Lawmakers, environmentalists call on Gov. Hochul to reject natural gas expansion project

While the expansion project is still in its early phases, a more detailed plan could be published as early as this fall.

Jonathan Gordon

Jun 17, 2024, 9:04 PM

Updated 31 days ago


Steps away from the Hudson River, environmentalists joined state and local elected officials to call on Gov. Kathy Hochul to denounce a proposed natural gas pipeline project that runs through parts of the Hudson Valley.
The "Project Maple" proposal from Canadian energy company Enbridge would add new lines and expand its compressor stations to move more natural gas along the Algonquin Pipeline. The system runs between New England and New Jersey with lines stretching through parts of Westchester and Rockland counties.
"We're here to make sure that we set a precedent, not just for New York, but for the nation that we need to take the climate crisis seriously, we need to take local communities and our economy seriously and we need to build a movement to move off fossil fuels," Food & Water Watch Senior Organizer Santosh Nandabalan said.
Enbridge officials previously said the project would stabilize gas prices and increase electric grid reliability. Opponents of the project said it would do the opposite.
"To continue to build out our fossil fuel infrastructure is also a bad idea when we know that we're supposed to be going in the opposite direction and putting those resources into clean, renewable, sustainable energy," New York Assemblywoman Dana Levenberg said.
New York Assemblywoman Dana Levenberg whose district includes Ossining, Cortlandt, Yorktown and Philipstown delivered a letter to the governor's office to speak out against the project. Over 60 state and local elected officials signed on.
Levenberg along with many of the same people who rallied Monday were at the forefront of a campaign that successfully persuaded Gov. Hochul to ban dumping radioactive waste into the Hudson River. That law effectively blocked Holtec International's plan to decommission the now-defunct Indian Point nuclear power plant.
"She has stopped fossil fuel projects in the past and for the same reason; this is against our climate law," Nandabalan said.
While the expansion project is still in its early phases, a more detailed plan could be published as early as this fall.
A spokesperson for the governor's office has not yet responded to News 12's request for comment.
Enbridge spokesperson Max Bergeron sent News 12 a statement:
"Enbridge recognizes the rights of individuals and groups to express their views legally and peacefully. We are committed to meaningful engagement with stakeholders in the communities where we live and work. Project Maple is a potential future project, and an application for Project Maple has not been filed with our regulator, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). We have ongoing discussions with possible project customers, such as natural gas utilities, to better define what this potential project could involve. As we advance a project, we organize public meetings, engage regularly with our neighbors, listen to comments from diverse groups and individuals, and seek opportunities to give back and have a positive presence in the community. Pipeline projects also go through extensive public permitting processes which provide additional opportunities for those interested to be heard. We are proud to serve our communities by responsibly delivering the energy we all rely on."

More from News 12