Constitution Pipeline Payments to Groups – Donations or Payola?

money bagWhat do you call it when a company pays money to local organizations and agencies before the project has been fully approved by federal, state and local agencies? These payments, mind you, are not fees for permits or licenses, but voluntary chunks of money offered to groups that may be affected by the project if it’s built–in this case a pipeline. Is it called, Good corporate citizenship? Being a responsible member of the local community? Or perhaps, payola?

Regardless of what you call it, the Constitution Pipeline, a desperately needed natural gas pipeline that will run from the gas fields of Susquehanna County, PA to central New York where it will connect to two major interstate pipelines, has now paid out more than $1 million in “community grants” to help build support for the pipeline. Is that a good thing, or bad? We think it’s time to have that discussion…

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