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Environmental activists raise new concerns after pipeline expansion approved


ITHACA — A gas pipeline running through Tompkins County has been approved for expansion, over what a local environmental firm calls serious concerns about pollution.

Members of Toxics Targeting held a press conference Thursday at a compressor station site for Dominion Transmission, which could be part of a proposed expansion for the New Market pipeline. They say the approval was given despite issues they raised last year about a water quality certification for the project.

Walter Hang, president of Toxics Targeting, says the station on Ellis Hollow Road is a particular worry.

“This compressor station actually has extensive contamination that was documented years ago, and I have extensive DEC data that proves that this site is already polluted and is already causing water quality violations that were never cleaned up to state standards,” he said.

Hang says other needed permits were withheld from public viewing, including ones involving air quality certifications needed for transmission stations.

“These compressor stations commonly catch on fire, the contamination will get in the groundwater, and that’s why thousands of people called on the governor to say we need a moratorium on these discharge permits,” he said. “Unfortunately, our pleas fell on deaf ears.”

Hang says activists want to call in the Army Corps of Engineers to do their own survey and prove the project is unfit to go forward.