WPCNR THE BOYKIN BRIEFING. From County Legislator Benjamin Boykin, District 5, Westchester County Legislator. July 9, 2015:
I wanted to express my disappointment in another bad deal the County Executive has made for our community. During the July 2nd Board of Acquisition and Contracts meeting, the County Executive signed off on a deal to give the Spectra organization a temporary license agreement that will allow them to rip open approximately 18 acres of parkland inside the Blue Mountain Reservation for their 42 inch pipeline. Not only does the pipeline damage our natural parkland, it will have a significant financial impact on Westchester taxpayers. However, he has agreed to reopen discussions with Spectra to address many concerns posed by my colleagues and I, and by neighbors and advocates in the area.
Please call the County Executive today at 914-995-2900 to ask him that the following items be included in the license agreement with Spectra before he signs away access to county taxpayer-owned parkland:
• Increased safety protection
• Additional resources for monitoring
• More specific details on how the park will be restored once construction is complete
• Increased insurance coverage, including a performance bond
The County Executive’s pipeline agreement secures only $2 million for approximately 18 acres of parkland. Whereas, a recent agreement entered into by Spectra and the Town of Yorktown for the same pipeline was for $2 million in exchange for only 7.5 acres. Clearly this deal does not make much sense for county taxpayers and provides inadequate funds to do the type of monitoring and remediation needed to protect Blue Mountain from permanent damage.
This agreement risks serious damage to one of our prized parks and the larger Hudson River Basin and leaves many unanswered questions about whether it will adequately protect the park and nearby residents from contamination by heavy metals and radioactive materials, polluted storm water runoff and wholesale destruction of landscape, vegetation and wildlife habitat.
Given that the contents of the pipeline has toxic elements that could damage the natural environment, I believe the County owes it to the taxpayers to secure a deal that offsets the environmental risks involved. There are still too many concerns with this pipeline to move forward at this point and I believe the County Executive should take the time and get the answers before irrevocable damage is done to our natural environment.
Please continue to voice your concerns to the County Executive and urge him to address these significant concerns as the Administration still has time to for discussion with Spectra before the deal is executed.