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Rep. Engel Writes to President Obama Requesting Independent Risk Assessment of AIM Pipeline

Rep. Engel Writes to President Obama Requesting Independent Risk Assessment of AIM Pipeline

 

Westchester, NY—Congressman Eliot L. Engel, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, wrote the following letter to President Obama requesting an independent risk assessment of the Algonquin Incremental Market Project (AIM Project) commonly referred to as the AIM pipeline. Text of the letter can be found below:

September 19, 2016

 

President Barack Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

 

Dear President Obama:

I am writing about an urgent matter of public safety that stems from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) decision to issue a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the Algonquin Incremental Market Project (AIM Project) (Docket Nos. DP14-96-000 and DP14-96-001). Stakeholders have appealed FERC’s decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, but construction of the pipeline is already underway and the stakes are extraordinarily high given its proximity to the Indian Point nuclear power plant, so I write to request that you intervene.

The AIM Project is a pipeline expansion project that would allow for increased transportation of natural gas from the Appalachian Basin to the Northeast. Among other things, it calls for the installation of a 42-inch diameter high-pressure natural gas pipeline merely 150 feet from critical infrastructure at Indian Point, which is an aging and highly troubled plant that sits at the intersection of two fault lines only 24 miles from New York City.

Despite the pipeline’s unsettling proximity to existing nuclear facilities neighboring our nation’s largest and most densely populated metropolitan area, neither FERC nor the NRC actually conducted an independent safety assessment of the project. Rather, both agencies relied on a risk assessment from a subcontractor of the company that operates Indian Point. NRC performed a mere confirmatory analysis of that risk assessment, and then FERC accepted NRC’s review. 

Concerned citizens in the region have long been asking for an independent risk assessment from the federal agencies charged with ensuring their safety. I submitted comments during the regulatory process to amplify their call for an independent risk assessment, but FERC and the NRC summarily rejected my request.

I am now asking that you help the millions of Americans affected by the AIM Project to get the independent safety assessment that they deserve. Only then will we truly understand whether this project is safe enough for residents of the region to live without fear or whether it needs to be reconsidered. Thank you for your attention and I look forward to your swift response to this very serious public safety concern.

Sincerely,

Eliot L. Engel

Member of Congress