Constitution Pipeline Project to hold public "open house" meetings

Above: Detail from a map showing the proposed route of the Constitution Pipeline. If built, the Constitution Pipeline will transport natural gas from northern Pennsylvania to existing pipelines that pass through Schoharie County. Source: Constitution Pipeline website.

Want a chance to talk to the company planning to build a 120-mile natural gas pipeline across the northwestern edge of the Catskills? Here's your chance: The Constitution Pipeline Company will host open-house meetings in Delaware and Schoharie Counties this week.

The proposed pipeline would be an underground line, 30 inches in diameter, connecting gas from Pennsylvania to pipelines that serve the Boston and New York City energy markets. Landowners whose land is crossed by the pipeline will receive compensation based on impact and the market value of the land, and the company has stated that local communities may be able to tap into the line along the route.

On Wednesday, July 25, an open house will be held at the Franklin Central School, on 26 Institute Street in Franklin. On Thursday, July 26, another meeting wil be held at the Best Western on 121 Burgin Drive in Cobleskill. Both meetings will take place from 6:30 to 8:30pm.

The meetings follow similar open-house events in the New York State towns of Afton and Windsor, and New Milford, Pennsylvania.

The proposed pipeline's route has drawn criticism from some, including state senator James Seward, who are pushing the company to run it along the existing I-88 corridor. From a July 10 story in the Albany Times-Union:

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.

The Daily Star's Joe Mahoney, who has been following the issue, reports that Constitution Pipeline representatives will also be making a presentation to the Schoharie Town Board on Friday.

The Times Journal reports that in the Schoharie County town of Middleburgh, the town board is lobbying the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission -- which must approve any pipeline plans -- to move the pipeline to the I-88 corridor instead of allowing it to run through the Schoharie Valley.

The company's answers to some frequently asked questions about the pipeline, and more detailed maps showing its proposed route through New York State, are available from their website.