The Algonquin Pipeline project, which involves the replacement of more than 15 miles of pipeline carrying natural gas through Rockland, Westchester and Putnam, will require the clearance of large areas through Westchester’s Blue Mountain Reservation.
To remove and replace the pipe, Spectra Energy, which owns the pipeline, will generally clear a 100-foot swath about 1.25 miles long through the middle of the park, with some areas going up to 130 feet wide. That will affect a large number of trees and wetland areas and could affect hikers use of the park’s trails while the work goes on.
The Westchester Board of Legislators is holding meetings Wednesday and Thursday to explore the impact of the work on the county park. The project, which will replace 26-inch pipe with 42-inch pipe, has sparked a major opposition movement from residents and elected officials along the route.
Westchester Deputy Parks Commissioner Peter Tartaglia told legislators that the department is concerned about the impact outside the existing easement.
“That’s the area that could change the complexion of the park,” he said.
Department officials have asked for more specific information on the plans, including what trees would be affected.
Spectra has a maintenance easement from the county granted in the 1950s when the pipeline was installed but is asking Westchester for a license to use the additional land during construction. In addition to the work area around the pipeline, the company needs space for staging construction equipment.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has the major review authority over the project. It is scheduled to complete its environmental review in December and approve the project early next year.
Photo: Protesters spoke about the Algonquin Pipeline project before a public hearing by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in September.