Dear Community Member,
Below you will find talking points and some Q&A items to provide you with more context/details.
Thank you for considering helping out as we build upon the work we have already accomplished together. Please distribute to others in our community. This issue effects all of us, so you do not have to be a Dryden resident to weigh in.
Best wishes to you and yours as we head to Fall,
Mothers Out Front Tompkins
Contact the Dryden Town Board Members:
Draft Talking Points—Borger ExpansionBerkshire Hathaway’s Borger Natural Gas Compressor Station in Ellis Hollow is asking the Town Board of Dryden for a permit that would allow it to increase its Greenhouse Gas Emissions (CO2e) by as much as 32% (20,000 tons/year).
- On the face of it, the proposed increase is huge and will affect the environment for as long as Borger operates—in other words, for decades into the future.
- Although required by State Law, Borger so far has not made public how much global warming/climate changing methane it is/will emit or what measures it will take to reduce them.
- Before it gives Borger a permit, the Dryden Town Board has a duty of due diligence under the State “SEQR” Law to study the potential global warming/climate changing impacts of Borger’s projected Greenhouse Gas Emissions.
- The purpose of the study is decide how potentially large and how long the emissions will affect the environment.
- Given the technical nature of a compressor plant’s operations and the interaction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions with the environment, the study the Board must do is complicated and requires special expertise.
- In short, our layperson Town Board should have expert help to gather the necessary information and compare it to the requirements of the State’s SEQR Law.
- The Board often hires experts for just such purposes, so doing so in this case would be business as usual. Our Laws also let the Board charge these expenses to Borger.
- If after doing this due diligence study, the Board decided that the Emissions could cause a significant, negative impact on the environment, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is prepared that lays out what steps Borger would have to take reduce its Greenhouse Gas Emissions.
- Once the reduction measures are agreed upon and put into the EIS, the Board could issue a permit to Borger.Conclusion and Request: Because Borger has asked for a permit to increase its Greenhouse Gas Emissions by as much as over 20,000 tons/year and 32%, because this increase will be allowed as long as Borger operates, we respectfully request that the Town Board do its due diligence under the SEQR Law with expert assistance to assure that its decision is based on a complete set of the relevant facts and the applicable science.Questions and AnswersQ: Why are Borger’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions increasing so dramatically.A: That is an example of the kind of information that Borger has not disclosed and needs to come outduring the Board’s due diligence study. They could come from increasing the amount of (fracked) gasthrough the station—which is very likely, from the new, gas-driven turbines which are at the heart of thisproject, or leaks from other equipment. It is also important to learn whether Borger’s projected emissionsinclude its venting and “blow downs.” Sometimes companies don’t count these emissions.Q: I’m confused. Borger says the purpose of this project is to reduce air pollution, yet you’re saying itsGreenhouse Gas Emissions are going to increase dramatically.A: It can be confusing. The State regulates certain air pollutants which they call “Criteria Pollutants” andGreenhouse Gases (methane and CO2) separately. The Borger proposal is to add equipment that will reduce“criteria pollutants” but won’t result in reducing their Greenhouse Gas Emissions.Q: Is Borger likely to cancel its project with its decrease in “criteria pollutants” if the Town Board decidesto require an Environmental Impact Statement concerning the increased Greenhouse Gas Emissions?A: We think not. The reasons are:
- The main incentive for this project is that it will make Borger eligible for less DEC scrutiny and regulation. (Borger is asking for a new air permit and removal from “Title V” oversight.)
- The project will enable Borger to handle a much greater amount of (fracked) gas than before. With new compressor stations and gas pipelines being denied throughout our region and nationally, more gas will be coming to Borger.
- Adding equipment to handle “Criteria Pollutants” is part of a company-wide project and is not just about Borger.Q: Borger says that historically it does not run at full capacity so its Greenhouse Gas Emissions will neverget as high as their projected 32% and 20,000+ tons/year increase.A: Borger is asking for a permit to cause these increases when and if they choose. The permit will apply as long as Borger operates. These facts mean that the Town Board’s environmental study must be based on these facts rather than a not-enforceable suggestion that the emissions will be some unspecified amount less. In addition, with public resistance preventing additional gas pipelines and compressor plants from being built and with Borger’s recent connection to the Iroquois pipeline, it is highly likely that Borger will be handling more gas and operating more days than in the past—not less.Q: I heard that the Town “cut a deal” with Borger that, in exchange for reducing the “criteria pollutants” the Town would give quick passage to this permit request.A: No one on the Town Board or any of its employees could promise not to do the due diligence required by SEQR. The Members of the Town Board have a moral and legal obligation to strictly follow the SEQR process and to give a “hard look” to the parts of Borger’s project which have the potential to add to global warming and climate change.