An impacted landowner from Minisink, NY has taken the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to the State Supreme Court over the highly contested Minisink Compressor Station currently under construction by Millennium Pipeline, a subsidiary of NiSource Inc.
Community organizer, landowner and petitioner in the case, Pramilla Malick has alleged that DEC violated both state and federal law when it issued two permits for the project that will be located in the middle of a residential community with 200 homes within a half mile. Malick alleges that there will be health and safety risks imposed on the community from the project. Both DEC and Millennium Pipeline have filed motions to dismiss and the judge is expected to issue a decision any day.
M.U.S.T.—Mothers United for Sustainable Technologies—co-founder, Tanyette Colon has been following the 16-month Minisink compressor station battle and has produced two videos to highlight the struggle of community members in Minisink, NY. In Episode I: Throwing Stones at Goliath, it shows how Minisink is the projected hub for larger gas infrastructure. In Episode II (see below), it shows the struggle of this community as they fight this Goliath project that when built will be a potential health threat to the community.
“The DEC has become a rubber stamping agency and there is no one protecting New Yorkers," said Malick, who was forced to file the case pro-se because of the large expense in filing suit. “It is an unfair burden on a resident and a community.”
The New York State Attorney General’s office which also at times represents New York residents and communities against wrong doing is in this case obligated by law to defend the DEC.
A technical report released last Friday, is expected to be a major wrench in Millennium Pipeline’s plans to expand its natural gas infrastructure in New York’s Southern Tier. Richard Kuprewicz, a prominent engineer for national pipeline issues, and president of Accufacts, Inc., indicates that Millennium’s intention to postpone the upgrade to the 7-mile stretch known as the Neversink Segment would threaten the safety of residents all along the pipeline segment.
This report throws into critical doubt the viability of Millennium’s highly contentious $43 million compressor station project in Minisink, NY. Minisink residents, represented by the D.C.-based attorney Carolyn Elefant, have accordingly filed a motion for a reopening of the docket, as well as a stay of construction in light of the new data bearing directly on the case.
According to Kuprewicz, “The velocities on the 24-inch Neversink segment clearly exceed prudent design standards and safety margins establishing much lower actual gas velocities on pipelines that are intended to avoid gas transmission pipeline rupture. Such high actual gas velocities for a natural gas transmission pipeline raise serious questions as to the adequacy or completeness of any previous hydraulic studies or decisions that may have been used to justify approval of the Minisink Compressor Project. The Minisink Compressor Project is a very poor proposal and should be rejected.”
The controversial project has been strongly opposed by the Minisink community in a battle that has already lasted nearly a year and a half. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the project by an unprecedented slim margin—a 3 to 2 vote by commissioners. A rehearing is currently being considered by FERC, and if it’s denied Minisink can move on to federal court however residents are prevented from doing so by a FERC-issued tolling order. In the meantime, Millennium is fully underway with the project, despite intense local opposition and lack of a final legal determination. However, Kuprewicz’s report now directly confirms many of the communities’ concerns as solidly based in technical fact.
Minisink residents, as well as those in neighboring towns along the Neversink stretch of Millenniunm Pipeline, are concerned about the possibility of a major pipeline disaster occurring similar to the deadly explosion in San Bruno, California in 2010. As is currently the case in Minisink, residents in San Bruno were concerned about the safety of the gas line for years, and experts warned about the serious risks involved in stress to an aging pipeline system. Eight people died in the gas fires, and dozens of homes and structures were destroyed. Kuprewicz was involved in that case as well, pleading for those responsible to prevent such grave risks to a host community.
Minisink residents continue to be active in the campaign for a safer alternative plan—the community backed Wagoner Alternative. Only one more of the five commissioners need be swayed to overturn this historic decision.
New Zealand could be the first country in the world to require its major financial institutions to report on the risks posed by the climate crisis.
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By Brett Wilkins
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the meatpacking industry worked together to downplay and disregard risks to worker health during the Covid-19 pandemic, as shown in documents published Monday by Public Citizen and American Oversight.
<div id="13077" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="11b9fe5ff48ebc437353df6df9c2c892"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1305915938148147205" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Just a week before the Trump administration issued an executive order aimed at keeping meat packing plants open, th… https://t.co/DkbXgPm4YR</div> — ProPublica (@ProPublica)<a href="https://twitter.com/propublica/statuses/1305915938148147205">1600189597.0</a></blockquote></div>
<div id="36e4c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e7c8048c2755109629a3b3072fcb3261"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1304424041814593539" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Meatpacking union @UFCW, which reps workers at this plant (four of whom died), slams OSHA for the small $13k fine a… https://t.co/tnhfKd89ab</div> — Dave Jamieson (@Dave Jamieson)<a href="https://twitter.com/jamieson/statuses/1304424041814593539">1599833901.0</a></blockquote></div><p>The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, which represents Smithfield Foods workers, <a href="https://www.argusleader.com/story/news/crime/2020/09/10/osha-fines-smithfield-foods-sioux-falls-south-dakota/5768786002/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=f7bf3f03-ce98-4df4-9c45-f44d9a6a5890" target="_blank">slammed</a> the fine as "insulting and a slap on the wrist."</p><p>"How much is the health, safety, and life of an essential worker worth? Based on the actions of the Trump administration, clearly not much," said UFCW president Marc Perrone.</p><p>"This so-called 'fine' is a slap on the wrist for Smithfield, and a slap in the face of the thousands of American meatpacking workers who have been putting their lives on the line to help feed America since the beginning of this pandemic," Perrone added. </p><p>Other critics, including vegans, vegetarians, and animal rights and environmental advocates argued that the accelerated spread of Covid-19 from meatpacking facilities is but the latest compelling argument in favor of reducing—or eliminating—meat consumption.</p><p>"We know that Covid-19 originated in a meat market and that previous influenza viruses originated in pigs and chickens," People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) <a href="https://www.peta.org/blog/meat-shortage-slaugherhouses-go-vegan/" target="_blank">said</a> in April amid news that a Foster Farms slaughterhouse in Livingston, California was <a href="https://www.peta.org/blog/coronavirus-covid-19-slaughterhouse-meat-concerns/?utm_source=PETA::Twitter&utm_medium=Social&utm_campaign=0420::veg::PETA::Twitter::Workers%20Blame%20Major%20Pig%20Slaughterhouse%20600%20Infected%20COVID-19::::tweet" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">ordered closed</a> by local health authorities due to a Covid-19 outbreak that killed eight employees.</p>
<div id="28490" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="48ddd3480a2beb42597d9516ef652f0f"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1252416495990140929" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS! @SmithfieldFoods allegedly took NO PRECAUTIONS to protect the safety of its workers, leaving o… https://t.co/viAJ026pLy</div> — PETA (@PETA)<a href="https://twitter.com/peta/statuses/1252416495990140929">1587434336.0</a></blockquote></div><p>"It's not a matter of <em>whether</em> using and killing animals for food will give rise to another disease outbreak—it's a matter of <em>when</em>," said PETA. "There has never been a better, more obvious time for businesses to put an end to their dirty trade of slaughtering animals for their flesh." </p>
By Andrea Willige
More than half of the world's population lives in cities, and most future population growth is predicted to happen in urban areas. But the concentration of large numbers of people and the ecosystems built around their lives has also been a driver of climate change.