FERC spokesman Tamara Young-Allen said her agency will continue to accept public comments until a final environmental impact statement is issued. She said there are no plans to conduct additional scoping hearings.
In another development, Acting FERC Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur advised Rep. Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook, that compensation of affected landowners along the route “will either be determined through direct, voluntary negotiations with the Constitution or, if the project is approved by the Commission, by the courts in eminent domain proceedings if the company and the landowner fail to come to an agreement.’
LaFleur wrote to Gibson in response to concerns the congressman expressed on behalf of a constituent. LaFleur said: “The Commission does not have a role in the easement or compensation process.”
The pipeline project has been endorsed by Amphenol Aerospace in Sidney, several labor unions and business organizations, all contending it will help spark the local economy and make the nation less dependent on imported oil.
But last month, the he U.S. Environmental Protection Agency signaled that it views FERC’s draft report on the environmental impacts “insufficient.” The EPA called for more study of another potential option — co-locating the transmission line along Interstate 88.
Stop the Pipeline contends the project planners have designed the current route along ridge top areas in order to pave the way for future hydraulic fracturing for shale gas in the region. The company denies the project is linked to any drilling plans in New York.