People against Northern Access Project picket outside National Fuel, Environmental Assessment says project would not have significant impact

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) — A controversial gas infrastructure project that would run through 5 counties in Western New York is one step closer to moving forward.

People against the move picketed outside National Fuel’s headquarters in Williamsville Wednesday night. Today an environmental assessment released by FERC or the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission says the proposed project would not have a significant impact to people living around it, but residents aren’t convinced.

“Tell me that you want this in your backyard honestly because if so show us proof that this is a safe and reliable infrastructure cause in our experience it’s not,” said Kimberly Lemieux, Pendleton Action Team member.

Dozens of residents who live near the proposed site of pipeline and a compressor station adjacent to Killian road in the town of Pendleton say the project could pose health risks and compromises their safety.

“The compressor will release some toxic chemicals into the air they can’t deny that they’re saying it’s safe levels but why would you want any levels of toxin being let into into your air,” said Carrie Munella, Pendleton Action Team member.

The Northern Access Project involves over 100 miles of pipeline that would go from Pennsylvania through 5 counties of Western New York including Erie and Niagara county. Residents are worried about how it could affect their quality of life.

“The greatest concern is the risk of their health and safety looking at the pipeline itself being a 24 inch gas pipeline under high pressure the risk of it exploding near a hazardous waste site,” said Lemieux.

Today an environmental assessment released by FERC says the project would not have a significant impact to the environment or people who live near it. National Fuel says the report is a major milestone for the project that they say will benefit the economy.

“National Fuel has committed to the public and in its pipeline application that not only will we meet but we will beat all federal safety codes all air permitting requirements,” said Karen Merkel, National Fuel spokesperson.

Today’s environmental assessment is only one step of the process, National Fuel expects FERC to grant the certificate of approval by sometime in late fall. If that happens National Fuel expects the project to be fully operational by November 2017.

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