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Another Pipeline Proposed For Broome County

A Pennsylvania-based energy firm has unveiled plans to add yet another gas pipeline in Broome County. As Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas explains, the news comes as energy companies and anti-fracking activists continue their vigil to see if hydraulic fracturing will be allowed in New York State.

Erie, Pennsylvania's EmKey Gathering LLC  this month gained the rights to a 75-mile right-of-way through three New York counties - and revealed plans to transport natural gas from locally-drilled wells to major energy markets, by connecting with the Millenium Pipeline.

Millenium Pipeline is part of a federally regulated interstate system: spokesman Steve Sullivan says any company can announce "plans" to build a pipeline.

EmKey’s general manager Stephen Keyes told the press that the company began to contact landowners along the right of way last Friday. Keyes said it’s anticipated EmKey’s envisioned pipeline would be 16 to 24 inches in diameter, and would be used to transport natural gas extracted from drilling in shale formations such as the Marcellus and Utica.

Kate Hudson, Watershed Program Director for Riverkeeper, finds it concerning that the new pipeline proposal has surfaced. Keyes, who did not return calls for comment, also told the press that EmKey plans to submit a formal application to state regulators AFTER New York finalizes its study of high-volume, hydraulic fracturing.

Bob Nied is a member of the board of directors for the Center for Sustainable Rural Communities - he believes that if fracking is not permitted in New York, many of the pipeline plans will wither. Millenium Pipeline's Steve Sullivan disagrees: he says there is a need for additional pipelines to service gas customers.

Calls to Governor Andrew Cuomo's office were not returned in time for broadcast. Natural gas pipeline projects involving Broome County include the recently-completed Laser Midstream Pipeline, the proposed Constitution Pipeline and the Bluestone Pipeline, which is currently under construction.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.