Hudson Valley News
9:10 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

County Legislator Wants Westchester To Have A Say In Natural Gas Project

Credit Ryan Delaney/WAMC

A Westchester County legislator says he has strong concerns about a natural gas line project that could run through portions of his county. He also wants Westchester to have a seat at the table.

Democrat Peter Harckham is the majority leader of the Westchester County Board of Legislators. He has written to the secretary of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, requesting a comment period extension for the proposed Algonquin Incremental Market Project and expressing his concerns about how the project will impact public safety and the environment.

He says many of his constituents only recently became aware of the proposed project. He was hoping to see the comment period extended until November or December 15. A FERC spokeswoman explains that the comment period, which the agency mistakenly scheduled to end October 14, actually ended October 15 because the 14th was a holiday, Columbus Day. Regardless, she says FERC will continue to accept comments that are accompanied by explanations of why the comments are late. She says there is no set cutoff date for this, as FERC will accept comments until Houston-based Spectra Energy, which is proposing the project, files a formal application. The project is currently in a so-called pre-file process.

Harckham, whose northern Westchester district includes Mount Kisco and North Salem, says, at this point, he neither supports nor opposes the proposed project.

Spectra’s project would expand the pipeline capacity of its existing Algonquin Gas Transmission system. This expansion would go from Rockland County in New York toward Boston, including Connecticut and Rhode Island along the way. Spectra’s proposal includes 1.2 miles of new pipeline to be installed beneath the Hudson River using horizontal drilling.

Harckham says there is concern that the proposed construction will cross several residential neighborhoods in northern Westchester, including Cortlandt, Yorktown, and Somers, along with Peekskill. Plus, he says pipeline construction is planned on several miles of the county’s Blue Mountain Reservation in Peekskill, a popular hiking area and recreational spot.

Harckham also has requested that the Westchester County Board of Legislators become a stakeholder in the process.

As part of the pre-file process, FERC is conducting a review of environmental impacts. A Spectra spokeswoman did not respond in time for this broadcast.

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