was performed on behalf of Spectra Energy, the interstate supplier of gas, according to Don A. Ledversis, chief compliance inspector for natural gas and propane at the Division of Public Utilities. [SEnRG Note: Spectra is the company installing the 42-inch high pressure gas line next to the Indian Point nuclear plant just north of New York City!]
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Ledversis said that United Civil had to uncover other lines in the area. However, the supports provided in this case were apparently inadequate, he said. Due either to vibrations in the area or to the natural freeze-thaw cycle, the pipe shifted and pulled out of a coupling that connected it to another line of pipe, Ledversis said.
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“This was a dangerous situation because you did have a high volume of gas blowing at the time,” Ledversis said, adding that “we were very lucky.” [SEnRG Note: The 12-inch pipe that ruptured has an interior dimension of about 113.09 square inches. The 42-inch pipe next to Indian Point has an interior dimension of about 1385.44 square inches – making it more than 12 times the size. Guess “a high volume of gas” is relative.]
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Timothy Horan, president of National Grid in Rhode Island, assured the public that the gas system is safe. “If there wasn’t any construction, things would have been normal,” he said. “It’s very safe and we’ll determine now what the best course of action is,” Horan said. [SEnRG Note: Safe? Then why did it rupture? And why was it too dangerous to even turn off the closest valves (see below)?]
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Although there are two manual shutoff valves located less than 10 feet from the leak, they were determined to be inaccessible due to the danger, Ledversis said.
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Crews had to locate other valves to isolate the leak, which Ledversis described as a delicate process — due to the possibility of overpressuring the rest of the system, and the desire not to shut off gas to customers who do not need to be shut down. [SEnRG Note: Still gonna stick with that “safe” comment?]
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Ledversis said that the situation could have been remedied much more quickly if remote-controlled valves had been at the location. In fact, he said, National Grid had been preparing to install those valves. “Those, believe it or not, were going in next week,” he said. [SEnRG Note: “Not”]
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The leak was first discovered at 8:15 p.m. The roads were reopened after gas company National Grid made temporary repairs that stopped the leak at about 3 a.m. National Grid will work to make permanent repairs to the line, Paré said. The leak occurred outside a concrete building owned by National Grid that houses equipment to distribute natural gas. The building is below an elevated section of the highway near Club Desire. [SEnRG Note: Nice place for an explosion and fireball. Did anyone tell them about the pipeline rupture that melted a highway that wasn’t even that close?]
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See the full story along with pictures and video at: http://www.providencejournal.com/news/20170330/officials-construction-caused-gas-line-rupture-in-providence
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And this is the reaction to an Algonquin leak in Burrillville . . . .

 

No Urgency to Fix Natural-Gas Leak in Burrillville

 

Valve site 38 on the Algonquin gas pipeline in Burrillville, R.I., is leaking but hasn’t been fixed despite numerous complaints

 

April 17, 2017

BURRILLVILLE, R.I. — Valve 38 represents the risks and perhaps accepted collateral damage from natural-gas power plants and pipelines. According to area residents and local officials, the valve site about a quarter of a mile from the Ocean State Power facility has been leaking natural gas for months and possibly years.
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Uxbridge, Mass. resident Ralph Billington has been jogging near the fossil-fuel facility for more than a decade, traversing the roads near the 560-megawatt power plant. Billington said he has reported the smell of sulfur — the rotten-egg-scented chemical mercaptan added to natural gas to detect leaks — at Valve 38 near Sherman Farm Road dozens of times over the years. When he first noticed the odor, Billington called the emergency phone number posted on a sign at the valve station. “I’ve waited for hours and no one shows up,” he said.
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He has raised the matter at local meetings and with police and fire officials, but the response was tepid. The odor continues. “I’ve never been able to get anyone’s attention to this,” Billington said.
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Last October, Billington started calling 911 to report the leak. The calls produced little more than a cursory response, he said. In those instances, a fire utility truck responded promptly, then waited about 20 minutes for a repair person from the pipeline company to arrive. Whatever work, if any, performed on the valve, he said, failed to fix the problem. The smell endures.
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Billington’s repeated calls to Spectra Energy Partners LP, the Houston-based owner of Valve 38 and the Algonquin natural-gas pipeline, has only led to frustration. But he’s learned over the course of several phone conversations with Spectra employees that the valve is outdated, too expensive to replace and, therefore, will continue to leak an unmeasured amount of natural gas.
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Local officials familiar with the situation confirmed to ecoRI News the persistent leak and Spectra’s reluctance to replace the faulty valve.
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Spectra didn’t responded to multiple requests for comment, but several fire-safety experts have also confirmed that the valve is leaking natural gas. Harrisville Fire District chief Mark St. Pierre told ecoRI News that Spectra has issued a work order to repair or replace the valve. But, he said, a custom valve must be made and then tested before repairs can begin. Construction is tentatively scheduled to start in October.
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Billington said he heard the same promise of repairs from Spectra in previous years.
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The Texas corporation has a large presence in Burrillville. A subsidiary operates the 1,129-mile natural-gas pipeline that runs through the northwest corner of Rhode Island. The pipeline fuels Ocean State Power and feeds into a massive compressor station on Wallum Lake Road.
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Neighbors living near the compressor station complain of a persistent, low rumble, as well as periodic and jarring “blowdowns” that wail like screeching jet engines. The noise has only worsened since Spectra added larger, more powerful engines that increase the volume of natural gas moving through the pipeline.
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In addition to noise, compressor stations release harmful emissions. Toxic plumes appear during venting and blowdowns. The chemicals in the emissions are linked to a host of illnesses, including cancer. Residents report a prevalence of asthma they blame on air pollution from the compressor station.
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Ocean State Power also produces noise pollution. Billington and other neighbors complain that the facility roars and screeches when the plant is generating electricity, as doors that buffer the sound are often left open to vent heat from the building. A compressor station at the power plant also emits loud explosive sounds as gasesous buildups are ignited.
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*   *   *   *
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In addition to Ocean State Power, a second natural-gas power plant is moving forward. If built, the proposed Clear River Energy Center would have nearly twice the energy output of Ocean State Power. The $1 billion project . . . is sited next to the compressor station, raising concerns of greater noise, air and water pollution, and destruction of habitat in one the state’s largest corridors of contiguous forest.
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Local and statewide opposition to the Clear River Energy Center has been vigorous since the project was announced in 2014. The Town Council opposes a new power plant, as do Burrillville’s representatives in the General Assembly. But public opinion has little influence on the decision to approve or deny the fossil-fuel facility.
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*   *   *   *
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Opponents of increased natural-gas infrastructure have called for efforts to quantify the leaking of natural gas from pipelines and related facilities so that it can be determined if the so-called benefits of natural gas outweigh the harm to health, the environment and its contribution to climate change.
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“It’s outrageous and it’s astounding, how little we know [about leaks],” Boston University researcher Nathan Phillips wrote in an article for Scientific American.
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To read the full article, click here

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The Scariest Pipelines in the U.S. Threatening Our Public Lands

The Dakota Access protests made headlines, but there’s a bigger war being waged against pipelines across the country that threaten our favorite parks and forests

By: Jay Bouchard
Mar 21, 2017

Standing Rock, a once little known reservation on the border of North and South Dakota, became the focal point of national controversy this year when thousands of activists joined Native Americans to protest the environmental impacts of the Dakota Access oil pipeline. If completed, activists argue, the pipeline would impact sites sacred to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, cut through environmentally sensitive areas, and, if it were to leak, contaminate drinking water downstream in the Missouri River.
scariest-pipeline-map.
Standing Rock isn’t the only place where our country’s appetite for cheap energy is being openly opposed. While protesters have been evicted and construction resumes on Dakota Access, the fight rages on across the country where demonstrators are fighting similar pipeline projects. Protests have erupted in Texas, Florida, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Ohio, among other states, where more than a dozen proposed oil and natural gas projects look to expand the country’s roughly 2.5 million-mile pipeline infrastructure.
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In an effort to shed light on some of these projects, and the possible environmental consequences attached to each, we mapped out nine other noteworthy projects currently under protest. Below, we’ve detailed each one and what may be at risk if they are to be built.

Algonquin Expansion (Natural Gas) (AIM, Atlantic Bridge)

Location: New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts
Length: 38 miles of new pipeline
Status: Under construction
Overview: Operated by Spectra Energy, this expansion would join the 1,129-mile Algonquin Pipeline system that runs from New York to Massachusetts, supplying the Northeast with natural gas. The expansion is replacing much of the 26-inch diameter pipeline with a 42-inch line. The expansion would add 38 new miles to the system and would cross the Indian Point Nuclear Site in New York, which has been a source of major protest.

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Pipeline Protesters Still Hammering FERC Over Lack of Quorum

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March 23, 2017
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Pipeline opposition groups continue to cite FERC’s lack of a quorum in procedural arguments as they seek to stall recently certificated natural gas pipelines from proceeding to construction.
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Spectra-Energy-Atlantic-Bridge-Project-2015-10-23

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This week, a coalition of groups including Safe Energy Rights Group (SEnRG) and Food & Water Watch asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to deny a request submitted last week by Enbridge Inc’s subsidiary Algonquin Gas Transmission LLC to proceed with some construction activities on the Atlantic Bridge expansion [FERC Docket #CP16-9].
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The groups wrote that the Feb. 3 departure of former Chairman Norman Bay, which left FERC at two sitting Commissioners, puts them in an “unusual position” as they await an action on a rehearing request they submitted last month.
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FERC issued a certificate order for Atlantic Bridge, a 132,700 Dth/d expansion of the Algonquin and Maritimes & Northeast pipeline systems in New England, in January. The project, backed by Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. after its merger with Spectra Energy, received a favorable environmental assessment last May.
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Echoing prior arguments raised against Atlantic Bridge and against Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co.’s recently certificated Atlantic Sunrise expansion, the groups told FERC that “it would be unfair” to allow Algonquin to proceed with construction without acting on their rehearing request.
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FERC staff has been authorized to issue tolling orders on rehearing requests to put them on hold until the Commission’s quorum is restored and it can act on those requests. Without a tolling order, the requests would be automatically denied after 30 days without Commission action.
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“While FERC staff issued a tolling order last week in response to rehearing requests” for Atlantic Sunrise “and is expected to do so for the Atlantic Bridge project this week, there can be no response to the substance of our rehearing request nor a response to our motion for stay in the absence of a quorum,” the groups wrote.
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Previously, a coalition of groups challenging Atlantic Sunrise asserted that FERC’s use of tolling orders “has allowed project proponents to engage in extensive construction activities (and in some cases place facilities into service) before FERC addresses the issues raised in timely filed rehearing requests, thus effectively depriving parties of judicial review.”
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Pipeline protesters filing rehearing requests challenging project approvals is nothing new, but the novelty of the current situation – a Commission unable to act on rehearing requests for recently certificated projects – raises the risk that a federal appellate court could grant a stay, analysts with ClearView Energy Partners have said. But they added that a stay, if granted, might be as short as a week.
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“Pipeline opponents to date have not been successful in securing stays before the Commission acts on rehearing, and therefore a petition for stay on these more recently approved projects may not fare better than earlier cases,” ClearView wrote in a note to clients earlier this month.
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Algonquin and Maritimes are targeting a November 2017 in-service date for the project.
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After FERC Marathon of Pipeline Approvals Some NatGas Projects Still Stranded

NatGas Pipeline Challengers Not Waiting for FERC Quorum

LaFleur Says Top Priorities at FERC Unchanged Despite Lack of Quorum

 

 

 


 

Senators Markey and Warren Call on FERC to Rescind Authorization
for Spectra’s Atlantic Bridge Pipeline

Announcement of Commissioner Bay’s resignation will lead to lack of quorum
necessary to hear public challenges to pipeline

Washington (February 1, 2017) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) today sent a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) calling on it to immediately rescind the order authorizing Spectra’s Atlantic Bridge pipeline project in light of the announcement from Commissioner Norman Bay that he will resign from FERC on February 3, 2017, which will leave FERC without the quorum needed to be able to hear challenges of this pipeline approval. The absence of a quorum at FERC could prevent opponents from challenging FERC’s approval of the Atlantic Bridge pipeline project for as long as the vacancies persist. FERC’s authorization of the pipeline will allow for the construction of new and expanded compressor stations, larger pipelines and the potential for natural gas to flow north out of New England to Canada, which could pave the way for the exportation of natural gas out of our region as liquefied natural gas.

“Given the announced resignation of former Chairman Bay following the approval of this pipeline project, we ask that FERC immediately rescind the order authorizing Spectra’s Atlantic Bridge Project until a new quorum can be reconstituted at the Commission,” write Senators Markey and Warren to FERC Acting Chairman Cheryl LaFleur. “Only by rescinding this pipeline approval until that time can the American people be assured that their voices will be properly heard and that this pipeline will not be permitted to go forward while opponents are silenced.”

A copy of the Senators’ letter to FERC can be found HERE.

Senators Markey and Warren have previously sent three letters since the summer of 2016 on the potential conflict of interest between Spectra and a third-party contractor on this project and FERC’s process for evaluating whether a conflict of interest exists. FERC has not yet responded to the Senators’ most recent request in January 2017 for more information.

 

 


 

On June 10th, our ally Riverkeeper commented on the Atlantic Bridge project and summarized some of the issues:

“The proposal is one part of a “whole” natural gas pipeline infrastructure system . . . . Riverkeeper urges the Commission to follow the requirements and intent of the National Environmental Policy Act and evaluate the impacts of the entire pipeline system proposal consisting of the Atlantic Bridge, AIM, and Access Northeast Projects. Further, the Commission must take a hard look at the Atlantic Bridge Project’s potentially significant environmental impacts in an EIS that includes a comprehensive evaluation of the project’s water quality impacts.”

 

To read the full comments see:

http://www.riverkeeper.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/RVK-comments-Atlantic-Bridge-scope.6.10.15-2.pdf

 

 

2015-03-11 18.58.39    2015-03-11 19.30.42

Atlantic Bridge “Open House”

 

 

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