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December 28, 2014
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Looking back on NY 2012

Residents of the Town of Highland applaud a gas drilling ban.


2012 was the year of the compressor station in two towns outside of Sullivan County. In the Town of Minisink in Orange County, the Millennium Pipeline Company started construction on a compressor station against the wishes of 200 families in the town, and also against the votes of two of the five members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Critics say the pipeline is dangerous because a section of the line, known as the Neversink Segment, is 24 inches wide while the remainder of the line is 30 inches. Also, they say another location, known as the Wagoner Alternative, would have much less impact on the environment and residences. Residents have taken the matter to federal court.

About 65 miles north of that location, the pipeline runs across Hungry Hill Road in the Town of Hancock in Delaware County. Residents there have begun to organize against the project, and most recently some residents objected to the fact that the Delaware County Industrial Development Agency is considering granting tax breaks to Millennium for the compressor station.

Supporters say the station will insure that the Village of Hancock has a reliable supply of cheap gas, which will help attract new business.

Opponents say compressor stations pose a health hazard to residents who live nearby, and that Millennium is a wealthy company that does not need a tax break, and might not choose another location even if the tax breaks were denied.

Another project that rankled some members of the community and brought them to the streets was the proposed replacement of the Pond Eddy Bridge. Traffic officials in Pennsylvania and New York as well as federal officials wanted to replace the historic 1904 span, which serves 12 full-time families in a community on the Pennsylvania side of the bridge, with a $12 million bridge with a modern design.

The protest movement grew to the point where officials in Albany and Washington were weighing in, and forward momentum was halted as the administration of Governor Andrew Cuomo reconsidered the matter. Local officials in Pennsylvania want the project to go forward.

In the Town of Bethel in 2012, a legal battle over the Toronto Reservoir that had raged for years was finally settled. In March, backhoes took down a rock wall that had been created by developer Steve Dubrovsky and blocked the road to a public access on the reservoir.