As Davenport Town Supervisor Dennis Valente sees it, it’s inappropriate for the Constitution Pipeline to be building public support for the controversial project by doling out what the company calls community grants.
The beneficiaries of the money are certainly worthy causes, he said. In fact, he added, one of them in his own backyard — the Pindars Corners Fire Department. The volunteer fire company scored a $23,955 grant form the pipeline company to purchase new gear.
But what irks Valente, he said, is the timing of the awards.
“It doesn’t pass the sniff test,” he said. “They want something from us.
“If the powers that be in the federal government decide, based on the merits, that this is going to be imposed on us, at that point and under those terms, I would be willing to apply for some of that money,” he said. “But right now it looks like some kind of payoff.”
Valente said he has tried to keep a balanced view of the project. If it gets the green light from federal regulators, the 121-mile pipeline would run through Davenport for 14 miles. He said he encouraged property owners to allow land surveyors go on their parcels so that the project planners can learn about the terrain and any environmentally sensitive areas or other obstacles they might encounter.
But he said he does not promote the project. Indeed, in October, Valente was one of just three members of the Delaware County Board of Supervisors to vote against a resolution in support of the pipeline.
Seventeen of his colleagues on the board had a different opinion, and the pro-pipeline resolution passed overwhelmingly. Valente would explain that he thought the resolution gushed too much about the project, and he was trying to keep an open mind on the potential impact it might have on the largely rural communities through which it would pass.