Cuomo: Halt Algonquin pipeline, cites Indian Point
Joseph Spector, Albany Bureau Chief
February 29, 2016
The 42-inch pipe for the Spectra Algonquin pipeline stands ready for installation in Verplanck.
ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday urged the federal government to halt construction of the Algonquin natural gas pipeline, citing the potential dangers of its proximity to the Indian Point nuclear plant.
In a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Cuomo administration urged the agency to postpone the pipeline until a safety review is completed. Cuomo cited recent problems at the Buchanan, Westchester County, nuclear facility and an ongoing state investigation into a radioactive water leak.
“The safety of New Yorkers is the first responsibility of state government when making any decision. Over the past several months there have been a series of serious incidents at the Indian Point Nuclear Facility, which my administration is investigating,” Cuomo said in a statement.
“At the same time, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved a natural gas pipeline in close proximity of Indian Point. I am directing my administration to commence an immediate independent safety analysis of the natural gas pipeline project and until that occurs, we urge the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to suspend the project.”
The pipeline owned by Spectra Energy is expanding across four states, including into New York and Westchester, to carry more natural gas north from Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale.
The pipeline is under construction, and it has drawn opposition from residents in the Hudson Valley. It will run near a school and close to Indian Point.
Cuomo supports the closure of Indian Point, and the state is reviewing several recent incidents at the plant — including a transformer fire and tritium leak.
“Although the project applicant has agreed to more stringent construction measures near Indian Point, ongoing state investigations will assess the adequacy of these measures and may also reveal new information about the environmental, health and safety risks posed by the project’s siting,” Cuomo’s office said.
“The state therefore urges the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to cease the construction of the Algonquin natural gas pipeline until the state’s analysis is complete and it can be determined that the project will not impact the health and safety of surrounding communities.”