By Joe Mahoney
The Daily Star
---- — COOPERSTOWN — Five counties — including Delaware, Schoharie and Chenango — would benefit to the tune of $188 million as a result of the construction and eventual operation of the proposed Constitution Pipeline, a Rochester think tank hired by the pipeline planners said Monday.
The Center for Government Research said in a news release that its study of the project’s economic impact showed that 28 percent of the $683 million investment the pipeline company intends to make — or $188 million — “will directly benefit the five-county region.”
In addition to Delaware, Schoharie and Chenango counties, the territory also includes Broome County and, in northern Pennsylvania, Susquehanna County, the research organization said.
The research center and the the Constitution Pipeline outlined the findings in a press release. They did not release the actual study. Christopher Stockton, the spokesman for the pipeline company, said that “the complete study will be posted to the Constitution website once it is submitted to FERC (the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) later this month.”
Over the three-year construction phase, the research organization said, the project’s economic impact would include the creation of the equivalent of 2,400 jobs, with 1,400 of them in the construction industry.
The construction phase — if the project is approved by federal regulations — would also create $96 million in income in the region, with $60 million of that tied to construction, the research group said. There would also be $9 million in sales tax revenue, with $7.5 million of that in New York State, the researchers said.
Anne Marie Garti of East Meredith, an organizer of the grassroots opposition group Stop the Pipeline, said the press release outlining the findings of the study amounted to “bought and paid for P.R. (public relations).” She noted the document failed to describe if potential negative consequences were measured.
“What are the assumptions of the study?” she said. “What are the losses in property values going to be? When they submit the actual study, then we will rebut it with our own study.”
Her group contends the project will threaten the ability of landowners whose property is traversed by the pipeline or is near it to sell their parcels, and will very likely reduce the current market value for the land.
The researchers said the pipeline would produce $13 million for the five counties via property tax revenue — the biggest chunk of which, $4.9 million, would go to Schoharie County. Delaware County would reap $4.4 million while Chenango County would see an infusion of $1.3 million.
The Center for Government Research is the same organization that Otsego County lawmakers have retained to help them with their plan to privatize the 174-bed Otsego Manor nursing home.