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

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October 24, 2012

Pipeline foes gear up for hearing

COOPERSTOWN — An organizer of a grassroots group battling the proposed Constitution Pipeline said Tuesday that landowners opposed to the natural gas transmission system are expected to turn out en masse tonight for a hearing federal regulators are holding on the $750 million project.

What the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission bills as a scoping hearing is scheduled to be held from 7 to 10 p.m. tonight at the Foothills Performing Arts and Civic Center Atrium, at 24 Market St., Oneonta.

Anne Marie Garti of East Meredith, who helped start the opposition group Stop The Pipeline, said: “Scoping is the most important part of the project because it determines the blueprint for what they (FERC) are going to be studying and how they are going to be studying it.”

The 121-mile pipeline, taking gas from shale drilling operations in Susquehanna County, Pa., to Schoharie County, is designed to send enough gas to Boston and New York City markets to power some 3 million homes a day, according to project planners.

The engineers have made more than 100 recent revisions to the proposed primary and alternate routes after discussions with local landowners and officials, said Christopher Stockton, spokesman for the project.

In an interview with The Daily Star, Stockton revealed that the newly revised primary route now incorporates what had been alternate routes F, Q and R — all stretches in Schoharie County. “The fact we are making those changes is an indication we are listening” to landowners, Stockton said.

Stockton said the maps currently posted on the company’s web site have not yet been updated to reflect the new “tweaks and adjustments.” He said updated maps will be posted in about two weeks.

FERC, after holding three earlier scoping hearings, recently extended the deadline for public comment on the project to Nov. 9 after pipeline opponents said residents did not have sufficient time to review an alternative pathway, Route M, that hugs Interstate 88 and would bring the project into Otsego County. Tonight’s hearing was not scheduled until two weeks ago, after pipeline foes complained that no forum had been planned for either Delaware or Otsego counties.

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