Hudson Valley Advocates Deliver 3,300 Comments Against Iroquois Fracked Gas

February 22, 2023

Today, Hudson Valley advocates held a press conference on the Iroquois Pipeline Company’s fracked gas expansion proposal with effects from Harpesville to Harlem.

The company has applied for an Article 19 State Air Facility Permit to expand toxic and unnecessary compressor stations in Dover and Athens in order to substantially increase the amount of fracked gas moved through their 37-year-old pipeline to New York City and Long Island.

Wednesday marked the close of a public comment period on the project, where speakers delivered 3,300 constituent comments demanding Governor Hochul’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) deny the permits. The proposal is the latest fossil fuel infrastructure proposal to come before the DEC, following state permit denials at the Danskammer, Astoria NRG, and Greenidge fracked gas facilities. Speakers called on Governor Hochul to follow the precedent and deny the Iroquois Pipeline Company their desired permits.

The proposal to increase fracked gas flow to New York City comes on the heels of stringent new local laws that are expected to decrease the demand for gas through the passage of Local Law 97 and the City’s all-electric building requirement that comes into effect next year. In her state budget, Governor Hochul endorsed a popular plan to move all of the state’s new homes and buildings off fossil fuels, further limiting the demand for expanded fracked gas infrastructure.

“Under Governor Hochul’s watch, the state of New York has so far denied proposals to expand fracked gas infrastructure — Iroquois’ plan to pump more gas through their aging pipeline must be no different. The proposal is nothing less than the fossil fuel industry’s last-ditch attempt at making a profit at our expense,” said Emily Skydel, Food & Water Watch Hudson Valley Senior Organizer. “New York needs less fracked gas not more. A shift to building electrification statewide through passage of the All-Electric Building Act will only underline this fact. Governor Hochul’s DEC must deny Iroquois its desired permits.”

“In 1996, Iroquois Pipeline Co. was fined, convicted and pleaded guilty to four felony counts for knowingly violating the Clean Water Act in the biggest criminal environmental prosecution since Exxon’s Valdez Oil Spill,” said Charlie Quimby of Concerned Citizens of Dover. “Company executives and subcontractors pleaded guilty of breaking environmental laws, and substandard construction methods. A New York Times article was quoted as the pipeline being a ticking ‘time bomb.’ It is by some miracle that there has not been a catastrophe. But I fear, increasing the pressure in this pipeline may have grave consequences.” 

“’’Iroquois’ Pipeline Company, National Grid, and Con Ed aren’t being truthful that there’s a NEED for more ‘natural’ gas in NYC. I say my former Athens students, all students, all people in fact, NEED to be assured that their future is safe via clean air and a viable climate. More toxic and greenhouse gas emissions from more fracked “natural” gas will deny the real NEEDS of the young and upcoming generations,” said Mary Finneran, Athens resident, retired teacher, and member NYPAN, FrackBustersNY and Sierra Club.

“Numerous studies have found that polluting industries, like the ‘Iroquois’ Pipeline Company, tend to disproportionately be located in low-income and minority-majority communities, commonly known as ‘environmental justice communities’ or ‘Disadvantaged Communities’ in the Climate Law,” said NYPIRG Intern Brianna Rodriguez. “New York has a long and tragic history of harming low income neighborhoods and communities of color by siting dangerous, polluting projects there. We must put an end to these injustices now!”

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    “Over the last decade, New York has achieved monumental victories for climate justice driven by dedicated people-power,” said Kim Fraczek, Director of Sane Energy Project. “The fossil fuel industry knows it is game-over for their extractive and toxic business practices, and the ‘Iroquois’ pipeline expansion is just another cunning dare to our state agencies to challenge how committed we are to our climate laws. The gas is heading for the territory of National Grid, the UK-based corporation that lied about having gas shortages in 2019 to profiteer from the Williams NESE pipeline, which was finally denied by the NYS DEC. We expect and demand the DEC deny the ‘Iroquois’ Pipeline Company’s application and make it clear that New York is only open for renewable business in order to follow our law.”

    “The Iroquois Pipeline Enhancement project falsely assumes that New York will expand its dependance on fracked gas – in defiance of our climate laws and economic trends towards decarbonization,” said Roger Downs, Conservation Director Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter. “The reality is that this aging pipeline, with its polluting compressor stations, puts New Yorkers at risk while undercutting the building electrification wave that is making our homes healthier and less expensive to heat and cool. DEC should honor this progress and NYS laws by denying the permit.”

    Listen to a recording of the press conference here.

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