On Monday, June 20, community members from MA, NY, CT, and RI delivered a letter to state senators urging them to take action against Spectra and FERC. Three FRRACS members delivered the letter to staffers for Senators Markey and Warren. Read the press release below for more details and photos.
New York: Nancy Vann, ResistAIM, (646) 831 - 5811
Connecticut: Dan Fischer, Dragonfly Climate Collective, (203) 258 - 7862
Rhode Island: Nick Katkevich, FANG Collective, (401) 559 - 6218
Massachusetts: Marla Marcum, Resist the Pipeline (West Roxbury), (781) 475-0996
*** For Immediate Release ***
June 21, 2016
Community members deliver letter to Senators across four states asking to halt Spectra Pipeline and for FERC investigation
120 Organizations sign on to letter to Senators Warren and Markey (MA), Reed and Whitehouse (RI), Gillibrand and Schumer (NY), Murphy and Blumenthal (CT)
New York, NY – Yesterday, community members and advocacy groups delivered an organizational sign on letter to their respective senators in New York City; Hartford, CT; Providence, RI; and Boston, MA, calling on them to demand that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) immediately halt Spectra Energy’s massive gas infrastructure buildout of the Algonquin pipeline across their states, which includes the Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM), the Atlantic Bridge, and the Access Northeast projects. Further, the letter, signed by 120 organizations, asks the senators to call for a Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigation into the abuses of power and law by FERC. In New York, if completed, the AIM Pipeline will carry high-pressure methane gas through residential communities and within 105 feet of critical Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant safety facilities. A pipeline rupture that impacted Indian Point could make New York City uninhabitable for more than 24,000 years.
"From the shalefields communities that are facing the onslaught of fracking, to those living along Spectra's pipeline route, to people around the world who are facing the impacts of climate change, Spectra’s fracked-gas pipeline expansion is a disaster. If our Senators are at all concerned about reducing harm, they should take immediate action to stop Spectra,” said Nick Katkevich, of the FANG Collective.
Nancy Vann, president of Safe Energy Rights Group (SEnRG) noted that, "Although the Indian Point nuclear facility has experienced more frequent and more dangerous failures over the past year and must be shut down immediately, that alone would not resolve the risks from the Algonquin pipeline's proximity to the plant. There would still be more fissionable radioactive material at the site than was at Fukushima. It's unthinkable to risk that type of accident and the devastating effects it could have on New York City and surrounding areas.”
"We are grateful to Senator Murphy for his recent filibuster, supported by Senator Blumenthal, to push Congressional action to reduce gun violence, which kills more than 30,000 Americans each year. Now they must raise their voices to stop another epidemic with tragic consequences. Carbon emissions are pouring into our atmosphere, heating our planet past sustainability for humans and other life, leading to an additional 250,000 deaths a year between 2030 and 2050,” said Melinda Tuhus of Beyond Extreme Energy. “We urge Senators Murphy and Blumenthal to join NY Senators Schumer and Gillibrand in calling for an immediate halt to the Spectra AIM pipeline construction.”
"FERC approves nearly every gas infrastructure project that it evaluates, and Spectra's AIM Pipeline was no different. A project as dangerous as the AIM Pipeline is for four different states, as well as the region and beyond, should never have proceeded to this point. Even though construction has started, it is not too late to stop it,” said Marla Marcum, Resist the Pipeline (West Roxbury). “Construction must be halted immediately and an investigation of FERC must follow. We need all of our senators to take the steps necessary to make sure that happens.”
Across the four states, community members, activists, and local elected officials have consistently opposed Spectra’s continued construction. This multi-state letter to the Senators comes after years of residents and grassroots groups actively engaging in the regulatory process, only to be ignored by FERC. The City of Boston, the Town of Dedham, and many grassroots groups have filed a lawsuit in Federal court challenging FERC approval of the project. In February, NYS Governor Cuomo called on FERC to immediately halt construction while the state undertakes a multi-agency independent risk assessment. FERC denied this request. Just last month, NYS Senators Schumer and Gillibrand also called on FERC to immediately halt construction. Last week MA Senators Warren and Markey demanded that FERC withdraw the environmental assessment for the Atlantic Bridge project after a potential conflict of interest in the process was exposed, and urged FERC to conduct a new and objective review of the environmental impacts of that project.
Susan Van Dolsen, Co-Founder, Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (SAPE) added, “Now our suspicions about the industry's control over FERC have been laid bare by the revelation of a direct conflict of interest regarding the company hired as a 'third-party' to conduct the environmental reviews for Spectra's three projects on the Algonquin line. Choosing a 'third-party' company that has direct ties to Spectra through a gas industry consortium is like having the fox guard the henhouse and unsurprisingly, this has resulted in Spectra receiving a rubber-stamp approval from FERC for the ill-advised AIM project."
FERC is a rogue agency that is funded by the oil and gas industry, and it will not act in the public interest unless it is made to do so. Therefore, it is critical that the senators along the pipeline route protect their constituents, their states, the country, and the planet against the dangers of this project that range from air and water contamination, to public health crises, to economic crises, to escalating global warming (gas pipelines like AIM release methane, which is at least 86 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide). Advocates and communities across all four states are demanding that their senators make FERC halt construction until an investigation of the FERC approval process for this project can be carried out.