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Pipeline opponents ask DEC to deny permit

Feb 25, 2016 12:04 am
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Andrea Sears reports from New York News Connection for Public News Service that opponents of a proposed gas pipeline want the state to stop the project by denying a water quality certificate. The 30-inch pipeline is being built by the Constitution Pipeline Company, a joint venture of Williams Partners and Cabot Oil & Gas.

It would run 124 miles from northern Pennsylvania to Schoharie County, New York, crossing under 277 bodies of water.

According to Wes Gillingham, program director with Catskill Mountainkeeper, the Department of Environmental Conservation has been highly critical of the construction plans.

"There's a whole series of comments that DEC made to protect water and they were basically ignored by Cabot and Williams, and they put forward the same proposals," says Gillingham.

The company points out that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's environmental impact statement says the project's impact would be "less than significant" with the implementation of proposed mitigation measures.

The DEC has until April to grant or deny the water quality certificate.

Gillingham says the commission views pipelines as "public necessities," thereby empowering companies to seize private land through eminent domain.

"And they're taking New Yorkers' and Pennsylvanian's property that people have worked their lifetimes for, and they're taking it away for their own corporate interest," he says.

There are 120 landowners who would lose property to the gas company for pipeline construction.

Gillingham notes this isn't the only project. Gas and oil companies are building pipelines all over the country.

"They're pushing really hard to lock us into an infrastructure for the next 30 to 50 years when we need to be moving away from greenhouse fossil fuels and relying much more heavily on renewables," says Gillingham.