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Residents hold rally in Wheatfield against proposed gas pipeline

Posted: 2:02 PM, Oct 01, 2016
Updated: 2016-10-01 18:02:09Z

Local activists held a rally Friday afternoon to try and stop construction of National Fuel's proposed pipeline project. This is part of National Fuel's Northern Access 2016 Project, which would extend approximately 100 miles from Pennsylvania through Western New York, all the way to the Trans-Canada pipeline.

Those opposing the project don't want 97 miles of new pipelines crossing under their neighborhoods. They are also concerned this project, and a proposed dehydration facility on Liberty Drive, will bring health issues to the community. 

"One of the main concerns that we have is the fact that there's cancer-causing agents that would be released into the air," said Jennifer Wozniak, co-founder of Wheatfield Action Team. Wozniak lives just 1,000 feet from the proposed site.

"We don't need a pipeline that's going to take compressed gas through a 24-inch pipeline up to Canada for export, going through and ripping our land," said Lia Oprea, founder of WECAP, which stands for Wyoming, Erie and Cattaraugus Communities Act on the Pipeline.

Dozens attended, holding signs, and yelling "we say no way". They also spoke about how this will bring no benefit to New York State.

"National Fuel is asking for an 8% rate hike on your gas prices so that they can offset the cost of that infrastructure for building this pipeline which you will receive no benefit from whatsoever," said Dr. David Reilly, an environmental policy professor at Niagara University.

National Fuel released a statement before the rally saying they have a "strong track record of safe and reliable operations," operations they already run through parks, forests, and bodies of water. They also say they have taken concerns into consideration, a reason why they have changed pipeline routes in the past. 

Although the Town of Wheatfield approved the dehydration facility site on Liberty Drive, the plan needs final approval from the FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Residents in the area and those who are opposed to the project are gathering again this Sunday at Elm Street Bakery where they will have an information session on the proposed pipeline.