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October 11, 2012

Delaware pols tout pipeline 'benefits'

(Continued)

He said he was also concerned that once the natural gas transmission system infrastructure is put into place, “it greatly increases the probability of fracking in this neighborhood.”

If federal regulators approve the project next year, and the pipeline that would run 121 miles from Pennsylvania to Schoharie County goes through Delaware County, Valente said he will strongly push for gas from it to be distributed to local customers.

The resolution stated in part that the board favors “access to the proposed Constitution Pipeline to establish distribution lines for the benefit of businesses, residents and communities.”

The chairman of the board, Harpersfield Town Supervisor James Eisel Sr., said having the Constitution Pipeline cutting through the county would amount to a “win-win” for local residents because of the potential for some of its gas to be channeled to local residents, businesses and institutions.

He said the county is “on hard times” and economic development is sorely needed. In addition, he argued, natural gas is far cleaner than other types of fossil fuels and sends “less toxins into the air.” He noted that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently argued that increasing reliance on natural gas while decreasing the use of home heating oil would improve air quality.

On that note, Capouya interjected and pointed out that Bloomberg is opposed to having the pipeline within New York City’s vast upstate watershed, a portion of which is in Delaware County.

County Budget Director Bruce Dolph said local school systems and governments could save significant amount of money if the pipeline facilities their ability to convert their heating systems to natural gas. He said county government alone would see an annual savings of about $90,000 while the Delhi schools would be able to cut costs to the tune of $40,000.

A similar resolution last week was supported by the Otsego County Board of Representatives, although that panel favors an alternative pipeline pathway, dubbed Route M, that would place about 30 miles of the transmission system in Otsego County. That route is essentially competing with the so-called primary route favored by the Constitution Pipeline planners. The FERC not only determines if the project will be constructed but also the route it will take as well as the precise location of a compressor station that has been proposed for Schoharie County.

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