In response to an inquiry about the routing from The Daily Star, Christopher Stockton, the spokesman for the $750 million project, acknowledged: “We do clip Clapper Hollow State Forest with the primary route by just a couple hundred feet.”
Stockton said pipeline staffers “are still actively working with NYDEC to refine the routing in that area to either avoid, minimize or mitigate that crossing.”
Jefferson Town Supervisor Dan Singletary said the company’s so-called preferred route has changed several times, and he had not been aware the current route calls for running the line through the state forest.
Singletary noted he goes cross-country skiing at Clapper Hollow in winter.
“The town has a position that while we are concerned about the operation and the siting of these things, it’s really out of our hands,” Singletary said. “It’s in the hands of FERC.”
In recent correspondence related to various pipeline concerns, the DEC indicated that the proposed construction schedule for the 121-mile route, beginning in late 2014, “appears to be in conflict” with construction restrictions designed to protect trout and warm-water fisheries.
A DEC official also took note of concerns with the impact the project could have on Northern Monkshood, a federal-listed protected species of fish found in Delaware County.
The official, Patricia J. Desnoyers, noted that a number of landowners have refused to allow surveys of their tracts.
“At those locations where permission has not been granted to survey this species, those surveys need to be conducted once the easement has been granted through eminent domain, prior to initiation of construction activities,” Desnoyers wrote March 29.
Whether the pipeline company gets eminent domain authority has not yet been determined. That power would be conferred upon the company only if FERC deems the project to be a public necessity, and awards it a federal license. Before that happens, however, a detailed environmental impact review must be completed.