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January 15, 2014

Land trustees ask FERC to shift pipeline route


“Constitution,” she added, “has to date refused to acknowledge adverse impacts to Trust lands or change the pipeline route — but Constitution’s recalcitrance does not excuse the Commission from arriving at its own independent conclusions.”

Christopher Stockton, a spokesman for the pipeline company, said project engineers have examined various alternative routes, including those suggested by the Kernan family members, and found they would have “greater impacts” on the environment than the company’s preferred route.

“We have worked directly with the Kernans to the extent that they have allowed us to do so,” Stockton said. “They have not granted access to that property for us to conduct a complete environmental analysis. Analysis using our available desktop resources suggest greater impacts, both environmentally and to other landowners (their neighbors) for all re-routes suggested by the Kernans and developed by our engineering team.”

Stockton also said that the pipeline planners have “reviewed multiple alternatives along the Kernan property and provided that analysis within our Alternatives Report in Resource Report 10 provided to FERC.”

“We’ve demonstrated that we are more than willing to make route adjustments to accommodate landowner requests, modifying more than 50 percent of the original route,” Stockton said. “However, in this case rather than reducing our footprint, the alternatives appear to simply shift impacts to a different set of landowners.”

Advocates for the controversial project have said the pipeline will produce a continuing new stream of revenue for local governments and make natural gas more readily available to schools, hospitals and businesses. Critics argue the pipeline will invite invasive species into environmentally sensitive areas and pave the way for the gas-drilling industry to enter the region.

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