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Westchester County Legislators, Others Demand Action On Spectra Pipeline

MaryJane Shimsky, center, and other Westchester County legislators, speak Monday in White Plains about the gas pipeline project.
MaryJane Shimsky, center, and other Westchester County legislators, speak Monday in White Plains about the gas pipeline project. Photo Credit: Contributed

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Residents and organizations voiced concerns Monday about Spectra Energy’s proposed gas pipeline and demanded county legislators take another look at the project’s risk assessment.

Pointing to recently obtained documents that, they said, called into question the thoroughness and methodology of the assessment, they demanded an independent analysis of safety issues before the project is allowed to proceed.

They spoke during the public comment portion of the county Board of Legislators’ regular meeting.

Speaking at a press conference before the meeting, Legislators Catherine Parker, D-Rye; MaryJane Shimsky, D-Hastings-on-Hudson, and Ben Boykin, D-White Plains, also raised questions about the assessment.

Points raised in the documents, said Shimsky Monday, show it was “a very sloppy way of making a risk assessment on something that could have dire, widespread consequences.”

According to Susan Van Dolsen, co-founder of Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion, opponents especially are worried about the siting of the 42-inch diameter high-pressure pipeline near the Indian Point nuclear power plant in Buchanan.

"New, critical information obtained via FOIA documents from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission point to seriously defective internal analyses by Entergy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission which cannot be ignored or dismissed. The safety of Westchester residents and the entire New York metropolitan area, and its infrastructure and economy are at stake," said Ed Berry, political chairman of Lower Hudson Sierra Club Executive Committee.

The information comes at a time, the anti-pipeline group said, when Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino is poised to sign an agreement granting Spectra the use of significant acreage in the Blue Mountain Reservation to build the pipeline.

Legal issues raised by speakers Monday focused on whether the proposed use of a licensing agreement with Spectra violates state law on the “alienation” of parkland. An alienation process occurs when land is either turned over to another party or used for a reason other than parkland.

Van Dolsen said speakers reminded the board it “passed a bipartisan health and safety resolution, including a call for an independent, transparent, comprehensive risk assessment” of the project.

The speakers demanded the county keep from turning the parkland over to Spectra until such an analysis proves the pipeline is safe, she said.

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