The grassroots group Stop the Pipeline is urging residents to petition FERC for intervenor status so that they can have input into the FERC deliberations on the license application. Those petittions began to trickle into the agency this week.
Mary Ann Garti of East Meredith, an organizer for Stop the Pipeline, said within the first 21 days of a license application filing, those seeking intervenor status only have to briefly explain how the project will impact them. But after July 17, she said, getting the status is expected to become more cumbersome.
“It’s easy now, and it doesn’t cost anybody anything (to ask for intervenor status) and it preserves their rights,” Garti said.
She said Stop the Pipeline, which is working with the Pace University Environmental Legal Clinic, will also be seeking intervenor status, but it is still important for individuals taking a stance on the project to also file as individuals. “The group will represent the group,” she said. “Individuals represent themselves.”
Stop the Pipeline will be hosting a “Learn How to Intervene” meeting from 2 to 5 p.m on July 6 at Unitarian Universalist Society of Oneonta, at 12 Ford Ave., Oneonta.
Robert Harlem, one of the founders of the Oneonta-based pro-business group Citizens Voices, which has endorsed the pipeline project, said his group has not yet decided whether it will ask group to become intervenors in the pipeline project.
Harlem, the president of Oneonta Block Co., said there are no basis for claims that the pipeline project would become a magnet for hydrofracking in the region, noting the infrastructure is needed to bring gas harvested in Pennsylvania to existing pipelines in Schoharie County.
“We need jobs for our people,” said Harlem. “We’ve been exporting our youth. We can’t live in a ghost town.”
Harlem also said he questions what he called the “ulterior motives” of those out to kill the pipeline. “How do they plan to meet the needs of society?” he asked. “Tell us something you are for. That’s the question they have to ask themselves.”