There's been a change in plans for the proposed Constitution Pipeline that officials claim would make the project more environmentally sound. Capital Region Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.
The controversial 122-mile pipeline would bring natural gas produced by hydrofracking in Northern Pennsylvania to a terminal in the Schoharie County Town of Wright, where it would then be sent on to other existing lines in the area. Constitution Pipeline LLC is planning to submit a permit application to build the line early this year to FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
This week, Iroquois Gas Transmission System announced it would scrub plans to build a new compressor, instead expand the existing one in Wright. The Wright Interconnect project would upgrade the compressor to handle a daily capacity of 650-thousand deka-therms of natural gas.
Constitution Chris Stockton adds the pipeline route has now been finalized. Constitution officials say they are filing a draft resource associated with the project next month as they continue working toward filing their FERC application this spring.
Schoharie Town Supervisor Gene Milone has been an outspoken opponent of the pipeline project. He believes the pipeline companies took advantage of the devastation the County suffered from Storms Irene and Lee to try to shove the project through channels toward final approval.
Iroquois' Ruth Parkins defends the project - she says bringing gas from the Marcellus will provide customers in New York and New England will supply options while enhancing system reliability and reducing costs.
Bob Nied is a member of the board of directors for the Center For Sustainable Rural Communities. He points to the danger of the latest announcement being just another "distraction."
As the project moves ahead, Iroquois officials confirm the company plans to submit a separate FERC request for the announced changes and upgrades. Iroquois and Constitution would like to see the pipeline operational by 2015.