MONTICELLO – On July 6, 2017, the Sullivan County Legislature unanimously agreed to ask the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for intervenor status in the Eastern System Upgrade Project proposed by the Millennium Pipeline Company, which includes a 22,400-horsepower compressor station in the Town of Highland.
Such status, if granted by FERC, means the County will have the right to participate in hearings and other FERC proceedings related to this project. Millennium is asking FERC for permission to build the compressor station off Route 55 north of Eldred, along with other out-of-county upgrades to its existing natural gas transmission pipeline. The company seeks to put the additional infrastructure into operation by September 2018.
The Legislature’s action follows more than a year of efforts to secure an environmental health impacts study of the site and surrounding area to address residents’ and officials’ concerns and provide useful data if the project moves forward. Several requests for proposals elicited either no interest from bidders or proposals which did not meet the needs of the County.
“We had hoped by now to have a study in progress or ready to present to FERC, but with that effort still pending, we agreed as a Legislature that we must ensure we have a voice in the process,” District 2 Legislator and Health & Family Services Committee Chair Nadia Rajsz explained. “This project remains of concern and controversy, and we will continue to monitor it closely.”
“As the final authority on whether or not Millennium proceeds with this upgrade, FERC was previously notified that we were undertaking a study and wanted to be kept abreast of developments. This motion to intervene formalizes the Legislature’s intent,” affirmed District 1 Legislator Scott Samuelson, who co-introduced the resolution with Legislator Rajsz. “This demonstrates our commitment to the good health and quality of life of our residents and visitors.”
In the meantime, County staff are reviewing four proposals received from a June request for an objective, scientific study of air, water and noise quality baseline data of the area surrounding the proposed compressor station site. A decision is expected to be made this month, with the study commencing shortly thereafter.