Thursday, February 5, 2009

Inland Wetlands Tables Buckeye Pipeline

In a very long Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission meeting Wednesday night in Council Chambers, the commission considered testimony during public hearings on the Buckeye Pipeline and the Algonquin Pipelines which are proposed to deliver low sulfur fuel oil, and gas, respectively, to the Kleen Energy plant in Maromas.

After three and a half hours of testimony from neighbors of the Kleen energy plant and the proposed pipeline, and representatives from Kleen Energy and Buckeye, the commission voted to table further discussion until more information about wetland crossings in the plan could be obtained.

During testimony, Earle Roberts, a neighbor to the plant, and a member of the Common Council asked several questions and suggested alternate routing. Steve Shorey, of Buckeye, and William Corvo, of Kleen Energy, explained the route selection process, and defended the reliability of the pipeline, the methodology of laying the pipe, and the route itself.

The plan calls for horizontal, directional drilling to place the 12 inch diameter pipeline under some wetlands crossings, such as Sumner Brook, and to excavate a traditional trench for the wetland in question which is on property off Bow Lane.

During the testimony, board chair, Joseph Carta, demonstrated some defensiveness about the process of the application, saying that the Common Council should not have heard testimony, or voted on the pipeline, until the Inland Wetlands commission had held its hearing and made recommendations and decisions. Mr. Corvo explained that the discussions with the Common council were relative to easements, not wetlands, and that their approval was also subject to IWWC approval.

In other business, the panel voted to approve an application to build a gas pipeline to the Kleen Energy plant from the NRG plant within the existing paved roadway on River Road.

They also voted to extend an application by Glenn Russo, previously granted, for a multi-family housing complex on Newfield Street. They also approved an application by Xavier High School to build tennis courts off Randolf Road.

In a final bit of new business, the commission examined a wetlands violation at an apartment complex on Highland Avenue owned by Ted & Carl Charton, where the owners reinforced a stream bank without a permit. The commission decided against punitive action, but directed staff to notify the owners of the violation, and to issue a warning that any further activity in the wetland requires city approval.


Anonymous said...

Is a sewer line permitted in an aquifer protection area?

Barrie said...

Existing sewer and future water lines are permitted under the stipulations of the Aquifer Protection Area (APA) program . A new pipeline for the underground transmission of oil is a regulated activity and therefore prohibited in APA's.

It is my own view that activities considered too hazardous to pass through an APA are probably too hazardous to pass through Middletown's open space.