Utne Readers Series on Health Impacts in Minisink



In June, Leanne and Rob Baum and their four children abandoned their house in Minisink, New York, leaving it to the bank holding the mortgage and oversight by a friend.  Ominous symptoms from emissions of a 12,600-horsepower gas compressor built in their rural neighborhood two years before by Millennium Pipeline, LLC, prompted their decision, said Leanne Baum. After six months on the market they had no offers on their house, and selling to another family felt morally questionable.


In rural Minisink, NY, air contaminants from the Millennium Pipeline gas compressor now exceed what would be found even in a big city, says environmental health consultant David Brown. After dozens of Minisink residents found they were beset by similar ailments immediately after the compressor station was built in 2013, a two-month study of air contaminants and residents’ symptoms was conducted by Brown and his cohorts at Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project. The nonprofit group of public health experts, based in McMurray, PA, have been investigating a comparable pattern of symptoms near gas drilling sites in Pennsylvania and other states


Community fears about toxic emissions from the Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) gas power plant planned for Wawayanda, New York, have not troubled town supervisor John Razzano. He expressed skepticism about reports of adverse health effects among residents near the Minisink gas compressor seven miles away.






May 1, 2014

MINISINK, N.Y. : Just as dozens of residents from the town of Minisink, N.Y., were preparing to leave for Washington D.C. in early hour of May  1, to attend oral arguments for their long awaited legal challenge of a federally approved gas compressor station, an alarm sounded at the facility.   At about 11:40 p.m.( on Wednesday night)  a truck was seen speeding into the driveway.

“As soon as we went outside to pack our car we heard the alarm”, said Leanne Baum, who lives directly across from the facility.   ‘Then we saw a Columbia Gas truck flying up the road and suddenly turn into the driveway”, added Ms. Baum who had planned to leave for D.C, at midnight with her four young children.

The 12,260 Horse Power station was built in 2013 by Millennium Pipeline, a subsidiary of Columbia Pipeline Group, formerly known as NiSource despite unprecedented opposition by impacted residents during the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC’s) review process.   The project was approved by a rare split 3-2 FERC Commission vote. Dissenting Commissioners rejected the project and argued that the majority failed to consider its significant and permanent adverse impacts upon the host community.

The incident underscores what residents have been saying to regulators and elected officials for the last three year; that this type of facility is too dangerous to be sited in the middle of a residential area. In Minisink there are 200 families living within a half-mile of the facility. Moreover, prominent pipeline engineer, Richard Kuprewicz submitted expert testimony to FERC stating that the Minisink Compressor Station “exceeds prudent design standards and safety margins” . He concluded that, “The Minisink Compressor Project is a very poor proposal and should be rejected.”. In another letter Kuprewicz warns that an explosion at this location can be worse than the San Bruno, CA incident in which 8 people were killed.

“There was definitely some type of mal-function and possible some release. Although it was raining heavily we did see smoke coming from the site”, said Baum. Columbia Pipeline Group also owns and operates the pipeline, which exploded in Sissonville WV last year destroying several nearby homes and melting a portion of an interstate highway.

The case known as MREPS v Federal Energy Regulatory Commission goes before the second highest court in the country, the United Stated Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit., 333 Constitution Ave. N. W. Washington D.C on Thursday, May 1 at 9:30 am. All attendees must be seated by 9:20am.

Residents along with their attorney will meet with supporters and press after the hearing at the Plaza facing Constitution Avenue.               

CONTACT Pramilla Malick  646-498-1742   StopMCS@gmail.com                                 

Minisink Heads to Washington to Challenge Federal Approval Of Controversial Gas Project Before D.C. Circuit Court


Contact Pramilla Malick




April 30, 2014

MINISINK, N.Y. : Dozens of residents from the town of Minisink, N.Y., along with many supporters, will travel to Washington D.C. on Thursday May 1st as their case challenging the approval process of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) goes before the second highest court in the country, the United Stated Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit., 333 Constitution Ave. N. W. Washington D.C. The case known as MREPS v Federal Energy Regulatory Commission can have significant impact on how pipeline projects are approved, amidst a natural gas boom across the country

This small middle-class community has fought an unprecedented battle for the past three years against billion-dollar gas pipeline company, Columbia Pipeline Group, formerly known as NiSource, over the siting of a 12, 260 Horse Power Gas Compressor station by its subsidiary company, Millennium Pipeline.   The station is now operational in the middle of an otherwise protected agricultural district with over 200 families living within a half- mile of the facility.

The petitioners, Minisink Residents for Environmental Preservation and Safety, are represented by D.C. based Attorney Carolyn Elefant. The heart of their case rests on a community proposed alternative plan deemed environmentally preferable by two dissenting Commissioners; whereas the 3 Commissioner majority deferred solely to the interest of the pipeline company. This 3:2 split is unprecedented at FERC. Petitioners believe the decision of the majority was biased. They argue that FERC’s 99% approval rating for gas infrastructure projects is clear evidence of a completely one sided decision making process. Moreover, they argue that FERC’s own rules require that it reject a project with both significant adverse impacts and a viable alternative.

The stakes for the community are very high. Along with a growing body of scientific studies indicating the likelihood of adverse health impacts, a prominent pipeline engineer has concluded that pressure created on the pipeline from the station makes the facility “unsound” and creates a serious safety hazard for nearby residents. If successful they will be the first community in the nation to force the shutdown and deconstruction of a federally permitted natural gas project.

Oral arguments will begin before the three judge panel exactly at 9:30 am. All observers must be seated by 9:20 am. After the hearing residents from Minisink, along with their attorney and supporters, will assemble outside of the courthouse on the Plaza facing Constitution Avenue to brief reporters, and give statements/interviews.


Community Health Forums – Tues. 12/10 & Thurs. 12/12



We are very pleased to present a rare educational forum and Q&A led by one of the nation’s leading experts on community impacts from gas development (ie compressor stations). Wilma Subra, a renowned environmental scientist, is coming to Minisink from LA to lead a discussion by a panel of experts on the environmental health impacts of the gas compressor station. She, along with the other panelist are highly qualified to answer any questions you may have about exposure to the facility in Minisink. Please see the attached flier Community Health Forum – Minisink for details on the two events. Here is a short video about Wilma Subra

These events are FREE but please RSVP so we can ensure enough seating:

7:00PM – 9:00 PM
Unionville Community Center
(Next to Annabel’s Pizza)
12 Main Street
Village of Unionville, NY
(Childcare & Pizza for kids provided)

10:00am – 12:00pm
Thrall Library
11-19 Depot Avenue
Middletown, NY

You can RSVP at StopMCS facebook page OR Community Health Forum RSVP

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.
Thank You

July 19 2013 – MREPS Brief to the US Court of Appeals DC Circuit

MREPS July 19 2013 Brief to US Court of Appeals DC Circuit

On July 19, 2013, Washington, D.C. attorney, Carolyn Elefant, filed an Initial Brief (main legal case) on behalf of Minisink, NY residents in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (Docket No. 12-1481) to overturn the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) July 17, 2012 Order certificating the construction of the new 12,260hp Minisink Compressor Station in the middle of a community. (See FERC Order as well as Rehearing challenges by residents at www.ferc.gov under Docket No. CP11-515). Millennium Pipeline Company, LLC had the responsibility and ability to use its existing infrastructure for its own project before pushing a new greenfield construction in the middle of 200+ families within the first half-mile radius of the new site.

The Initial Brief seeks reversal of the FERC Order and the deconstruction of the Minisink Compressor Station. FERC will be filing their response to the Court mid-September then Millennium will file their response the first week of October. Lastly, residents will respond by mid-October with the Final Briefs due the first week in November 2013. A three judge panel will then review our case and oral arguments should be scheduled for the parties in question.

Minisink residents have argued that the FERC process has been heavily biased in favor of Millennium; thus the process has been “arbitrary and capricious.” Among the arguments supporting prejudicial decision-making by FERC are:

– The Commission did not properly take into account Millennium’s current and future plans
– Nullification of reasonable Alternatives for any natural gas project
– Inevitable upgrade to the bottlenecked 24-inch diameter 7.2-mile Neversink pipe segment
– Failing to consider the resident-backed Wagoner Alternative as the best option
– Stonewalling residents on Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and other material documents
– Improperly balancing the project’s benefits against adverse economic impacts
– Relying heavily on Millennium’s own engineering analysis
– Arbitrarily refusing to take a serious look at prominent pipeline engineer’s report
– Contradicting its own ruling elsewhere to support approval of the project
– Giving more weight to permanent construction over temporary disruption of the Wagoner Alternative
– Not adequately responding to the two dissenting Commissioners’ concerns

The court does not get involved with minor issues or expertise in FERC’s purview like noise, health, etc. However, the court looks at these issues if not fairly applied. This case is more than just complaints about property devaluation, noise, and health concerns. This case is mainly about due process violations by the federal government when they ignored key facts in our case like: the inevitable upgrade to the 24-inch 7.2-mile Neversink pipe segment; lack of sharing information with residents; failure to choose the only economically and preferable Wagoner Alternative; and, the arbitrary and capricious manner in which FERC decided this case in spite of the facts before them.