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.


Tell Senator Gillibrand, No More Sacrifice Zones! Minisink Matters! The People Matter!

Click on this link to send a letter to Gillibrand demanding that she help the community of Minisink!!  Its fast and easy and you won’t get spam emails from this site.

Minisink familes traveled a long distance with very young kids to come into the city and let her know that we need her help and her staff couldn’t even come down to meet the group and receive the letter.  If you agree this is shameful call her office and let them know!!

 Everyone please place a quick call to 212-688-6262, ask and share with us the Senator’s positions on these two important matters.


  1. Will the Senator stand with the people of Minisink and work to shut down and remove the 12,250hp Natural Gas Compressor Station in a precedent setting act of leadership.
  2. Will the Senator stand and call for an expansion of the public comment period and for increased public hearings relating to the proposed Liberty LNG Gas Port.