Somers Air Quality in Jeopardy?
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We deserve to know when toxins are released in our neighborhoods!
In April North Salem public schools cancelled all recess and sports to keep their students inside for two days because of a blowdown at their nearby metering station.
Our beautiful town of Somers is home to the Algonquin gas pipeline and two metering stations (owned and operated by Enbridge). One purpose of a metering station is to monitor the pressure in the pipeline and automatically vent the gas if the pressure gets too high. This venting of gas is called a blowdown.
Each time our local metering stations have a blowdown noxious gases and particulate matter - carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, neurotoxins and respiratory irritants – are regularly released into our air. One metering station is located adjacent to Heritage Hills property, a community of over 5,000 residents, and is less than three (3) miles from our four (4) public schools as well as our library, ball fields and Town Center.
The smell of mercaptan (which contains a sulpher additive) was so strong on those April days in North Salem that it alerted teachers, staff and nearby residents. That smell should NOT be our only clue that a blowdown is happening!
Currently, there is no way for us to know when and how often these blowdowns occur. Some are planned and some occur spontaneously.
Enbridge, the gas company, doesn't notify residents, or even town officials, of blowdowns because they are not required to do so. But currently the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) is planning to formulate new gas and oil sector regulations, and notification of blowdowns must be included.
The Town of Somers sent a resolution to the NYSDEC recommending that all gas companies be required to give “48-hour or greater advance notification of all planned blowdowns, regardless of size and other chemical releases; notification within 30 minutes of all unplanned blowdowns, reglardless of size, and other chemical releases at all gas infrastructure facilities; and suspenseion of planned blowdowns or other chemical releases when weather conditions would increase exposure to air pollutants.”
With this petition you can further pressure the NYSDEC to require Enbridge to notify our community when there is a blowdown, so we can take precautions to protect our most vulnerable citizens like the elderly, young children, or anyone with asthma or a respiratory condition.
It's OUR air and it's OUR health at risk! We deserve to know!
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