Monday, July 6, 2015

HOT STUFF: Schoharie BOS Chair Letter to Cuomo re: Infrastructure

Link to this:

Friends, I think this is extremely important.

I spoke to at least 3 people on the phone today discussing how we can connect all of our infrastructure  battles into a single one.

Then, this hit my inbox!
(Sometimes miracles happen quickly)
  1. LETTER from the Schoharie Board of Supervisors Chairman to Gov. Cuomo asking for an "IMMEDIATE FREEZE" on new air+water quality permits on gas infrastructure projects!!

  2. Note from Glenn Saunders about letter's distribution
  3. Related Press articles.
Please share widely if you think this is important, especially with elected officials, as per Glenn Saunders request.


Related Links:


Plain text of letter:

Schoharie County Board Of Supervisors
P.O. Box 429, County Office Building
Schoharie, NY 12157
Phone: (518) 295-8347 Fax: (518) 295-8482

June 11, 2015

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224

Dear Governor Cuomo:

In April of this year, the Medical Society of the State ofNew York passed a Resolution calling for  "governmental assessment of the health and environmental risks that are associated with natural  gas pipelines." The Schoharie County Board of Supervisors then passed a Resolution calling for all  NY County governing bodies to support the MSSNY request.

Just this week, the American Medical Association passed a Resolution at their Annual Meeting in Chicago "that our AMA recognize the potential impact on human health associated with natural  gas infrastructure; and be it further

Resolved, that our AMA support legislation that would require a Comprehensive Health Impact  Assessment regarding the health risks that may be associated with natural gas pipelines."

I encourage you to look into the detailed 'Whereas' sections of these Resolutions. There is a strong parallel between the rationale for the physicians' concerns about natural gas infrastructure and delivery systems, and the concerns expressed by Commissioner Zucker last December about health impacts of  unconventional shale gas wells.

In the interests of a consistent and proactive policy of protecting public health and safety, I would hope that you take the following steps in response to the MSNNY and AMA Resolutions:
  1. Ask the NY DEC to institute an immediate freeze on new air and water quality permits for all natural gas infrastructure project applications;
  2. Ask the NY DOH to gather and review all research available which is relevant to the concerns expressed in the Resolutions described above; and
  3. Follow the same steps and rationale in assessing the public health and safety impacts of gas pipelines and related infrastructure as were developed in the case of unconventional shale gas wells.
Thank you very much for your consideration of this request.

Best Regards,


Richard Lape, Chairman
Schoharie County Board of Supervisors

Letter from Glenn Saunders:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Glenn Saunders
Date: Mon, Jul 6, 2015 at 9:06 PM
Subject: Re: Lape letter to Cuomo?
To: William Huston <>

Hi Bill –

The attached letter was sent to every County Clerk in the state with a request for consideration and consultation. So far, zero responses. If you know people who are county legislators, or who know county legislators, please encourage them to bring this letter to the attention of their executives or chairs, and to ask for some action on it. Feel free to spread this effort as far and wide as possible. And if any legislators want to speak with one of the originators in Schoharie, please have them contact:

Gene Milone
Supervisor, Town of Schoharie
Also, of course, feel free to give me feedback as desired.
Thanks!! Glenn
Sent: Monday, July 06, 2015 6:36 PM
Subject: Lape letter to Cuomo?

Hi Glenn, do you have a copy of the June Lape letter to Cuomo you could send me, mentioned in these articles? Thanks!!


    The Daily Gazette
    Wednesday, July 1, 2015

    Report says dangers are equivalent to fracking
    By Kyle Adams
    Schoharie County officials ask new studies on gas lines
    Photo of
    Easement area of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline, near the Iroquois Pipeline Operating Company, in the Town of Wright, on Westfall Rd. in Schoharie County.
    SCHOHARIE COUNTY — While the state Department of Environmental Conservation officially banned hydrofracking this week, some Schoharie County officials have been leading a push for the same kind of scrutiny to be applied to natural gas pipelines and compressor stations.
    Four county supervisors joined environmental and medical groups in Albany in April to call on the state to undertake a comprehensive health impact assessment before granting new permits, and now they're working to get other counties on board.

    "A lot of people who were working on the fracking issue now want the governor and the DEC and the [Department of Health] to take the same consistent, proactive approach with gas pipeline infrastructure as they did with gas development," said Glenn Sanders, a Schoharie resident heavily involved in the movement. "The regulatory regime for reviewing these projects and issuing permits is fundamentally inadequate from a medical standpoint, from a public health professional standpoint."

    Medical professionals and others are concerned about the harmful effects of compressor stations in particular, which David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany and one of the researchers in the state's fracking study, called "among the worst of all the fracking infrastructure."

    In the study, which included five states in which fracking is allowed, he said more than 40 percent of air samples from compressor stations exceeded federal regulations for certain chemicals like benzene, formaldehyde, methane, and hydrogen sulfide. The result, he said, was that people near the stations suffered noticeable health effects, like nose-bleeds, sore throats, and respiratory problems.

    "The air was being very contaminated, and the compressor stations were the worst of all," he said. "Everyone thought we won the battle when fracking was prevented, but this is just now sneaking in the back door."

    The fracking battle, however, set the stage for this fight in more ways than one. Not only are the activist networks established and armed with information, but the DEC's findings, released Monday, noted that the infrastructure associated with fracking "has the potential to create adverse impacts" on the environment and human health.

    "The finding statement lays the groundwork for this consistent, proactive approach that we're advocating," Sanders said.

    As the home of the Wright Compressor Station, Schoharie County is positioned to be a hub for the transport of natural gas from Pennsylvania and North Dakota to markets in the Northeast and overseas. Already, two new pipelines are proposed to cross the county, along with an upgrade at the Wright Compressor Station and the construction of two new compressor stations in the town of Schoharie.

    The more advanced of those two pipelines, the Constitution Pipeline, is currently waiting only on a few final water-related permits from the DEC. The second, the Northeast Energy Direct Project, has not yet received approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee.

    Schoharie County leaders are also reaching out directly to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
    In a letter to Cuomo dated June 11, Schoharie County Board of Supervisors Chairman Richard Lape called for an "immediate freeze" on new air and water quality permits for natural gas infrastructure projects — which, notably, would halt the Constitution project— as well as a review of all research concerning the health effects of pipelines and compressor stations and the application of the "same steps and rationale" in assessing natural gas infrastructure as were applied to fracking.

    While the pipelines would carry natural gas from hydrofracking operations in Pennsylvania to markets well beyond Schoharie County, there are some promised local benefits: hundreds of good-paying union jobs for about 18 months during construction, and, in the case of Constitution, some local natural gas connections.

    But town of Schoharie Supervisor Gene Milone, who attended the rally in Albany in April, said he'd be happy to forgo those benefits in the name of public safety.

    "That far supersedes what happens to business, as far as I'm concerned," he said. "There's just no excuse for us not to protect the health and safety of the people we represent."


    Officials To NYS: Take A Second Look At Pipelines
    By Dave Lucas • 

    Credit © Copyright K A and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
    Now that New York state's Department of Environmental Conservation has officially banned hydrofracking, officials in Schoharie County would like the state to take a closer look at natural gas pipelines and compressor stations.

    Although there won't be any fracking in New York, products of the process will move from Pennsylvania across the Empire State via pipelines which run through compressor stations. Natural gas, when transported through a pipeline, must be constantly pressurized at intervals of 40 to 100 miles.

    Pipeline plans call for the Wright Compressor Station in Schoharie County to be joined by two others, being built in the town of Schoharie.  Richmondville Town Supervisor Richard Lape:  "The new ones are for the most part, carry the hydrofracking gas that's coming through our communities."

    The two stations each will uniquely service two pipelines awaiting federal approval, the Constitution and one to be built by the Northeast Energy Direct Project. "We already have two, maybe more than two in our county. One of course at the Westfall Road site in the town of Wright, and a large compression station at Route 20 in the town of Calisle."

    Lape, who chairs the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors, dashed a letter off to Governor Andrew Cuomo in early June, asking that an "immediate freeze" be placed on new air and water quality permits for natural gas infrastructure projects, and that all research concerning the health effects of pipelines and compressor stations be reviewed.    "If you read, if you note the letter, I think the concerns are due to possible emissions into the atmosphere."

    Studies of air in the vicinity of compressor stations have revealed alarmingly high numbers of certain chemicals and people living near the stations have experienced symptoms including nosebleeds and respiratory difficulties.
    Director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany David Carpenter, who participated as a researcher in the DEC's fracking study, calls compressor stations among the worst of all the fracking infrastructure.  "Our previous studies showed that some of the most serious air pollution came from the compressor stations. There needs to be a statewide analysis of the health of the population of New York from these compressor stations, and my recommendation is that this be done through the local health departments."

    Carpenter notes a DEC study that included five states where fracking is allowed, showed more than 40 percent of air samples from compressor stations exceeded federal regulations for certain chemicals like methane, benzene and hydrogen sulfide.

    The clock may be ticking, but Lape and other Schoharie County officials are hoping to see the "same steps and rationale" taken in assessing natural gas infrastructure as the state applied to fracking. "The building doesn't actually start - we've been updated at our town board meeting recently  - until the earliest would be this fall, but they don't even believe themselves it'll start until March of 2016."

    Pipeline company officials did not respond to requests for comment.
    The Daily Gazette
    Sunday, July 5, 2015

    Conduct more research on gas compression stations

    They seem kind of benign, right?

    They're pipes. They just sit there. What harm could they do?

    But the kind of pipes that carry natural gas are hardly benign, as gas that flows through them has to be repeatedly compressed and repressurized in order to keep it flowing over hundreds of miles.
    And it's that process, along with the facilities located along the pipelines where it takes place, that has health professionals and government leaders in Schoharie County worried about the impact on the surrounding air and on the people who breathe it.

    And it's that concern that has officials calling on the state to lend the same scrutiny it employed in deciding to prohibit hydrofracking to the issue of gas discharges from natural gas pipelines.

    Given the potential health issues, it would be irresponsible of the state not to take action.

    Schoharie County is the proposed home of two major pipelines that will carry natural gas from Pennsylvania and the Dakotas where it is produced to markets throughout the Northeast. Attached to the pipelines are so-called "compressor stations."

    The natural gas that enters the pipeline system on the production end loses pressure as it wends through pipes along the countryside. Therefore, every so often, about 40-70 miles or so, the gas has to be repressurized in order to keep it flowing. Without these compression stations, the gas wouldn't get to its final destination.
    The problem is that these compression stations discharge toxic chemicals into the air, chemicals like benzene, formaldehyde, methane and hydrogen sulfide — a poisonous, explosive, corrosive gas. Depending on when the chemicals are discharged, in what amounts, and in what proximity to people, they can cause serious health issues, including cancer, respiratory problems and other ailments.

    A recent study on hydrofracking in five states found numerous instances in which the amount of these chemicals in the air exceeded federal standards. A separate study dated Feb. 25 of this year, conducted by the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project on the health impacts of compression stations, found that discharges often vary in duration and amount. Sometimes, scientists found, the compression stations discharged relatively little toxic gas into the air. At other times, they discharged quite a lot.

    For instance, two compression stations in Pennsylvania discharged 19 different chemicals. A study of two Texas stations found that discharges of 14 chemicals in air samples exceeded that state's environmental standards. Those are just two examples from the 23-page study.

    The discharges occur during regular operations, as well as through leaks and accidents. So-called "fugitive emissions" through valves, connectors and other parts tend to increase as equipment ages and breaks down, the report stated. During scheduled or accidental "blowdowns," gases can be discharged 100 to 200 feet into the air as part of a process that can last as long as three hours.

    Those living near the stations have experienced such health problems as respiratory and throat irritation, weakness, fatigue, body aches and sleeplessness.

    While there's still a lot more research to be done on the potential health impacts, it's clear that the experiences so far warrant further investigation.

    This isn't a phony problem contrived by pipeline opponents as a last-ditch attempt to kill the projects. Their concerns, as evidenced by the experiences on existing pipelines and compression stations, are legitimate and should be taken as seriously as the state took health concerns about the fracking process itself.

    The state departments of Health and Environmental Conservation need to heed the evidence and conduct comprehensive health assessments of these pipeline projects before granting any new permits.
    The pipelines will be there for a long time. And so will the adverse health impacts they create.

May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)

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