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Concerns Over Plans For Pipeline Expansions



The natural gas industry has caused controversy in our area for a number of years, but with recent plans for pipeline expansions and increased initiatives by those opposing them, the debate could soon reach new heights.

Windsor Resident Jerry Henehan says, "We don't support anything that's going to disrupt our lifestyles."

Floid Bronson, also of Windsor says, "Have you ever heard the terminology not in my backyard? There you go."

The town of Windsor has multiple natural gas pipelines that run through it. And with pipelines, come compressor stations every 40 to 100 miles.

Windsor Town Supervisor Carolyn Price says, "Will there be a point where the people that are complaining are happy?"

Approximately 50 residents that live near the compressor station have formed an organization they call C.R.O.W--Concerned Residents Of Windsor--to address a number of issues they have identified with natural gas expansion in their town.

Crow Spokesperson Jerry Henehan says, "That was done in reaction to problems we were having including an explosion."

Price says, "The report described it as a fire. You will talk to people who will use the word explosion, but it was not an explosion."

She says during a venting of gas as the compressor station in the summer of 2012, a bolt of lightening struck, sending a giant fire ball into the air and striking fear in nearby homeowners.

Price says, "I believe people really aired on the side of caution evacuating."

Aside from safety, concerned residents of Windsor are also worried about potential health related impacts.

Henehan says, "We have a number of people including some children that are being exposed to toxic emissions that we don't even know what they are."

But the number one complaint about the compressor station in Windsor?.....

Henehan: "It's sort of that uhhhhh uhhhh."


Henehan says, "It's probably not good for your hearing either and several of our residents have developed a ringing in their ear and we believe that could also be a source of that problem."

Price says, "There have been complaints of a hum and sometimes when I've been up there I've heard it, it's in the distance, it's not like it's close to listen and you say that must be the compressor station but it's not loud."

Windsor residents who live near the compressor station have mixed feelings about it.

Windsor resident Floid Bronson says, "The noise problem...I don't think we have one."

Bronson's property borders that of the compressor station. He says noise is not an issue and that Williams, the company that owns the station, has been a good neighbor.

He says, "I think they've been good neighbors, they've helped the town out a lot, they worked with people in the area to try and make them happy."

The natural gas industry has provided jobs to the people of Windsor and pays 16% of the town's taxes. Still, those who oppose the project say efforts should be focused elsewhere.
Henehan says, "We could be giving those same jobs to building solar energy or building some other sort of renewable energy which might be even more beneficial."

As plans for new pipelines are currently in progress throughout our area, Henehan worries many more communities will soon face the same struggles Windsor has.

He says, "We're kind of the guinea pigs in this thing and we would like to see that evaluated so that other communities don't have to go through what we've gone through."

Walter Hang, whose company Toxic Targeting claims to have mapped more than 700,000 known and potential toxic sites throughout the state of New York is advocating the stoppage of pipeline expansions until it is proven the projects will not cause harm to communities or the environment.

Hang says, "Major pipelines have already been proposed throughout Central New York including very close to all Elmira and Binghamton. All these activities should be brought to a halt before further disasters occur."

Henehan says that before any more pipelines are put in, state officials need to thoroughly asses and eliminate any potential hazards.

He says, "If some of the things can be improved or some of the hazards eliminated, we should do that before they expand, not wait until we've got a spider web of pipes under upstate New York and somebody says, oh by the way...this isn't good for the health of these people."