Pipeline company urges homeowner easements

Stop 81 Pipeline
November 20, 2013

Homeowners along an abandoned gas line across three counties in Central New York, are getting advice about how to deal with gas companies who may come knocking. The Millennium Pipeline Company is trying to get federal approval to build a 60-mile pipeline from the town of Onondaga down to the Binghamton area in order to connect several east-west natural gas pipelines.

In order to do this, the pipeline company, an affiliate of National Grid among other energy companies, will need the help of homeowners.

A group of activists is calling it the I-81 pipeline, because it runs roughly parallel to the Interstate through Onondaga, Cortland and Broome Counties. The 24-inch pipeline would replace a much smaller one abandoned by Sun Oil years ago. 

Millennium would need more space to build the bigger pipeline which is why they need easements from homeowners. Syracuse attorney Joe Heath says his advice to any of the homeowners who are approached about this is to just say no.

“This is not a lease that terminates. This is a permanent easement that once it’s signed, this company has its rights forever. So what we urging people, is to be very careful, to talk to lawyers who know this problem, and to not sign right away.”

The Stop 81 Pipeline group is holding a series of community meetings to educate homeowners on the issue. Heath says one concern they have is that it would run through one of the most environmentally fragile area in Central New York, the Tully Valley. It’s home to glacial lakes, a sensitive wetland, and an area that is geologically unstable. Heath is also concerned about the bigger picture.

"We’re in a crossroads in New York. We can’t continue to burn fossil fuels. It’s not morally responsible to our grandchildren and beyond. And everyone of these infrastructure projects comes along is all about increasing corporate profits, while we tie our self more and more to fossil fuels."