140 People Overwhelm NY Compressor Station Hearing; 98% of Speakers Opposed
Published Feb 1, 2023
Proposal to expand fracked gas and fossil fuel infrastructure is at odds with legislation to move off fossil fuels
Last night, 140 New Yorkers from across the state overwhelmed a New York Department of Environmental Conservation’s public hearing on two new fracked gas compressor stations proposed in Athens and Dover, NY. Of the 80 people who testified, 98% spoke in opposition to the proposal. Chief concerns included increased climate emissions associated with the project, incompatibility with state and local laws, and serious local health and quality of life impacts associated with noisy, polluting compressor stations.
The public hearing was in response to an “Iroquois” Pipeline Company application for an Article 19 State Air Facility Permit for two new compressor stations along their existing pipeline route, as part of a proposal to increase the amount of gas pushed through the company’s 37-year-old pipeline, which runs from Northern New York to Long Island and New York City. In addition to the compressor stations proposed in New York, the company is also behind two additional proposals for compressor stations in Brookfield and Milford, CT.
A Food & Water Watch analysis found that compressor stations emit ozone- and smog-forming particulate matter linked to asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, low birthweight in babies, and certain cancers. What’s more, homes near compressor stations report noise pollution at nearly 10 decibels, exceeding guidelines from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Charlie Quimby, member of Concerned Citizens of Dover said, “Dover has become a target for large scale environmentally destructive projects. Despite the ‘protections’ laws like the CLCPA, and Environmental Justice for Disadvantaged Communities should offer, large companies like Iroquois continue to do as they please. As a Dover resident, and a parent, I am extremely concerned about the rise in emissions, and dangers of increasing pressure in an aging pipeline.”
The proposal to increase fracked gas flow to New York City comes on the heels of stringent new local laws that are expected to decrease the demand for gas through passage of Local Law 97 and the City’s all-electric building requirement that comes into effect next year. Earlier this month, Governor Hochul endorsed a plan to move all of the state’s new homes and buildings off fossil fuels.
“This proposal to ram two fossil fuel compressor stations into a community already burdened by polluting infrastructure is nothing more than the fossil fuel industry’s last-ditch attempt at making a profit at our expense,” said Food & Water Watch Hudson Valley Senior Organizer Emily Skydel. “The climate crisis is here — New York knows this. From Danskammer to Greenidge, the Department of Environmental Conservation has denied polluting fossil fuel facilities their sought permits time and time again. We have strong laws on the books to keep New Yorkers safe from polluters — the ‘Iroquois’ pipeline expansion proposal runs afoul of that responsibility. Governor Hochul and the DEC must deny the Article 19 State Air Facility Permit for the ‘Iroquois’ pipeline compressor stations and recommit to the health of New Yorkers and our climate.”
Mary Finneran, co-chair of the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter Gas Action Team said, “The DEC must take into consideration the cumulative impacts of many industrial projects very close to the Athens and Dover compressor stations. The CLCPA ‘contains important provisions that ensure agency decision-making does not disproportionately burden Disadvantaged Communities (DACs) and prioritizes reductions of GHG emissions and co-pollutants in these communities.’ The Iroquois ExC would overburden already impacted residents in Athens and Dover, both proposed DACs, and the DEC must deny the air permits for this and many reasons.”
“It is abominable that we are here in 2023. How did DEC even let this proposal get this far? This decrepit 37-year-old, 414-mile pipeline must be retired, not expanded,” said Kim Fraczek, Director of Sane Energy Project. “Iroquois Pipeline Co. is targeting small, rural towns for fracked gas expansion to feed National Grid downstate. But this gas is simply not needed to supply energy—only to feed the salaries of utility executives. New York State can and should be a leader on climate, but if DEC approves this project we will be taking a major step backwards.”
Contact: Phoebe Galt, [email protected]
Press Contact: Phoebe Galt [email protected]