Recently, Pennsylvania residents had the opportunity to voice their concerns or support for the Constitution Pipeline project, which would enter New York through Broome County and connect to an existing upstate pipeline. It was the last public hearing before its final approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC.
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 in the Southern Tier on its way to connect with the already existing Tennessee Gas Pipeline in Schoharie County.
The public forum was on FERC’s draft environmental impact study of the proposed pipeline, and both sides at the meeting were passionate. People spoke for more than two hours.
Rebecca Roter lives less than a half mile away from where the pipeline would begin. She 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," Roter said. "Do the right thing and deny this application.”
Union worker Dave Reynolds stepped to the microphone wearing a neon-green shirt that read, “Our jobs are on the line.”
“I’ve been pipelining for about four or five years,” Reynolds said.
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," Reynolds explained. "You know what we did? We kick dirt over the hydraulic fluid and walked away. 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 recently came to an end, and now FERC will start writing the final regulations.