NY Constitution Pipeline Route Change?

Cabot Oil & Gas and Williams are partnering to build a new $750 million, 120-mile “Constitution Pipeline” to bring Marcellus Shale gas all the way from Susquehanna County, PA to Schoharie County, NY where it would connect to the Iroquois Gas Transmission pipeline and the Tennessee Gas pipeline (see this MDN story).

But the route the new pipeline takes through New York (see the map below) is being opposed by some area residents and by two Republican state legislators: Assemblyman Pete Lopez and Sen. James Seward. They want the pipeline to “hug” the Interstate 88 corridor instead.

Some residents and shale gas drilling opponents warn the proposed pipeline’s path runs through flood-prone areas. They’re pushing for an alternate route that would hug Interstate 88 to the north of the proposed path.

That was largely the purpose of Tuesday’s meeting at Schoharie Valley Farms, where Assemblyman Pete Lopez and a fellow Republican, state Sen. James Seward, met with about 40 Schoharie County residents and others along the proposed route.

“We’re here to build momentum for the I-88 corridor option,” Seward said.

“This pipeline is simply in the wrong location,” added Schoharie Village Mayor John Borst, who also wants it closer to the interstate.

The existing plan, he said, runs through the village watershed.

Unlike the yet-unresolved question of whether the state should allow hydrofracking — a decision that falls largely on Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Department of Environmental Conservation — the final approval for the pipeline is up to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Constitution spokesman Chris Stockton said they initially looked at aligning the pipeline with I-88, but there are difficulties including mountainous terrain, highly populated areas and several Susquehanna River crossings.

Despite the problems, developers are taking a second look at the I-88 option.*

*Albany (NY) Times Union (Jul 10, 2012) – $750M gas line draws critics