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Local News

June 29, 2013

Pipeline filing sets stage for FERC

As Carolyn Melszer of the rural town of Summit in Schoharie County sees it, industrial pipelines have no place in bucolic communities that teem with wildlife and waterways.

In a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Friday, she explained why she is opposed to the proposed Constitution Pipeline, noting that what attracted her in the first place to a town like Summit was “the beauty, peace and quiet of this area.”

“We already know that the Constitution Pipeline company intents to send most of the gas overseas for their own profit,” Melszer wrote. “Which is more important — people or money?”

Melszer was one of the first persons living in the vicinity of the proposed pathway of the 122-mile natural gas transmission system to ask the federal agency to be awarded intervenor status.

FERC, by giving public notice this week that the pipeline planners have now formally filed their application for a federal license to construct the $683 million project, effectively opened the door for those following the project to become official intervenors.

According to a FERC-issued citizen’s guide on pipeline projects, those who become intervenors will be able to acquire the applicant’s license filing and other commission documents, including those filed by “other interested parties.”

“You will also be able to file briefs, appear at hearings and be heard by the courts if you chose to appeal the Commission’s final ruling,” the guide book states.

The controversial project — proposed by a consortium of four significant players in the natural gas industry — has divided local residents. Opponents argue it will lure gas drilling operations to the region and lower the value of parcels that run along the pathway. Proponents contend it will bring jobs to the region, infuse local governments with a new source of local revenue and lower energy costs for schools, hospitals, businesses and local governments.

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