Pipeline to Use Albany Port as Conduit
by Eric Anderson, Albany Times Union, N.Y.    Times Union, Albany, N.Y.
Friday, May 11, 2007
First it was wind turbine blades, then subway cars.

Now, the Port of Albany is about to begin receiving pipe -- 60,000 tons of it over the next year -- to be used in a new natural gas pipeline across the state's Southern Tier.

The first ship is expected to arrive at the port Monday, said Albany Port District Commission Chairman Robert Cross. Over the next year, up to a dozen ships will bring the pipe to port.

The pipe, which measures 30 inches in diameter, is manufactured in Milan, Italy, and comes in 40-foot lengths. Cross estimated it will take 18 to 20 longshore workers to unload the first 2,000-ton shipment.

The 186-mile Millennium Pipeline project will employ more than 3,000 workers in a $500 million effort to increase the flow of natural gas into the state, supplying customers in the Southern Tier and lower Hudson Valley as well as the New York City metropolitan area, according to the consortium building the line.

It will replace a smaller, existing line, and also connect with other pipelines serving New York and New England.

The project is expected to be operating by November 2008. The pipeline is a joint project of Merrillville, Ind.-based NiSource Inc., Detroit-based DTE Energy and Brooklyn-based KeySpan Corp. It will run between Corning and Ramapo.

Mayor Jerry Jennings called the project "good news for our longshore labor," and said it would provide work for truck drivers and union construction workers as well.

Meanwhile, a new generation of wind turbine blades that will arrive at the port will be about 30 to 40 feet longer than those that were a common sight on area highways last year, Cross said. The blades are shipped to wind farms in New York state, eastern Canada and neighboring states.

The port last year also received subway car shells that were sent to a plant in Hornell, Steuben County, to be completed. The completed cars are destined for New York City.

Separately, U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday the port would receive a $351,000 security grant this year.

The money would help pay for the installation of new security cameras on the Rensselaer side of the port, and improvements to communications capabilities so that port security officials can communicate easily with other agencies throughout the region, Cross said.

The money also be would used to pay for some night-vision security cameras.

Copyright (c) 2007, Albany Times Union, N.Y. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.