Fracked gas pipeline is unneeded, unsafe

To the Editor:

I am strongly opposed to the Albany Loop/E37 fracked gas pipeline proposal.

The building of a pipeline underneath the Hudson River poses a threat to the river’s water quality, which we have worked so hard to clean up over the years. The river is a haven for fishermen, boaters, birdwatchers, bicyclists, joggers, residents, and tourists.

Many communities still draw drinking water from the river. Disruption of the river bed and any contaminants there, plus the possibility of the pipeline being uncovered and/or ruptured by the tidal movement of water and heavy barges over the river, should make the New York State Department Public Service wary of allowing the pipeline to be built.

With the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation Office of Climate Change, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Weather Service showing proof that significant water/rain events, extreme weather, and rising sea levels are already occurring, we must understand that past methods such as building pipelines under rivers are no longer safe and would be subject to extreme natural stressors, the likes of which we can only guess.

Furthermore, the developer, National Grid states that the Albany Loop extension is needed to satisfy requests by new commercial and residential customers for natural gas hookups as well as meet increased demand from existing customers.

I would argue that, in accordance with the state’s goals to secure an 80-percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, National Grid should not continue to be allowed to build out new gas infrastructure, but must instead look at alternative proposals in keeping with our collective emission goals. They need to join the team!

National Grid should be promoting an increase of alternative heating/cooling methods among its customers such as air-source heat pumps and geothermal. As an example, I participated in the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s Hudson Valley Heat Pump Project and, when my air-conditioning unit stopped functioning, I installed three heat pumps in my house two years ago.

I have been amazed at the efficiency and comfort level of my heat pumps in both providing heating and cooling. I am rarely using natural gas now and I plan to switch my water heater to an electric heat pump so I can turn my gas off entirely.

Most people I meet do not yet know about the viability and affordability of heat pumps. I pay approximately the same or a little less than I used to for my heating needs; those using oil or propane currently would enjoy much greater savings.

I strongly suggest the Department of Public Service take a more proactive position in encouraging National Grid to abandon gas-infrastructure build-out projects, and instead encourage new and existing customers to switch to heat pumps and geothermal alternatives.

Ratepayers should not be asked to contribute to outdated, climate-destructive projects that will lock us into natural gas for the next 50 years. Instead, National Grid should be asking the Department of Public Service to approve plans to widely publicize and provide substantial incentives/discounts to those who switch to heating alternatives that can be supplied by renewable electricity."

Tina Lieberman


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