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Forum on Gas Pipeline Project Happening in Mahopac Thursday

A proposed gas pipeline expansion project – Spectra Algonquin’s Incremental Market (AIM) – is expected to go through Rockland County, cross the Hudson River and enter Westchester County near the Indian Point nuclear facility and then continue through Putnam County into Connecticut and through New England. 

Project officials hope to win approval by January 2015 and following a 2-year construction period, the project should be ready to start up by December 2016. 

"The Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) Project will offer a cost-effective, long-term solution for moving domestically abundant supplies into the Northeast to help meet the region's growing need for affordable, clean burning natural gas," Marylee Hanley, a spokesperson for Spectra Energy, told Patch

"According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) natural gas pipelines are the safest form of energy transportation," Hanley said. 

Several local groups, including the Community Watersheds Clean Water Coalition, Inc., disagree. Group members have voiced their concerns against the project citing "pipeline safety risks and health impacts."

Suzannah Glidden, Board director and treasurer for the Community Watersheds Clean Water Coalition, Inc., said natural gas pipelines and compressor stations are subject to leakage and explosions. 

"Health impacts from compressor stations include nosebleeds, headaches, dizziness, skin rashes, respiratory, developmental and neurological problems, breast, kidney and liver cancer," Glidden said.

Experts from across the country who specialize in gas infrastructure, air quality and energy safety will address the public in an educational forum Thursday (Dec. 12) regarding pipeline safety risks and health impacts from Spectra Energy’s Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) project. The events are sponsored by the grassroots group, Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (SAPE). 

More than 40 groups from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts are cosponsoring the event. 

"Because of the health impacts and safety risks to people, pets and wildlife, there is the potential for grave illnesses and reduced property values and quality of life," Glidden told Patch.

Spectra Energy's Hanley told Patch that he company has delivered safe and reliable natural gas to this region for 60 years.  

"Spectra Energy has an outstanding safety record, and the Algonquin Incremental Market Project will be built to meet or exceed all Federal safety requirements and regulations," she said. 

In addition to the issues related to air emissions, Marian Rose of Community Watersheds Clean Water Coalition said the expanded pipeline would "traverse the East-of-Hudson watershed" that supplies NYC and Westchester with critically needed drinking water.  

"CWCWC deems this to be an unacceptable risk - adequate supplies of safe drinking water are more essential, in our opinion, than expanded supplies of natural shale gas destined for other regions," she said. 

The forum is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 12 at the Mahopac Library, 668 Route 6 in Mahopac, from 7 to 9 p.m.

For more information on the forum and the speakers, click here.

For more information on the Spectra Algonquin’s Incremental Market (AIM) project, click here.

For more information on what Community Watersheds Clean Water Coalition, Inc. has to say about the project, visit www.newyorkwater.org.

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