Members of the Rensselaer County Legislature Thursday announced opposition to a pipeline proposed to be routed through areas of southern Rensselaer County, saying the planned project as now introduced has the potential to damage quality of life, the environment and fiscal well-being of residents and property owners.
The legislative resolutions are submitted for consideration amid a growing chorus of opposition from residents and local elected officials regarding the project proposed by Kinder Morgan to rout natural gas through the Northeast for possible overseas export. There are plans for a large gas compressor station to be located in Schodack as part of the pipeline project.
“We believe the pipeline project as now proposed is not a good deal for the people and property owners of Rensselaer County on a number of levels,” said Legislator Alex Shannon, chairman of the Legislature’s Environmental Committee.
Three resolutions have been filed for consideration at the legislative meeting, including one stating opposition to the pipeline proposed for routing through the towns of Schodack, Nassau and Stephentown. A second resolution opposes the granting of federal eminent domain rights and a third asks U.S. Senators Schumer and Gillibrand to take a stand on the proposed project.
Shannon is joined by Environmental Committee member Legislator Judith Breselor and Chair of the Legislature Martin Reid in sponsoring the resolutions opposing the proposed pipeline as now introduced.
Legislators said the pipeline proposal will have little benefit for the county, especially since the county and residents will be given no access to the natural gas carried on the lines. Property owners could lose significant portions of acreage where the project is not routed on rights of way while being compensated only a fraction for the project. That situation could result in a reduction of taxable value, causing budgetary difficulty for municipalities and the county, and a loss of property that can be used for future economic development efforts.
The gas compressor station has prompted concern from residents, as the project is likely to be over 20 acres and possibly located near residential areas. The station and the pipeline present numerous environmental, safety and quality of life issues for residents, municipalities and local emergency services.
“There is real concern about locating a gas compressor station as part of the pipeline project adjacent to neighborhoods in Schodack. Residents are rightly concerned about the possible reductions in safety, quality of life and property value,” said Breselor.
The pipeline project is being reviewed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Congressman Chris Gibson and Congressman Paul Tonko recently noted the public opposition and interest by asking FERC to extend public comment on the project. Legislators are hopeful U.S. Senators Schumer and Gillibrand can take a stand on the project.
“Hundreds of residents have turned out for a series of meetings on the pipeline project, registering very reasonable concerns about the impact of the project on their home, the environment, safety, quality of life and property values. We would like to see our Senators use their considerable influence to protect upstate residents from unfairly being hurt by this project,” said Reid.