The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Local News -

October 25, 2012

Sparks fly at local pipeline hearing


Landowner James Baldo of the town of Oneonta said he initially gave his approval to a pipeline representative to conduct a survey of his property after he was told that the line would cross a nearby ridge, but would not dissect his property. However, when he viewed the latest map for the alternative route, he saw that the line was not running across the ridge but cutting through his land.

“It doesn’t seem right that I was misled and misinformed by a representative of the pipeline people,” he said.

Also voicing staunch opposition to the project was Richmondville landowner Kimberly Merenz, who noted she works for the U.S. Department of Agriculture but was not representing that agency. She said installing the pipeline could lead to serious soil erosion and produce groundwater contamination. Merenz also noted that there have been 19 minor earthquakes recorded within a few miles of the site where a related compressor station would be build in the town of Wright, and that the region experienced one earthquake that registered a magnitude of 4.1.

The FERC panel also listened as William Cooke, a Schoharie County hog farmer and activist with Citizens Campaign for the Environment, said the project would end up benefiting energy consumers in China, Korean and Japan at the same time that it is “going to crash our property values.” he also argued the federal agency shouldn’t trust a gas industry that has been cited for hundreds of health, safety and environmental violations in Pennsylvania.

“This is New York — and we will stand and we will fight,” Cooke said.

Another pipeline foe, Barbara Loeffler of Davenport, said the region thrives because of its abundance of clean water. But fracking, she argued, requires the usage of millions of gallons of water.

“Oneonta will be a dust bowl without water,” she said.

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