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editorial

Millennium answers intervener motions


September 21, 2016

Nearly 100 individuals, municipalities and organizations have moved to become interveners in the permitting process for the proposed Millennium Pipeline project called the Eastern System Upgrade (ESU), which will include adding horsepower to the compressor in the Town of Hancock and constructing a new compressor in the Town of Highland.

Numerous residents of the area submitted similar letters to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) outlining their concerns. The letters said, in part, “I will be directly impacted by the emissions, environmental degradation, safety threats, psychological impacts, health impacts, and other harms that will be inflicted by the proposed project by virtue of my proximity to it in terms of where I live, work and/or recreate.

“I am also concerned about the impacts of this project on the health and safety of my family, my friends and myself. I am particularly concerned about the increased pollution that will result from this proposal and the additional expansions and construction activity that it is a part of, and will necessitate.

“I am concerned about the impacts of the related portions of this project that are yet to come, and have not yet been disclosed by Millennium.”

In its response to the many concerns submitted to FERC on September 16, Millennium was typically dismissive. Regarding concerns about the possible impact on human health, the pipeline company wrote, “The project is designed to comply with all applicable requirements under the Clean Air Act… the emissions from the new compression will be well within the federal and state standards for new emission sources that are protective of human health and the environment.”

However, simply asserting that a project meets regulatory requirements does not mean it won’t harm human health. The Millennium project in Minisink met regulatory requirements and yet, when the compression station was turned on, the impact on the health of one family was so severe that they walked away from their home, and various other members of the community complained of various negative health impacts.

These have all been documented in a study (tinyurl.com/zduvehg) specifically of residents who live near the Minisink compressor station, conducted by the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project (EHP).