SAPE’s fight to stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion was featured in this piece on The Guardian.
Please watch, then act.
Are you willing to resist the pipeline through non-violent direct action? If so, join and sign The Pledge to Resist.
Urge Elected Officials to demand FERC rescind their approval of the Spectra Algonquin Pipeline!
Our elected officials must use the power of their office to publicly demand that FERC rescind its approval of the AIM pipeline expansion project. They must insist on an independent, transparent and comprehensive risk assessment of the AIM pipeline’s siting next to Indian Point. Click here for more info.
New information obtained in FOIA documents from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission shows:
~NRC used falsified information to justify its conclusion that there is no additional risk posed by the siting of the AIM gas pipeline adjacent to the Indian Point nuclear facility.
~NRC knowingly used improper calculations that significantly underestimate the danger, do not comply with its own regulations, and defy the laws of pipeline thermodynamics.
~NRC used handwritten, unsigned, undated, falsified calculations to claim that this massive high-pressure natural gas pipeline only 105 feet from vital structures at Indian Point will pose no additional threat.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) approval of the AIM pipeline project was based on this false information. Had the NRC used accurate information and correct methodology concerning the dynamics of a pipeline rupture, the blast impact radius would be significantly larger and the siting of the pipeline alongside Indian Point would most certainly not have been approved.
According to the leading national pipeline expert, Rick Kuprewicz,”it appears the permitting agencies are attempting to take advantage of a loophole that permits the NRC to dismiss risks if such analysis can be categorized below a certain threshold value, while ignoring the severe consequences that might prevent the nuke plant to safely shutdown.” Kuprewicz further states, “Agency studies create the appearance of risk management tampering to favor a project agency decision and raise the question, Are involved agencies capable of performing a scientifically neutral study for such a sensitive issue?” “A truly independent safety analysis should be performed, subject to a reasonable open peer review. Security claims should not be permitted to shelter malfeasance in a scientific method involving incomplete risk analysis for such a highly sensitive infrastructure.”
Nuclear Regulatory Commission Withheld and Misrepresented Critical Information Used to Evaluate and Approve the Siting of the Spectra AIM Pipeline Alongside Indian Point
Montrose, NY, On Wednesday, July 15, 2015, at the Hendrick Hudson Library, at a special presentation to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) Petition Review Board, nuclear expert Paul Blanch revealed that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission withheld and misrepresented critical information used to evaluate and approve the siting of the Spectra Algonquin Incremental Market Project’s 42-inch diameter gas pipeline adjacent to the Indian Point nuclear power plant. Therefore, the Certificate for the Spectra AIM project, issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on March 3, 2015, which was based on the NRC’s faulty analysis, must be rescinded immediately.
Mr. Blanch began his presentation to the NRC in a room filled with over 15 elected officials and 80 members of the public with this powerful statement:
“The NRC has threatened the safety of more than 20 million residents and the infrastructure of the greater NY metropolitan area and is risking trillions of dollars of damage and possibly the US economy by basing its safety assessment on a calculation that was recently obtained from the NRC under FOIA.This new information confirms that this NRC ‘calculation’ which was partially handwritten, unapproved, undated and unsigned, used fictitious, false and unsupported assumptions. This NRC calculation supported the FERC approval of the AIM project and the transportation of thousands of tons of TNT equivalent across and in the vicinity of the Indian Point nuclear plants. This ‘back of the envelope-type calculation,’ which misled Congressional representatives, FERC and the general public, must be invalidated and an independent, transparent, structured risk assessment, as outlined in an Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) methodology, must be undertaken.”
Nationally recognized pipeline expert Richard Kuprewicz, engaged by the Town of Cortlandt to analyze the project, provided formal comments to FERC in November and December. Mr. Kuprewicz participated in the NRC Petition Review Board call. He stated:
“In reviewing the various analyses of information provided to date, it has become obvious that those attempting to perform rupture dynamics of the 42-inch pipeline should not be doing such work, as their analyses consistently fail to capture the fundamental basics of gas pipeline rupture dynamics, especially on this system in the vicinity of the nuclear plant. From my perspective, it appears the permitting agencies are attempting to take advantage of a loophole that permits the NRC to dismiss risks if such analysis can be categorized below a certain threshold value, while ignoring the severe consequences that might prevent the nuke plant to safely shutdown.”
Mr. Blanch discovered the new information through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request of NRC correspondence resulting from a letter to Assemblywoman Sandy Galef from the NRC. The links to the FOIA documents are available here:
Assemblywoman Galef, who hosted the press conference prior to the presentation said, “At the press conference I joined my colleagues and elected officials to hear more about the grave concerns with the siting of the Spectra AIM pipeline so close to the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant. We will continue to advocate for greater scrutiny and a halt to this project unless and until it can be determined that this is safe. Right now, we have no such assurances.”
According to another FOIA of until-now-private NRC emails, a rupture of a gas pipeline of this pressure and diameter, would release about 4 kilotons of energy a minute. To put this in perspective, the nuclear blasts at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were about 15 kilotons. While this energy release wouldn’t cause the same type of damage, it could cause continuous explosions, which could destroy systems required to shut down the Indian Point reactors, which could cause major release of radioactive material that could impact a 50 mile radius (like Fukushima). Yet, the NRC continues its claim of “no additional risk.”
The risk analysis performed by Entergy and confirmed by the NRC states that if the pipeline ruptures, Spectra Energy’s operators in Houston would be able to shut down the gas flow in 3 minutes. Most gas line ruptures require field verification, which takes additional time. When a pipeline in San Bruno, CA ruptured, it took hours to get it under control.
If the NRC had used accurate information concerning the dynamics of a pipeline rupture, the impact radius of the explosion and heat flux would have been dramatically expanded. This would have demonstrated that a rupture could lead to a total electrical failure including back-up systems regardless of whether they shut the valves in 3 minutes or 1 hour.
Had the NRC provided accurate information to FERC and the involved agencies, the siting of the pipeline alongside Indian Point would most certainly not have been approved. While Fukushima was caused by an unforeseeable tragedy, putting the AIM pipeline next to Indian Point creates the potential for an avoidable tragedy.
 NRC FOIAs 2015-00176 and 0246 include an NRC internal email that discusses gas release rate of 376,000 kg per minute, which is nearly 1 million pounds per minute of explosive gas. Natural gas contains 10 times the energy per pound than TNT.
“I’ve had over 45 years of nuclear experience and [experience in] safety issues. I have never seen [a situation] that essentially puts 20 million residents at risk, plus the entire economics of the United States by making a large area surrounding Indian Point uninhabitable for generations. I’m not an alarmist and haven’t been known as an alarmist, but the possibility of a gas line interacting with a plant could easily cause a Fukushima type of release.”
-Paul Blanch, Truthout, April 15, 2015
Please read Ellen Cantarow’s article in Truthout, “Doing the Unthinkable: Giant Gas Pipeline to Flank a New York Nuclear Power Plant,” and Alison Rose Levy’s article on AlterNet “Why on Earth did the Feds Approve a High-Pressure Gas Pipeline Near a Nuke Plant?“
Stop the Algonquin Pipeline Expansion (SAPE) is a grassroots organization with a mission to educate our fellow citizens and elected officials about the negative impacts associated with Spectra Energy Corporation’s Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) Project. SAPE opposes the AIM gas expansion project because it may exacerbate climate change, endanger our safety and quality of life, contaminate water, air and soil, cause harm to domestic animals and wildlife, and threaten farmland and property values.
Imminent Danger to Safety, Health and Property!
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is reviewing a proposed major expansion to Spectra Energy Corporation’s Algonquin natural gas pipeline and compressor stations (Algonquin Incremental Market AIM Project).
Action Steps You Can Take!
- Sign the Petition
- Contact your local, state, county and federal elected officials to request they secure the risk and health assessments called for in the resolutions before any permits are issued by Involved Agencies or FERC. Refer to our Elected Officials section for contacts.
- Read the Energy Brochure and learn about incentives and ways that homeowners and businesses can invest in conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable forms of energy.
- Write a Letter to the Editor of your local paper.
- Look at our Resources
- Join SAPE and volunteer to help with our efforts.
Two very successful educational forums were held on December 12, 2013 in Montrose and December 13, 2013 in Mahopac. Expert speakers Wilma Subra of Subra Company, Rick Kuprewicz of Accufacts, Matt Walker of Clean Air Council and Nadia Steinzor of Earthworks presented critical information about pipeline safety and health impacts from pipelines and compressor stations. Gary Shaw of Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition presented the dangers of siting the expanded pipeline near the Indian Point nuclear facility and on two fault lines. We encourage you to watch the speakers’ presentations on the video link below, read the speakers’ power point presentations and visit their websites as well as the Resources tab on this website. Please Contact Us if you have any questions about the presentations. We encourage you to ask questions of Spectra, FERC and your elected officials in order to understand the implications of the AIM project on the air, water, health and safety of Rockland, Westchester and Putnam residents, as well as those in the New England states that are proposed recipients of the gas.
- Algonquin Incremental Market Project (AIM Project) Spectra Energy Corp. (Wilma Subra)
- Pipeline Safety Operations on Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) Project (Rick Kuprewicz)
- Air Quality and Climate Impacts of Shale Gas Operations (Matt Walker)
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Forum Co-Sponsors: Air Soil Water; Better Future Project; Debby Bobson, Resident of Ardsley; Bronx Greens; Businesses Against Fracking NY; Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy; Catskill Mountainkeeper; Chefs for the Marcellus; Clean Air Council; ClimateMama; Coalition Against the Rockaway Pipeline; Community Watersheds Clean Water Coalition; Concerned Families of Westchester; Concerned Health Professionals of NY; Concerned Residents of Carmel & Mahopac; Cortlandt WATCH; Damascus Citizens for Sustainability; Delaware Riverkeeper Network; Essex/Passaic Green Party; Federated Conservationists of Westchester County; Food & Water Watch; Food & Water Watch NJ; GMOFreeCT; Grassroots Environmental Education; Hudson River Sloop Clearwater; Hutchinson River Restoration Project; Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition; League of Women Voters Rivertowns NY; New Jersey Sierra Club; New Yorkers Against Fracking; Northeast Organic Farming Association-CT; NYC Friends of Clearwater; NYH2O; Otsego 2000, Inc.; Pepacton Institute, LLC; Rockland Coalition Against Fracking; Roseland Against Compressor Station; SACRED; Sane Energy Project; Save Cummins Hill; Shut Down Indian Point Now!; Sierra Club Lower Hudson Group; Sister Carol De Angelo, Sisters of Charity; Stop the Minisink Compressor Station; The Mothers Project; Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Briarcliff, Croton and Ossining; United for Action; WESPAC; Westchester for Change; Westchester SAFE