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County Board Calls For Strict Review Of Proposed Pipeline Through Cortlandt

Legislators discuss a proposed resolution calling for a strict review of the Spectra pipeline. Photo Credit: Sam Barron
An example of what the proposed pipeline would look like. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Erica Mills

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Westchester County legislators want to ensure a proposed pipeline that would run into Peekskill, Cortlandt and Yorktown is totally safe.

Legislators voted 15-1 to call for a full risk assessment of the proposed Spectra pipeline.

The 42-inch Spectra Algonquin gas pipeline would replace a previous 26-inch pipeline that has existed for 60 years. The pipeline, which is subject to approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, would run across the Hudson River and into Peekskill, Cortlandt, and Yorktown.

The town of Cortlandt has already expressed opposition to the pipeline, concerned about its placement 450 feet from Buchanan-Verplanck Elementary School.

Legislators expressed concern about the pipeline's location in a large population area and its proximity to Indian Point.

“Our first concern must be for the protection of our residents and the environment,” said board Chairman Michael Kaplowitz (D-Somers). “This resolution embodies important safety and environmental standards that must be upheld before permission is granted to construct the pipeline.”

Legislators said they were concerned a report submitted by Spectra does not reflect emissions from compressor stations, which have been associated with health problems.

“We’re asking all federal and state agencies involved with this process to make the health and safety of residents, workers and all other stakeholders their top priority,” said Majority Leader Catherine Borgia (D-Ossining). “We agree that meeting our region’s energy needs is a priority for further economic development, but the review, permitting, and approval process must be stringent to ensure environmental and safety concerns are addressed and needed mitigation plans are in place.”

Legislator John Testa (R-Peekskill) said he was happy to support the resolution.

"If this project moves forward, it must be done in a safe way," Testa said. "We are very concerned for the safety and well being of our citizens."

Susan McDonnell, a Cortlandt resident, expressed her support for the resolution.

"These chemicals will not be good for people," McDonnell said. "It's very important people are aware of what Spectra is planning. People have no idea this is going on."

Legislator Michael Smith cast the lone vote against the resolution.

Smith said he is sure Spectra will do the right thing and that he has seen local governments put businesses through hoops of due diligence and force them to spend money when they have no intention of approving a project, He said if the board does not want this pipeline going through, lit should be honest and say so upfront.

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