After four months helping in ground zero recovery post-Sept. 11, New York City Police Officer Nick Russo sought respite by moving with his family to the rolling hills of Orange County, on the northern fringe of the metropolitan area.
The county has gotten a reputation as a haven for generations of retired or commuting police and firefighters from the city; the hamlet of Westtown wears the nickname "Guns & Hoses."
"I had restricted lung breathing, stomach problems" related to breathing toxic dust at ground zero, Russo said. "I just wanted to get away from all the pollution in the city."
Now, Russo and others in the town of Minisink are battling what they say is another health threat. He has banded with other residents to fight the $43 million Minisink Compressor Project on the Millennium Pipeline, designed to help ease the power crunch in New York City, an hour's drive to the south.
"So I move up here, next to the beautiful cows and farms," Russo said. "And now here I am fighting a compressor station on farmland right down the road."