On February 1, 2019, National Grid filed a petition with the New York Public Service Commission for a “Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need” (i.e. permission to build and operate) for a tiny 16-inch, 7.3-mile natural gas transmission pipeline. The purpose of the new pipeline is to beef up supplies of natural gas in the Capitol region of the state–around Albany. A public hearing was held yesterday in East Greenbush, NY and of course a group of antis who irrationally hate fossil fuels showed up to embarrass themselves.
The project is called the Pipeline E37 Reliability and Resiliency Project and would be built mostly in National Grid’s existing right-of-way. National Grid wants to begin building it later this year and says it will take three years to complete (which seems like a long time to us to complete such a tiny project).
The E37 Project would close the Albany Loop, an existing National Grid horseshoe shaped transmission line that travels from Troy to Bethlehem. The pipeline would be built in Albany and Rensselaer counties. National Grid says the E37 pipeline is necessary to enhance the reliability of the company’s Eastern NY service territory by allowing for diverse sources of natural gas to enter the distribution system.
Here’s how the left-leaning (always biased) Albany Times Union reported yesterday’s public hearing in East Greenbush:
The debate over a $70 million natural gas pipeline National Grid wants to build pitted environmentalists against a builders group at a public hearing Wednesday held by the state Public Service Commission.
The allied groups Stop NY Fracked Gas Pipeline and Community Advocates for a Sustainable Environment said the state shouldn’t approve the proposed 7.3-mile natural gas pipeline and called for alternative energy sources to be developed.
“If you continue to build fossil fuel infrastructure there’s no incentive to find alternatives,” said Becky Meier of CASE and SNYFGP.
For the Capital Region Builders and Remodelers Association, natural gas supplies are a major element for housing. Outside the hearing, the laborers’ union had a video board truck supporting the Pipeline E37 Reliability and Resiliency Project.
“Natural gas is a key factor in our building new home communities,” said Michele Brown of Belmonte Builders and immediate past president of the CRBRA.
National Grid says the pipeline is needed to improve service and reliability as it works to meet a one percent annual growth in demand for natural gas. The utility has proposed to build the 7.3 miles of pipeline from the town of Bethlehem in Albany County, crossing the Hudson River to continue in Rensselaer County through the town of East Greenbush and end in the town of North Greenbush. It would connect two existing pipelines.
The PSC held afternoon and evening hearings on the project Wednesday at the Red Barn in the East Greenbush Town Park.
CASE leaders said there was not enough public notification given about the hearings. Meier and Bob Connors said the organization will request more time from the PSC so that the group can conduct more in-depth research than has been done since it learned of the pipeline through legal ads about two weeks ago.
Frank Coppa of East Greenbush urged the PSC to extend the review of the pipeline. Coppa said, “This project deserves more study.”
Bob Connors of CASE and SNYFGP said more time is needed to study the project. He said the environmental groups only had a few weeks to prepare for the hearings.
George Riley of Laborers Local 190 said he had worked on previous gas lines and praised the safety of those projects.
Chelsea Zantay of Averill Park questioned the pipeline crossing the Hudson River as a potential hazard. Speaking about the river, Zantay said, “It’s a source pride in New York that we brought it back from the brink of disaster.”
National Grid is seeking to gain PSC approval to start construction this year. It estimates the project would be finished in 2022. (1)
Spotlight News did not report on the hearing, but did publish a write-up on the project:
National Grid is proposing to build a 7.3 mile, 16-inch diameter gas pipeline that would run from the Town of Bethlehem to the Towns of East and North Greenbush, crossing Albany and Rensselaer counties.
According to National Grid’s website, the project is officially known as the Pipeline E37 Reliability and Resiliency Project. It would “allow for a more reliable and resilient natural gas system for our existing customers in New York’s Capital Region” and it would complete the so-called Albany Loop, an existing horseshoe-shaped transmission main from Troy to Bethlehem.
In an email to Spotlight News, National Grid regional spokesperson Patrick Stella wrote that the project aims to improve National Grid’s Eastern Gate which has been found to be “supply-constrained,” which can be detrimental especially during its peak season in the colder winter months. It also hopes to limit the number of potential disruptions of natural gas usage to current customers and provide more natural gas options for Capital District residents.
Stella also wrote that National Grid has recently been working towards finding sustainable energy solutions like with its Newtown Creek Renewable Gas Project in 2015. In that project, the company worked to “inject renewable gas from wastewater and food waste into our gas system” in Brooklyn, New York.
The project would require numerous permits and have to be approved by several state and federal agencies including the state Departments of Agriculture and Markets, and Environmental Conservation. Construction is planned to commence this fall and end by 2021 or 2022.
The pipeline, running mainly in a west to northeast direction, will start around 885 feet north of the Bethlehem Gate Station on River Road in Bethlehem to the Troy Gate Station on Bloomingrove Road in North Greenbush. It would be buried at least 36 inches from the ground level in general and at least 60 inches if under roads and bodies of water.
National Grid also plans to restore the lands to their pre-construction conditions as closely as possible, after completion of the project.
Bethlehem Town Supervisor David VanLuven said that this project “barely touches Bethlehem and I don’t see an avenue through which the town can stop it, since it has such a minor impact in our town.” While he said he has not spoken with the town supervisors from East and North Greenbush, he said that he is remaining neutral towards the project since it is not presented as bringing fracked gas through the town.
For more information, call the project hotline at 518-554-8454, email the project team at [email protected], or visit www.nygasprojects.com/pipeline-e37-reliability-and-resiliency-project.htm. (2)
National Grid has published the following handy dandy flier about the project:
(1) Albany (NY) Times Union (Apr 10, 2019) – Natural gas pipeline subject of hearing in East Greenbush
(2) Delmar (NY) Spotlight News (Apr 10, 2019) – Proposed pipeline to stretch from Bethlehem to East and North Greenbush
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