Arguments Against the E37

Environmental Damage

  • Climate change endangers the future of our planet. We have to find alternatives. Achievement of the NY State goal of 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 is undermined by continued expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure.
  • New pipelines are very expensive and last a long time. We shouldn’t build long lasting pipelines when we know we need to transition soon to renewables in order to protect our climate.
  • All gas that comes into NY State is extracted through fracking. By expanding the gas capacity of this pipeline we are contributing to the health, safety and environmental problems associated with fracking for gas.
  • This pipeline would go under the Hudson River. If anything goes wrong it could endanger a vital resource.

Danger to the Community

  • There have been many dangerous gas line explosions. Although the chance of such an explosion is statistically low, we would not want to be the area with an explosion.
  • Three years of construction, which goes under the Hudson River and under busy Route 4 and Interstate 90, will cause great disruption to the community and the possibility of accidents.

Need not established: The Stated Average Winter Temperatures Are Not Supported In the Record, Do Not Support A New Pipeline, and Applicant Did Not Address Future Temperatures

  • Approval of the pipeline based on an application that relies on a need for supply due to certain average temperature days, without supplying that factual basis in adequate specificity to support a project of this magnitude, would be arbitrary and capricious. Even if that data were supplied, it would have to be sufficient to support such a need. Possible extreme cold days on the order of a few days a year would not constitute such a need. Nor would temperatures based on past data, without valid projections of what future temperatures, constitute such a need.
  • NiMo admits there never has been shut off and they don’t forecast one by a supplier, further undercutting the need requirement.
  • Furthermore there was no consideration of climate warming, which will require less gas to heat homes in the future.

The Application Does Not Provide An Adequate Factual History of Prior Outages Nor of Likely Future Ones.

  • The Applicant speculates that there might be an outage on a supply line on the one particular day when the average temperature is 5° F. But the Applicant provides no factual data about the likelihood of an outage. Outages cannot be presumed.
  • Nor does the Applicant provide factual data concerning its history of outages or of possible interruptions of supply from Dominion Energy Transmission Inc. (DETI) or of any of its suppliers. Without any factual data about past outages or interruptions of supply, or projections from Applicant about such in the future, the Commission cannot make a determination that outages could occur in the future. All such data must be present in the application for review by the public. Without this data, a Commission determination approving the pipeline would be arbitrary and capricious.
  • A project of this magnitude, which intrudes on the Hudson River and runs counter to efforts to move our State to clean energy, cannot be authorized, and the cost should not be passed on to ratepayers, merely to try to solve a 1.1% gap in peak hour usage when it has not been shown that conservation efforts would be impossible to solve that gap.  

Public Involvement

  • The Article VII Guide to The Certification Review Process For Major Electric and Fuel Gas Transmission Facilities has a lot to say about Public Involvement.
    • “The Commission strongly encourages applicants to voluntarily communicate with the public early in the project’s planning phase, as well as during all subsequent phases of the Article VII process.
    • Regardless of which tools are used, an applicant should identify its stakeholders and develop a public involvement plan with techniques and tools to communicate with the community.”
  • Instead it appears that National Grid has done only what is legally necessary.

Although National Grid (NGrid) has been preparing this proposal for nearly two years, the public just recently heard about it.

  • NGrid submitted an application to the Public Service Commission (PSC) on February 1, 2019 to obtain a “Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need.”  NGrid said they placed their first legal notice of the project on 3/13/19.  The PSC reviewed the application and found no deficiencies.  The PSC then moved forward with the process and held a Public Hearing on April 10th in East Greenbush.
  • Comments at the hearing solidly supported our contention that not enough time has been allowed (with a comment period set to end on 4/24/19) to do necessary research.
  • At the hearing we also learned that not all property owners who abut the project have been contacted and have given their approval.  We are asking the Public Service Commission to schedule hearings three months from now to give the citizens time to research and prepare testimony.
  • We request that the PSC schedule additional hearings in 3 months time to allow the public to do the necessary research to make meaningful testimony.

Non pipeline alternatives were not seriously considered

  • Conservation was not seriously considered.
  • In Westchester County, NY, state agencies have allocated over 250 million dollars to foster non pipeline alternatives instead of supporting Con Edison’s gas pipeline plans. This resulted in a Clean Energy PlanNYPA’s low cost financing, and ultimately Con Edison’s renewable incentives. These feasible alternatives should be carefully looked at and adopted by the Public Service Commission in Albany and Rensselaer Counties.
  • Why not use the rate hike money ($70,000,000) to incentivize the use of geothermal heat for new growth and pay entities to not use gas on the few peak days each year. With enough incentive we will come up with other alternatives.

Why does the public pay for infrastructure that the utilities make a profit from?

  • It turns out that new pipelines are paid for by ratepayer hikes. National Grid received permission nearly two years ago for a rate hike that included $70,000,000 for this project (assuming the project gets approved). Why don’t the utilities pay for infrastructure that they make a profit from?
  • If we keep allowing the utilities to invest our taxpayer funds to build more fossil fuel infrastructure there will be little incentive for the utilities to find alternatives and to transition to renewable sources.