(PEEKSKILL, NY) Wednesday afternoon, during a press conference in Peekskill, several members of the Westchester County Board of Legislators announced their actions intended to stop the harmful impacts of the Spectra pipeline recently authorized by County Executive Rob Astorino.  The press conference was held at the home of Nancy Vann, a homeowner directly in the path of the pipeline.  Both the existing and the super-sized new pipelines run through several Northern Westchester communities and will have adverse effects on local property values and harmful impacts on the natural environment.  Members of the County Board of Legislators have introduced a resolution urging New York State to freeze any air and water quality permits. They will also be submitting a petition to the United States EPA appealing the decision to issue air permits for the pipeline’s compressor station.  

The resolution was introduced and will be sponsored by Legislator Catherine Borgia (D-Ossining, Majority Leader), whose district includes Cortlandt, Peekskill and other communities that will be directly impacted by the pipeline.  Borgia explained, “natural gas pipeline infrastructure can expose us to many dangerous materials and as a result of the frequently documented evidence of accidents related to these projects, I believe we need to take any action possible to advocate on behalf of the homeowners, like Nancy Vann, and fight to protect their homes, property and the natural environment.”

Nancy Vann, a Peekskill resident and homeowner on the path of the pipeline stated, “Algonquin has already sued to take Reynolds Hills property by eminent domain. It is well established that having a high pressure gas pipeline crossing your property results in a decrease in the property's value - not just where the pipeline runs - but for the entire property. Will Algonquin pay for that decrease in value of our property - whether it is taken under an agreement or by eminent domain? Will Algonquin indemnify us for any damage the construction or a future pipeline accident does to people or to other property? Will Algonquin be responsible for paying increases in our insurance premiums due to this expanded pipeline? They just want to come in and take what they want and leave us with the dangers and the costs.”

Borgia’s resolution, co-sponsored by Legislators MaryJane Shimsky, Alan Cole and Catherine Parker will mirror a resolution recently adopted by the Rockland County Legislature.  The resolution urges the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to institute an immediate freeze on new air and water quality permits for all natural gas infrastructure project applications, and urges the New York State Department of Health to perform a thorough assessment of the public health and safety impact of natural gas pipeline infrastructure in New York State and publicly issue a written report of the findings.       

Legislator MaryJane Shimsky (D-Greenburgh) said, “The public's health and safety must come first, and there are too many unanswered questions about the impact of gas pipeline facilities to permit their expansion into our communities."

Legislator Alan Cole (D-Lewisboro), who also represents portions of Northern Westchester said, "I share with many a concern that the Spectra/AIM project poses real risks to the residents of Northern Westchester, with a major negative impact on our parkland, but with minimal benefits at best."

A Majority of Legislators submitted comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) opposing the issuance air quality permits several months ago.  

Earlier this summer, County Executive Rob Astorino tasked the Parks Department Commissioner with signing the license agreement to build the pipeline on sections of county owned land, including Blue Mountain Park in Peekskill.