PA residents voice opinions over proposed pipeline

Via Flickr/Buridans Esel
April 4, 2014

Last night Pennsylvania residents had the opportunity to voice their concerns or support for the Constitution Pipeline project. It was the last public hearing before final approval of the proposed pipeline.

Tension ran high at the hearing at Blue Ridge High School in New Milford, PA. It was a battle of words between union members, who want the jobs the pipeline would bring, and landowners concerned about fracking’s negative effects.

The proposed pipeline would run 124 miles of 30-inch pipe. It would start in Susquehanna County, pass into New York and cut through Broome and Delaware counties on its way to connect with the already existing Tennessee Gas Pipeline in Shoharie County. 

Both sides at the meeting were passionate. People spoke for over two hours.

The public forum was on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC’s draft environmental impact study of the proposed pipeline.

Rebecca Roter lives less then a half mile away from where the pipeline would begin. Roter says FERC isn’t doing enough to protect landowners.

“You at FERC have an opportunity to take America back for rural communities like mine or to give a corporate partnership eminent domain to steal American land. Do the right thing and deny this application,” says Roter.  

Union worker Dave Reynolds stepped to the mic wearing a neon-green shirt that read, “Our jobs are on the line.”

“I’ve been pipelining for about four or five years,” says Reynolds.

Before working on pipeline projects, Reynolds grew up on farms in the region. And he says the oil companies have strict regulations that lower the risk of any environmental impact.

“I’ll tell you, the farms I grew up on we never had spill kits. We never had diapers. You know what we did; we kick dirt over the hydraulic fluid and walked away," says Reynolds. "All the farms I’ve worked on in this area have polluted way more than any pipeline I have ever been a part of.”

The public comment period on the study ends today, then FERC will write the final regulations.