Here’s a look at our press release about the upcoming public hearing in Stephentown, in case you’d like to share it with others.
STEPHENTOWN TOWN BOARD TO HOLD PUBLIC HEARING ABOUT NED PIPELINE MARCH 23RD
STEPHENTOWN, NY — On Monday, March 23rd at 7:00 p.m., the Stephentown Town Board will hold a public hearing at the Stephentown Volunteer Fire Hall, 35 Grange Hall Road, about the Northeast Energy Direct (NED) pipeline project, a large, high-pressure interstate transmission line proposed by Texas-based energy giant Kinder Morgan (through its subsidiary Tennessee Gas Pipeline) that would carry fracked gas (sourced from the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania and destined for New England) through parts of Albany and Rensselaer Counties on its way from Wright, New York to Dracut, Massachusetts.
The hearing was scheduled, following the approval of a motion by Councilman Philip Roder, at the Regular Meeting of the Stephentown Town Board on February 23rd, at the urging of dozens of concerned residents in attendance, including members of the local opposition group, Stop NY Fracked Gas Pipeline (SNYFGP), who presented the board with a strongly worded resolution (PDF) against the pipeline, and its many risks to health, safety and property owners’ rights, that it hopes the town will adopt.
At that February 23rd meeting, Town Supervisor Lawrence Eckhardt stated he had already received a large number of e-mails, letters and phone calls from concerned residents and the Board was researching the issue and considering the best way to act effectively in response to local concerns, including conversations with supervisors from neighboring towns, The Association of Towns of the State of New York and officials from Rensselaer County.
Eckhardt has since informed representatives of SNYFGP that the Board plans to act in response to the will of the town as expressed at this public hearing. He explained that attendees will be asked to state their names, where they live, their position for or against the pipeline and their reasons for that position. Numbers for and against the pipeline will then be tallied to determine the Town’s will.
Attendance on March 23rd is expected to exceed the near-capacity crowd that previously filled the same venue on February 5th for a SNYFGP-hosted forum, which many have called the largest meeting of its kind in Stephentown in recent memory. Over 180 residents and their elected representatives attended that meeting to learn more about the NED proposal and voice their concerns, which included lower property values, higher property taxes, the pipeline company’s taking of private land by eminent domain, the lower safety standards for pipelines in rural areas like Stephentown and the prospect of living in the so-called incineration zone. An even larger crowd attended SNYFGP’s latest forum at the Nassau Sportsmen Club on February 28th.
Pipeline safety is high on people’s minds all along the three-state route proposed for NED, thanks to five major pipeline incidents reported in January as well as previous high-profile gas pipeline explosions such as the one in 2010 near San Francisco that created “a wall of fire more than 1,000 feet high” and a resulting shock wave that was registered as a magnitude 1.1 earthquake by the United States Geological Survey. In addition, this month is also the 25th anniversary of the pipeline explosion that devastated North Blenheim, New York, about 80 miles West of Stephentown.
If Stephentown adopts a resolution against NED, it would be the first town in New York to do so, joining the list of 52 communities that have already taken a stand against Kinder Morgan and this project in Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire. Previously in New York, public officials such as Nassau Town Supervisor David Fleming have publicly voiced concerns about NED and The Schoharie County Board of Supervisors has passed two resolutions, one against NED in September 2014, and Resolution No. 35 against the related Constitution Pipeline, stating that county officials are “appalled” by the company’s trespassing on private land without permission and opposed to the use of eminent domain proceedings to “forcibly take private property from landowners.”
Stop NY Fracked Gas Pipeline (SNYFGP) is an all-volunteer group of concerned citizens who oppose Kinder Morgan/Tennessee Gas Pipeline’s Northeast Energy Direct (NED) project. We can be found online at http://stopnypipeline.org and on Facebook and Twitter.