News > News > Safeguard Drinking Water > Pipelines > Leaders urge Gov. Cuomo to release independent safety analysis of AIM pipeline near Indian Point

Leaders urge Gov. Cuomo to release independent safety analysis of AIM pipeline near Indian Point

Town of Cortlandt, NY, March 22, 2018 — Prominent elected officials, leaders of local and national environmental organizations, and residents of the region joined at a press conference on March 22, 2018 at Cortlandt Town Hall to call on Governor Cuomo to release the risk assessment for Enbridge/Spectra’s AIM high-pressure gas transmission pipeline at Indian Point that he promised over two years ago.

In a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on February 29, 2016, signed by the Commissioners and Chairs of the Departments of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, Department of Environmental Conservation, Public Service Commission, and Department of Health, Gov. Cuomo referred to his view that “ongoing State investigations may reveal newly discovered information related to the environmental, health and safety risks posed by siting the Project near IPEC.”

The Cuomo administration hired a consultant, Henningson, Durham and Richardson, Architects and Engineers, PC, to conduct the taxpayer-funded risk assessment for a total cost of $250,000 that was supposed to have been completed by December 31, 2016 (see attached work order SB485).

The press conference was held prior to a meeting of the local Community Unity Task Force, formed by Cortlandt Town Supervisor Linda Puglisi after the announcement of Indian Point’s closure. A New York State task force was also created to analyze state and regional impacts of the plant’s closure. The yet-to-be-released risk assessment is critical to inform a current analysis by another consultant, DL English, which is evaluating the potential for redevelopment of the nuclear power plant site.

Paul Gallay, Riverkeeper President, said, “The AIM pipeline’s proximity to Indian Point threatens the entire region. The State undertook an independent risk assessment to quantify the dangers, but that study is now long past due. We’re calling upon the State to release the assessment to inform the public and to enable the perils of the pipeline to be best managed relative to operations at Indian Point and incorporated into the ongoing reuse study for the site.”

Though Indian Point is projected to close by 2021, the catastrophic risks posed by a potential pipeline explosion remain, due to the more than 1,500 tons of radioactive spent fuel stored indefinitely on-site. An article in Science documents how a huge fireball from such an explosion would result in the release of more radioactivity than the Fukushima accident, threatening more than 20 million people who live within the 50-mile radius of the plant.

Nuclear power expert Paul Blanch has worked on behalf of the State of New York regarding safety at Indian Point. He has consistently been calling for an independent risk assessment of the AIM pipeline’s siting at Indian Point for over three years. He submitted Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests to the four New York State agencies multiple times beginning in July 2016 and states “None of the commitments from the State to provide information have been met. We have been provided totally unrelated information from the state along with broken promises. The safety of the Indian Point nuclear plants is still my primary concern.”

Susan Van Dolsen, cofounder of Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (SAPE) said, “After two FOIL requests and a 6 month delay, I finally received a few emails last year with no substantive information from the New York State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) and was told that over 520 pages of documents were redacted. Governor Cuomo, what is the status of the $250,000 taxpayer-funded study and will it ever be released? We deserve to know what risks we are living with and what will be done about these risks.”

During the past two years, concerned elected officials have repeatedly requested updates on the risk assessment’s status at state hearings and meetings of the NY State task force. Assemblywoman Sandra Galef and Cortlandt Town Supervisor Puglisi have not yet received responses to letters sent to the administration in January and March of this year (attached). Supervisor Puglisi said, “The Risk Assessment for the pipelines’ close proximity to Indian Point’s nuclear plants needs to be completed by the State and made public. It has been two years in the study period and it’s time that the report is finalized.”

Safe Energy Rights Group President Nancy Vann said, “We wanted to review this study before the newest, even larger pipeline was operational. Now the State is paying for a site re-use study and the company doing that wasn’t even told about the three lines crossing the area. That’s no way to run a State or to spend taxpayer dollars.”

Pramilla Malick, founder of Protect Orange County said, “The corruption trial of Joseph Percoco revealed that Governor Couomo’s top aide was paid by Competitive Power Ventures to facilitate ‘whatever’ the company needed. CPV not only needed a multitude of state permits and a financing scheme, but they also needed the AIM Pipeline expansion to serve their power plant in Oxford Ct. The trial also showed the heavy hand Percoco had over all state agencies including the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Affairs. Is that the reason this pipeline was approved without a risk assessment? Only through oversight hearings, will we know. In the meantime the public has a legal right to an independent assessment. Release it now Governor Cuomo!!”

Organizers of the press conference noted that if the Governor does not release the risk assessment this month, they will return to the State task force meeting in April. Resist Spectra (pipeline) activist Rob May said, “We plan to keep stressing the urgency of this risk assessment at the state level and plan to escalate our request if the Governor is unresponsive. We need to do the de-commissioning of Indian Point right, and really, the risk assessment is the first step.”

Participants:
Riverkeeper, SAPE (Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion), Safe Energy Rights Group (SEnRG), IPSEC (Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition), ResistSpectra, Food & Water Watch, Croton Climate Initiative, NYPAN (New York Progressive Action Network), Peekskill NAACP, Healing and Protecting our Land Together: A Call to Prayer, Grassroots Environmental Education; Sierra Club Lower Hudson Group; Protect Orange County; and nuclear power expert Paul Blanch

Participating Elected officials:
New York State Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, Cortlandt Town Supervisor Linda Puglisi, Westchester County Executive George Latimer, Westchester County Legislator Catherine Borgia, Peekskill Deputy Mayor Kathleen Talbot and Peekskill City Council member Vanessa Agudelo

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