A Less Than Impressive Natural Gas “Protest”

There was a small protest in Minisink, New York last week over a Millennium pipeline compressor station. The Millennium delivers much of the natural gas used in homes and businesses in Orange County.

There was a protest of under 100 people against a Millennium compressor station in Minisink, New York, Orange County last week  in a yard across from the site. Of the 100 people present, about a quarter of them were parents who were brought along their children. The main message of this rally was the compressor station was not needed, despite the large amount of natural gas it delivers to homes and businesses in the county.

Some Facts About the Millennium

The Millennium compressor station will benefit many communities both directly and indirectly, by helping to push natural gas through the pipeline and out to the markets with a demand for the natural gas, including those in Orange County. Here is what the company said about the station:

This pipeline will increase the supply of natural gas flowing into Northeast markets and thereby help to keep down natural gas prices. In addition, by providing the fuel for highly-efficient natural gas powered electric generating facilities and commercial and residential boilers that would otherwise operate on coal or oil, this project is helping to provide cleaner air.

Having a compressor station in Orange County will also increase the efficiency of the transportation of natural gas development.

Add compression in Orange County, NY that will effectively increase deliverability at Ramapo to 675,000 decatherms per day. Adding compression increases capacity by compressing the gas in the existing line. Compressed gas does not take as much space in the line, thus allowing additional volume to be safely transported. This type of expansion is ideal because it allows Millennium to customize its services to meet its customer’s needs without installing additional miles of pipeline. This environmentally sensitive project is designed to maximize benefit to Millennium’s customers while minimizing impact to its host communities.

The compressor station would consist of two 6,130 horsepower turbine-driven centrifugal compressors housed in an enclosed building. These would increase the pressure in the pipeline. Millennium Pipeline Company has noted that they will operate quietly due to specific engineering and they will be powered by natural gas which will be cleaner for the environment. The compressor station must comply with all state and local noise ordinances which means it will not exceed 55dB(a) at the property line. It will be monitored from the control building 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The project is also strictly regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

This compressor station will be a job creator for the local area as well. Not only will there be someone monitoring the compressor station around the clock, there will also be a full-time, 40-hour-per week staff on site. If there are any fluctuations in the monitoring systems the compressor station can be shut down in seconds. An added security will include an eight foot fence, security cameras, and an alarm system.

Compressor Station

Minisink Compressor Station Location

Here’s some more information on the economic benefits that this project will deliver:

The construction process for this project is expected to take up to nine months and employ 75 workers at peak. Millennium is committed to working with local labor to the wherever possible to staff these positions. Once construction is completed, this project will create on full-time on-site job. The total estimated investment for this project is approximately $43 million. In addition to the direct jobs created, this investment will also provide increased spending at local businesses (lodging, restaurants, equipment, etc.)

The Protest

So, why were people protesting such a major investment? Well, you wouldn’t really even be able to tell what the protestors were protesting based on their chants. Their main chant was “Who are we? Minisink. What do we want? Justice.” Not only did they chant this over and over, they also harassed the workers the entire time. They were screaming across the street at the workers, “you should be ashamed of yourselves.” Watch their outrageous chanting below. Notice that the leader thinks there are 200 plus people behind him:

In the video below you can hear the ringleader, again, harassing the workers but also claiming the compressor station will poison the water and kill people. Obviously there are no facts, figures, or statistics supporting this claim.

The last video I will include you can hear the leader of the protest criticizing Millennium for putting people to work on their site and also for hiring people in the neighboring town to Minisink. Sounds terrible right? I would love if our neighbors were able to work. A community should embrace jobs:

The rally continued for a while with the same chants and harassing comments, but the videos above give you enough of the picture.

The compressor station clearly has the ability to create jobs, and indeed is already employing people. This fact was even admitted by the protestors who oppose the compressor station. Safety is extremely important to Millennium and they have taken several steps to ensure public safety, including complying with strong local and federal laws. People seem to be protesting this just to protest something — despite using the very product they are attempting to stop, as is the case all too often.

Comments

  1. Fred Peckham says:

    These pepople would cut their nose of to spite their face!

  2. I don’t know who is building the C Compressors, but does anyone have any idea how many shops in Upstate, NY build equipment for the Oil and Gas Industry, employing hundreds of people in solid middle class well paying jobs? Maybe a call to Cameron Compression over Buffalo way would be a worthy endeavor.
    http://www.c-a-m.com/forms/Location.aspx

  3. Ourland says:

    The only time I have ever seen an end to an agenda was the fear campaign surrounding Y2K. That came to an end 12:01 January 1st 2000.

    You can give away $50.00 Bills someone will complain its only $50.00

  4. Ur uninformed says:

    The writer of this article is thoroughly uninformed. The people surrounding this site doesn’t have natural gas nor will this station bring it to them. The gas will travel to the city and benefit the residence there. Compressor stations have blown up in the past causing extensive damage…the nearest home sits 600 feet from the site and there are over 100 other homes within a half mile radius. An explosion at this site would be deadly! Also, if the writer of this article did some investigative journalism, she would have discovered that compressor stations spew deadly chemicals into the air, causing a number of serious health issues ( http://www.marcellus-shale.us/Marcellus-gas-facilities.htm). The reason they are chanting for justice is because the beaurocrats in DC (FERC) is dragging their feet on a rehearing, thus not allowing this community to take their issue to court, where most likely they will win. They are being denied their civil rights. I wonder how the writer of this article would feel if everything she worked for were to be taken from her and the health of her family put in jeopardy and she would have no recourse. The members of this community are not against natural gas (which they continually have said), they believe a compressor station of this size does not belong in a residential, farming community. In fact, these citizens have found an alternative site where a compressor station already sits, and the company would just have to upgrade. And as far as local jobs, this company has brought in workers from Texas, Wyoming, NJ, etc….just check out the license plates of the trucks parked there daily….not too many locals there. As a journalist, Ms. Colley, you have a right to get your facts straight before you so arrogantly poke fun at a community that’s just protecting what they have worked hard for. But I guess since your paycheck comes from the same people who are destroying this beauitiful community, that would be the furthest thing from your mind. Just wanted to clarify your grotesque inaccuracies.

    • Tom Shepstone says:

      Your information to the effect compressor stations “spew deadly chemicals in the air” is simply incorrect. THey have to meet EPA/DEC standards.

      • Fact Checker says:

        Your replies are ridiculous! Compressors let off toxic poisons such as methane and tolulene in the line as they compress the gas. You then release these VOC’s into the air well after business hours making it harder to get caught by officials. As for standards, lets just say your gas cronies figured out how to game the system that’s why you continue to meet them and get away with violation after violation even when proof is shown to be the gas companies fault!

        They aren’t NIMBY … you and your cronies are just GREEDY

        More and more (investors) are waking up to this lie, enjoy your riches while you can. 🙂

        Fred, these people went into the towers on 911 to try and save people! Get your facts before you try to paint people as bad or dumb!

        Tom, you are one of those guys who will swear fracking is so safe but will not drink or bathe the water!

        Nothing but spin! We get it Tom!

        • Tom Shepstone says:

          Afraid to leave your name, I see, which tells me everything. By the way, I drank the water. It’s on video.

  5. This is self-serving reporting. You’re ‘reporting’ mischaracterizes why Minisink residents are protesting the Millennium Pipeline’s project in Minisink, NY. I live on the road where the new station is being constructed. There are 190 homes plus 49 pre-approved homes just within .5-mile of the site; there are hundreds more just beyond .5-mile. Many 9/11 first responders live within the .5-mile area. Some of these 9/11 first responders suffer from various respiratory ailments resulting from 9/11, which is why they chose to move up here in the last few years, to get clean air and peace and quiet. Therefore, there are aproximately 1,000 people within .5-mile of the site. As residents we have the right to be assured of health, risk, property devaluationm, etc. Our town does not have industrial zoning. This is a quiet agricultural/residential zoned area.

    Your claim of jobs is bogus. Most of the workers are from out of state. They’ve gotten some security guards from postings on Craigslist. Our town will not receive a penny due to the PILOT agreement in place. We bare all of the risks and none of the profit. BTW, using the “jobs” argument is weak. Who cares if a few jobs are created when our property values will be impacted due to an industrial eyesore and new town landmark for the rest of our lives. The one job for the person on site for 40 hours a week already works for Millennium (NiSource company) and the monitoring is something they already do so no real new jobs. The new gas is for Ramapo, NY in Rockland County. I do not receive any gas so you tell me what’s in it for me!

    Your article failed to state some of the reasons for the protests:

    1. Millennium’s Minisink Compressor Station is a 12,260hp compressor station on a 74.3-acre property surrounded by 239 homes.
    2. Millennium’s application cites their underperforming 24-inch 7.2-mile Neversink Segment pipeline as the reason for the project.
    3. The Neversink Segment is 25 years old and a bottleneck on Millennium’s new 182-mile 30-inch pipeline.
    4. Millennium failed to disclose they have been seeking replacement of the 7.2-mile Neversink Segment for 2014. Millennium is telling the media this is not so, but won’t tell FERC the same under oath because we’ve submitted proof.
    5. Millennium states it does not have the PHMSA 192 records to determine whether it can up the MAOP to 1,200.
    6. NEPA and FERC Certificate Policy Statement require companies to look at existing infrastructure before proposing new greenfield construction (particularly in a heavily populated community).
    7. Millennium failed to disclose their existing 18.8-acre Wagoner Interconnect as a viable alternative which is just 10-miles upstream.
    8. The Wagoner facility is a brownfield 18.8-acre site 1-mile deep into the forest with no homes within .75-miles.
    9. Residents proposed the Wagoner Alternative (5,100hp plus 24-inch 7.2-mile Neversink Segment replacement) instead of the 12,260hp compressor station. Millennium’s engineering analysis confirmed its viability and the EA concluded that it would provide more flexibility and reliability to its system.
    10. Millennium’s affiliate, Columbia Gas, ran a temporary compressor station at Wagoner from 2008-2011.
    11. Given their recent Phase II (15,900hp Hancock Compressor Project) about 45 miles upstream and the Phase I (12,260hp Minisink Compressor Project) 10 miles downstream from the Wagoner station and on either side of their failing 24-inch 7.2-mile pipeline, we believe a disaster is assured in the near future.
    12. FERC Chairman Wellinghoff and Commissioner LaFleur dissented in the July 17 Order and agreed with our Wagoner Alternative.
    13. We have a Rehearing including other due process violations etc and are still waiting on FERC to respond.

    This is not a NIMBY or fracking protest. This is a protest, in part, on safety and abuse of process etc. Residents are all from different political, ethnic, environmental, religious, and vocational backgrounds. [On a personal note, I am a ‘Drill Baby Drill’ guy. But that doesn’t mean I check my brain at the door; especially when there is a preferable option to this project.] Before you misstate the facts please look at the FERC eLibrary under Docket No. CP11-515. You’ll find over 800 eComments, many of which are on substance; otherwise, we would have been dismissed earlier in the year. BTW, even the D.C. Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals gave us a temporary stay last month based on what they saw. We do plan an appeal once the tolling order is over.

    You can go to http://www.StopMCS.org to get more information.

    Michael Mojica
    Minisink, NY

    • Tom Shepstone says:

      It sure sounds like a NIMBY protest to me!

  6. Kathleen says:

    You really don’t know what you are talking about with this article. There is only 1 full time job from this project. The community is upset that the compressor is being put so close to homes despite Millennium having an actual industrial site available to them. Imagine you own a home, do you research and see that the land around you is zoned agricultural/residential and then all of the sudden a gas company comes in, says your zoning doesn’t matter and decides to put an industrial facility very close to your largest financial investment. So close that the chances of you selling it for even a fraction of the cost is slim to none. You would not be happy! Especially since Millennium doesn’t need to and there another option. Even the chairmen of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission agreed with the residents you are so poorly judging. Most of the community is NOT against natural gas but would prefer smart development that does not harm families financially if it can be avoided. Ms. Colley since you are so for this project there will be several homes available for sale and you can live right next door! I also suggest you read the docket and see the facts before writing another “story” about this project.

    • Tom Shepstone says:

      Still sounds like NIMBYism.

      • Kathleen says:

        You seem like you would call any town standing up to protect their property NIMBY. They are NOT shoving this thing in someone elses backyard. The alternative site already held a compressor station and is surrounded by forest. Not only that but the entire pipeline is completely inefficient with this Neversink bottleneck. Shocking to you as this may be but large companies can make mistakes or even do things for profit over what is best for the state (having an inefficient pipeline) and the citizens of this country. There is such a thing as smart well planned development and this is not it!

        And if this was just a case of NIMBY, the community would not have support from Chairmen Wellinghof and Commissioner La Fleur who have decades of experience in the energy sector!

      • Mimi Cahill says:

        Mr. Shepstone:

        Did you even read a line or two before you put out your comments? or, may I ask you: are you able to read?

        • Tom Shepstone says:

          Can you be more specific?

          • Mimi says:

            Thanks Mr. Shepstone – you have answered my question.

          • Tom Shepstone says:

            To the contrary, you have answered mine.

      • How about you actually respond to my arguments? Name calling is not productive. If you read my response you’ll see that I, personally, agree with the industry in many respects. What I don’t agree with is abuse and profit for the sake of profit on the backs of others. By your standards, a pipeline company can never do ANY wrong!

        • Tom Shepstone says:

          We are not name calling nor do we think pipeline companies can do no wrong. Rather, we are simply pointing out the reality that any location for any improvement will invariably produce opposition. Such is the world we seem to live in today.

  7. Vince says:

    Clearly the writer of this article is more interested in pleasing the oil industry than she is in journalistic integrity. Her article conveniently left out the fact that congresswoman Nan Hayworth (a republican) was at the rally and in support of the community. It failed to mention that two senior ranking members of FERK agreed with the community and two US senators have written letters to FERK urging them to deliberate on this quickly. It also excluded the fact that the appellate court issued a temporary stay of construction due to issues pertaining to this case. If the author of this article was at the rally, she obviously missed the construction worker who rolled down his window and yelled that he sure is glad his kids don’t have to grow up next to a compressor station as he sped away.As for the health affects the emissions will cause , we have had pediatricians speak at our town meetings about the health effects of these stations. Although I am sure this journalist has a thriving medical practice between writing articles, I’ll trust our physician’s opinions. The writer states that our message is that the compressor station is not needed. Clearly she must have been at a different rally because that was not our message. We are upset with how Millennium has conducted themselves throughout this process and with how they insist on disrupting the lives of so many people when a safer Alternative exists. Although the writer belittles our rally, I think it represents the best of what this nation is all about.

    • Tom Shepstone says:

      “FERK”? I need say no more.

  8. Vince says:

    Tom, you’re not really being very honest with us now are you? You represent a planning firm and are just trying to get your name in as many of these forums as possible. Making it look like you’re a real leader in the industry may kick up some future clients. Please don’t try to use our town to promote your business. Frankly, it’s kind of tasteless.

    • Tom Shepstone says:

      I don’t solicit planning work, Vince, and have no interest in representing any additional municipalities.

  9. Leanne says:

    Mr. Shepstone, your comment that the protest sounded NIMBY to you is based on the fact that the reporter only captured what she wanted to capture on video. I see nothing from Congresswoman Hayworth’s speech, or Mr. John Feal’s speech in her videos. Taking things out of context is a very dangerous thing, especially if you are part of an organization that purports to “engage, educate and mobilize supporters of responsible resource development throughout northeastern Pennsylvania and the southern tier of New York.” The community of Minisink is asking for is responsible development as well….you should be applauding our efforts!
    Even the Bible says “There is no God” if you take words out of context…..

    • Tom Shepstone says:

      We just approved your comment and others, didn’t we?

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