As Bruce Kernan sees it, the pipeline planners have taken a callous approach to coming up with the pathway that the 122-mile transmission line would take to run natural gas from northeastern Pennsylvania to the town of Wright in Schoharie County.
Kernan said the pipeline planners in Houston are steaming ahead with the project, even though, he argued, it poses a major environmental threat to Clapper Lake and nearby Mud Pond, which is located just outside the family’s preserve and has also been been described as having statewide and regional significance as a pristine wetland.
Like many other landowners along the transmission system’s proposed route, Kernan and his siblings rejected Constitution Pipeline’s invitation to have land surveyors examine their property. If they allow the company to have an easement to their land, he said, they would stand to collect about $80,000 from the company.
That’s not going to happen, Bruce Kernan said as he paddled a canoe towards a flock of Canada geese across Clapper Lake.
“This is land that has produced taxes for the last 67 years — taxes to the Harpersfield, taxes to the town of Worcester, taxes to the town of Maryland, taxes to Schenevus, to the school district in Worcester, to the school district in Davenport,” he said. “We pay them from our own income, mostly what we get from the forest (by selling timber). What we have sold in timber is about equal to what we have paid in taxes. It’s not as if we are making some sort of financial killing here.”
The goal, he said, has been simple — to preserve the land, not to make a quick buck from it by selling off pieces to developers.
“Placing the pipeline between Clapper Lake and Mud Pond (which is what the company’s plans call for) would invite invasive species into these wetlands and cause irreversible damage,” Kernan said.