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Local News

December 11, 2013

Pipeline planners sidestep BOCES campus

The routing of the proposed Constitution Pipeline has been adjusted to keep it from running through an area on the campus of a regional BOCES school where students are taught to use such heavy equipment as bulldozers and backhoes.

The route change was noted in newly released documents that have been filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the agency that controls the fate of the controversial $683 million project.

The largely underground transmission system, if approved by the federal regulators, would send shale gas extracted in Pennsylvania through a pipe 30 inches in diameter to two existing pipelines in the Schoharie County town of Wright.

The proposal to have the pipeline slice across the campus was vehemently opposed by the Albany-Schoharie-Schenectady-Saratoga Board of Cooperative Educational Services. Its officials said in September that it made no sense to them to have the pipeline run a few feet underground in an area where students are using excavating equipment.

Christopher Stockton, a spokesman for the pipeline company, said the project’s planners met with BOCES representatives recently. “As a result of that meeting, we worked with our engineers to make adjustments to the proposed pipeline route so that it completely avoids the BOCES equipment training area,” Stockton said Tuesday in an emailed response to questions from The Daily Star.

“We continue to make tweaks to the route based on feedback we receive from landowners and other agencies,” he wrote.

The pipeline company has been offering financial payments to owners of parcels along the proposed route if they agree to easements that would allow construction crews to install the pipe on those properties.

Hundreds of landowners along the approximately 90-mile stretch that the pipeline would run in New York have refused to allow surveys to be conducted on their property. The BOCES administrators had spurned the pipeline company’s offer of more than $25,000 for an easement on its property in the town of Schoharie.

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