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Group cites Dominion spills in asking pipeline permit denial


An environmental advocacy and consulting group is calling on the state Department of Environmental Conservation and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to deny Dominion Transmission's request for a water quality certification permit that is necessary to upgrade the company's pipeline.

Walter Hang, who runs Toxics Targeting, used New York's Freedom of Information Law to compile a list of seven spills that he says occurred on the Dominion pipeline since 1991.

"There is no way that the government and the DEC can certify that the new market pipeline expansion project will not cause water quality violations because the existing pipeline has caused numerous water quality violations that were never cleaned up," Hang said.

Many of the spills occurred when the company was called CNG Transmission, and much of the spill information is incomplete.

One spill occurred Nov. 29, 1993, in East Greenbush and caused a "heavy sheen" of petroleum on Rensselaer County's Papscanee Creek, according to the documents obtained by Hang.

The DEC report says that "without action, there is a potential for a fire/explosion hazard ... contamination of drinking water supplies, or significant release to surface waters."

The report states that a consent order was signed March 15, 1995, and a penalty was paid, although the report states that it is unknown whether the cleanup of the spill met DEC standards.

According to the report, zero gallons of petroleum were spilled, but Hang said this is often the case on old reports, which needed to be filed in two hours and often do not include a gallon amount.

In a statement, Frank Mack, a spokesman for Dominion, said the company has "no outstanding site remediation or clean-up projects in New York State.

"In response to all reportable spills, we notify the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation within the required timeframes, evaluate and clean up the spill," Mack said.

Dominion's New Market Project would modify the 200-mile Dominion pipeline, which passes through the Capital Region, to allow more gas to flow through it at a higher rate of speed.

Hang, who advocates for a moratorium on all pipeline projects, said pipeline modifications like this "are not for New York. They're for Pennsylvania fracked gas to reach new markets in New England."

Hang will include the Papscanee Creek spill in his report, which will be released to the public Friday morning at a news conference in Ithaca.

The DEC and Dominion didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.