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Protesters Disrupt Yorktown FERC Hearing On Pipeline With Song

Residents opposed to a proposed gas pipeline in northern Westchester County cite its proximity to the Indian Point Energy Center as a possible hazard.
Residents opposed to a proposed gas pipeline in northern Westchester County cite its proximity to the Indian Point Energy Center as a possible hazard. Photo Credit: File

YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y. -- Residents of Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties interrupted a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) public “scoping session” with a singalong on Monday at the Yorktown Community and Cultural Center.

Sung to the tune of the Beatles’ "Yellow Submarine," the protesters sang about the FERC being “a rubber stamp machine.” A spokesperson for the protesters explained that FERC deliberations are often deficient and incomplete, that public comments are ignored and that virtually every fossil fuel project presented to the commission has been approved.

FERC’s mission is to “regulate the interstate transmission of natural gas, oil and electricity,” but its funding comes from the fees it receive from the fossil fuel industry, the spokesperson said.

An April 7 article in Greenwire stated, “Employees at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission have deep ties to the industry they regulate, according to agency documents detailing their job negotiations and stock holdings” ( http://www.eenews.net/stories/1060016380 ).

The scoping session in Yorktown was for the Atlantic Bridge project, the second of three proposals by Spectra Energy to transport massive quantities of fracked gas through New York, into New England and then on to Canada and beyond.

FERC approved the first of the three Spectra projects, the Algonquin Incremental Market Project on March 3, and participants of the singalong object to FERC’s dismissal of many issues that were raised throughout the public comment period. The most alarming situation, the spokesperon said, is the siting of a new 42-inch diameter pipeline less than 150 feet from vital structures at the Indian Point nuclear power plant. A pipeline safety expert and a nuclear expert believe that the premise for the approval of the project is based on unverified assumptions that are in direct conflict with sound engineering principals and common sense.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission accepted the plant operator’s estimated three-minute time frame for the gas valves to be closed, but that time frame is not substantiated anywhere, according to the spokesperson for the protesters.

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