Thursday, November 16, 2017

First Report on XNG's Dog/Pony show in Otsego County tonight

A great first report on the XNG Informational Meeting tonight, by Nicole Dillingham, President of Otsego 2000.  -- BH

From: Nicole Dillingham
Date: Thu, Nov 16, 2017 at 11:48 PM
Subject: Fwd: XNG Informational Meeting
Date: November 16, 2017 at 10:49:02 PM EST
Subject: XNG Informational Meeting

The meeting started with a drab powerpoint presentation from Matt Smith, the XNG representative. It was followed by serial presentations by NYSDOT, the State Troopers, and Art Klingler, the Otsego County Emergency services Coordinator. It should come as no surprise that each of these presenters alternated between three points: 1)  telling us what a great job they are all doing keep us all safe; 2) telling us all of the many laws involved  that are being strictly complied with; and 3) telling us that we can call 911 or write to them if we notice any law violations or have any concerns whatsoever. A very cozy picture of wrap-around protection from our efficient police and first responder forces. NONE of them expressed any concern whatsoever for the reality of the situation.

This continued until the attendees became a bit exasperated. Someone living near Canadarago Lake stood up and asked "Why aren't you addressing the REAL question which is why are these trucks not on the interstate???" This created a breach in the dyke and the audience started launching questions from the floor. Matt Smith kept repeating the company line that there was no reason for concern, which did not make sense. The proceedings were recorded and those interested should view the video but here is a brief summary of what we learned:

XNG was founded in 2012 but did not start  transporting  gas for insertion INTO the pipeline at Manheim until 2017, so this is quite a new process.

XNG claims it was given a permit by Manheim to both insert gas and extract gas from the pipeline. (We do not believe this is true.)They stated they did not notify Towns along the route of the SEQRA proceedings because at the time they did not know what the routes would be. (This appears to be a violation of SEQRA.)

Currently XNG hauls approximately 40 loaded trucks to Manheim everyday. The same amount return unloaded. They would not disclose how many trucks they plan to eventually put on the roads. They also refused to disclose what number of trucks are used to deliver gas to end users. (It was  suggested that this was in the range of only 1%.)

XNG admitted that even is more pipelines are built they will continue to grow their "off pipeline" business and do  not see their business model as competing with pipelines.

We were told that the  canisters that hold the gas are like "scuba tanks" and could be safely  emptied and re-filled up  to a thousand times. They are to be re-tested very 5 years.

Also we were old that in the event of an emergency the gas would be released into the air and would do no harm to the environment and no risk of explosion or fire. (This seemed at odds with the need for trained emergency responders and evacuation of the community around any accident and prior accidents in which CNG fires occurred. These inconsistencies were never explained.)

The Company operates on a "drop and swap" model where trucks are emptied and then taken away to be refilled and brought back up.
The drivers are expected to do 2 round trips per day with 14 hour per shift limited to 11 hours of drive time.

The company chooses its routes strictly based on efficiency and safety. Efficiency is calculated based on directness of the  route, low traffic, and low tolls. Safety is ostensibly assured by compliance with applicable  regulations that apply to all trucks.  They carry 5 million in liability insurance. They claim to have an excellent safety record although 3 accidents have occurred this year alone. Each of the accidents is attributed to driver error although evidence exists that the drivers lost control due to lack of adequate shoulders.

When questions became bit  too challenging, the audience was asked to remain "respectful of our guests". The irony that XNG was not operating respectfully of the community was never considered.

Nicole Dillingham

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