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October 6, 2012

Fed agency wary of pipeline


“Consideration should be given to to future Marcellus shale gas drilling and additional natural gas pipelines and infrastructure which may be required,” Stilwell wrote. “ ... While we understand that future development is difficult to predict, some information from Marcellus Shale drilling in Pennsylvania may provide insight.”

Stilwell also suggested various species of wildlife and wetlands are expected to be impacted by the project. He said the proposed alternative routes would “cross many tracts of forest, some large in size.”

“The fragmentation of forests by utilities, roads, and other development results in the direct loss of habitat and can reduce habitat quality, particularly for interior species such as black bear, northern goshawk, scarlet tanager and ovenbird among many others,” he wrote. Thus, he said, the analysis should consider “not only the direct but also the indirect effects of fragmentation.”

Constitution Pipeline spokesman Christopher Stockton did not respond to telephone messages requesting comment.

A representative of the Delaware-Otsego Audobon Society, Andrew Mason, said he was pleased to learn that the Fish and Wildlife official had expressed strong environmental concerns. “It will be interesting to see if FERC gives it any weight,” Mason said. The local Audubon group is opposed to the pipeline.

Stilwell’s four-page letter was directed to Kevin Bowman, a FERC environmental protection specialist.

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