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Algonquin’s response to pipeline concerns: Turn the gas on

Why we say ‘no’ to new fossil fuel projects

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photo-Northjersey-Pipeline-Walkers890x490Riverkeeper and a coalition of environmental and community organizations are urging a federal court to halt the dangerous AIM pipeline project before the gas is turned on next month.

On Monday Riverkeeper responded to unsupported arguments made by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the project applicant, Algonquin (whose parent company is Spectra) in opposition to Riverkeeper’s motion to halt the project.

In this brief Riverkeeper established that there is no evidence that FERC ever reviewed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s calculations and modeling and that FERC’s own documents reveal that it refused to use its own superior modeling software to evaluate the NRC’s analysis even when NRC itself requested that FERC do so. An independent safety risk analysis is needed because the NRC does not have any expertise in the construction, operation, and safety of natural gas pipelines and gas rupture dynamics.

The NRC’s analysis of the blast radius of a pipeline explosion next to Indian Point is based on several faulty assumptions regarding pipeline ruptures. It was completely unreasonable for FERC to rubber stamp an analysis performed by another agency that does not have the required expertise.

On Tuesday, the day after Riverkeeper filed its brief with the federal court, Algonquin asked FERC for permission to turn the gas on in the pipeline by next Friday, October 28, 2016. Algonquin plans to connect the partially constructed pipeline to a much older pipeline under the Hudson River since construction under the Hudson is not yet complete due to a violation related to their drilling practices. Clearly, Algonquin is trying to turn on the gas before the federal court has a chance to rule on Riverkeeper’s request to halt the project.

Riverkeeper has asked FERC to deny Algonquin’s request, and urged the federal court to rule on its motion before October 28.

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