A statewide ban on fracking in New York, enacted by Governor Andrew Cuomo last December, protects residents and the land from the dangerous practice of extracting natural gas through drilling. However, the law doesn’t explicitly prohibit transporting natural gas through the state from other fracking sites, which is done via a network of pipelines. Spectra Energy has been pushing forward for years with a plan to expand its Algonquin Pipeline, and the latest efforts suggest the company will be putting over 20 million people in danger if the controversial project is approved.

The planned expansion, called the Algonquin Incremental Market project, would see the pipeline stretch across the New Jersey border, where it currently ends, and then through the states of New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. Residents along the path have been protesting Spectra’s high pressure pipeline for years, to no avail. Spectra’s plans to expand the current pipeline would send new mileage within 110 feet of volatile materials at Indian Point nuclear plant, and then straight through a number of residential communities. Estimates say that, if a disaster like an explosion were to occur, over 20 million people could be impacted by the crisis. And concerns aren’t just restricted to an explosion as pipelines can leak natural gas into their surroundings under more or less normal operating conditions, which would pose a series of threats to wildlife and humans in the immediate area.

Related: NYC Spectra pipeline expansion sparks resident concerns about explosions and radon

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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved Spectra’s request to expand the pipeline, and the Nuclear Regulatory Committee (NRC) has yet to open the process for public opinion related to the proximity of the proposed extension to the nuclear power plant. In addition to the route coming close to the power plant, other areas of the proposed pipeline expansion would put it within 450 feet of an elementary school. Given the immense heat created by a natural gas explosion, this would mean certain death for every single man, woman, and child in the school if it were to rupture at the point closest to the school grounds.

Despite public concern, the FERC and NRC plan to move forward with the expansion, and Spectra could begin clearing trees for the new pipeline construction as early as next month.

If you want to take action to stop the Spectra pipeline expansion, please click here to sign a petition to reject Spectra Energy’s permit and endorse the NO BUILD option.

Via The Guardian

Images via Spectra Energy