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Local News

June 20, 2014

Pipeline firm to feds: Eagles can cope with blasting

Planners of the proposed Constitution Pipeline told federal regulators Thursday that they don’t believe their plan to blast bedrock during construction of the project would disturb bald eagles nesting near the pathway of the natural gas transmission system.

“It is possible that blasting could be required within 0.5 miles of the nests, but exact locations of blasting will not be known until construction commences,” the pipeline planners said in a report submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by Timothy Powell, a project manager for the Houston-based company said.

The pipeline pathway is within .5 miles of two known bald eagle nests, with the closest one being .35 miles from the route. The report did not pinpoint precisely where those nests are located, but it did point out that they are within 1,000 feet of Interstate 88.

“Given the existing noise and visual disturbance that these eagles tolerate from I-88 and the visual and noise buffers that exist between the pipeline and the nests, Constitution anticipates that the sound of any potential limited and controlled blasting activities is likely to be sufficiently dissipated to avoid disturbance of any eagle nesting behavior,” the pipeline report stated.

The Constitution Pipeline’s report addressed several concerns that FERC is focusing on after its initial draft environmental impact statement was described as inadequate by federal and state environmental agencies and by the grassroots opposition group Stop the Pipeline.

Andrew Mason of Jefferson, co-president of the Delaware Otsego Audubon Society, had last week advised FERC that the mitigation measures designed to protect migratory birds and their habitat was “seriously flawed.”

Contacted Thursday night by The Daily Star, Mason said he seriously questions the effort by the pipeline company to justify blasting near the nests because the eagles can tolerate noise from I-88. Any “sudden and unexpected” explosions from blasting would likely have a significantly different impact on wildlife than the monotonous drone of distant highway traffic, Mason reasoned.

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