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June 30, 2016 - July 7, 2016

July 6, 2016

Missing the point on Highland

Your editorial regarding the value of conducting a health study of the impact of the natural gas compressor station proposed for the Town of Highland by Millennium Pipeline Company makes a few good points, but it completely misses the most significant point of all.

Regardless of the outcome of even a good, thorough, unbiased study, and regardless of anyone’s opinion of the merits of the compressor station or of the environmental and health impacts of it, the fact remains that in July, 2012, the Town of Highland unanimously passed Local Law #3, stating that natural gas compression facilities (among other high impact industrial uses) are “hereby expressly and explicitly prohibited in each and every zoning district within the Town, and no building or structure shall be created, altered or erected, and no body of water, land or building thereon shall be used, for any of such uses or activities.”

In spite of that local law, Millennium has proceeded with their application for the compressor station, repeatedly indicating they are not subject to local zoning proscriptions, and county government injects itself into the mix, negotiating for the health study to which your editorial refers.

But Highland’s Local Law doesn’t prohibit compressor stations only if a health study determines they are harmful. The law is explicit in its wording and its intent and the current town board should stand behind it. Moreover, the only role the county should play in this scenario is to support the town’s zoning.
By asking for and negotiating for a health impact study, the implication is that the compressor station might be okay, depending upon the outcome of the study. And that is not what the Town law says.

The Highland Town Board should enforce its zoning laws, and the county should stay out of the town’s affairs.

John Conway
Barryville, NY