Gas pipeline operators set sights on NY

Sep 4, 2012

As New York State moves ever closer to allowing some form of hydraulic fracturing - natural gas pipeline operators are said to be already looking at setting up shop - while those who oppose the controversial method of natural gas extraction are predicting environmental damage, safety problems and land seizures through eminent domain. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports

The Constitution Pipeline would run from Susquehanna County in Pennsylvania through New York's Broome, Chenango, and Delaware counties to connect with the existing Tennessee and Iroquois pipelines in the Schoharie County town of Wright. It's proposed by Williams Partners, an energy infrastructure company based in Tulsa, Okla., and Houston-based Cabot Oil & Gas.

Williams spokesman Chris Stockyon explains that the pipeline is fully contracted with long-term commitments from natural gas producers operating in Pennsylvania and IS NOT designed to facilitate natural gas drilling in New York...

Kate Hudson, Watershed Program Director for Riverkeeper, points out the SGIS that the DEC has been working on for four years does not address the environmental impacts associated with pipelines

John Holko, director of the Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York, notes officials like New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg have come to realize the positive impact of burning natural gas: Bloomberg has declared it would help the city reduce the greenhouse gases and unhealthy air quality caused by burning oil and coal.

Bruce Kernan and his siblings own a 400-acre productive forest in the Delaware County town of Harpersfield: it's been in the family since 1946: he says the pipeline path across will cut land 150 feet wide and a mile long - for which the family would receive about 7-thousand dollars "for the value of the land."

Among the family's concerns:  the pipeline will destroy wetland habitat and reduce water quality. At public meetings and in letters to federal regulators, New York residents have aired fears about potential gas explosions and leaks, noise and air pollution from compressor stations.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the U.S. natural gas pipeline network has more than 300,000 miles of interstate and intrastate transmission pipelines and more than 1,400 compressor stations that maintain pressure to move gas along the lines.

If it's approved, "Constitution" pipeline construction would start in April 2014 with a goal of having it operational by March 2015.