2 gas co. want pipelines across Schoharie County

By David Avitabile

Two pipeline companies are hoping to construct large transmission lines to transport natural gas across Schoharie County.
El Paso Gas and Cabot Oil and Gas, both of Texas, have filed or are getting ready to file applications with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to build 30-inch pipelines through the county to the compressor station in the Town of Wright, where it will be sent to other areas in the Northeast and New England, said Alicia Terry, the head of the county's planning department.
Natural gas wells are being developed in Pennsylvania and companies are looking to transport that gas, which may be extracted through hydrofracking, to customers in the Northeast and New England, she said.
The final pipeline alignments for both companies have not yet been set but El Paso Gas, locally known as the Tennessee Gas Pipeline, is projected to go through the towns of Jefferson, Summit, Richmondville, Cobleskill, and Schoharie, before reaching the Iroquois Gas compressor station in Wright, Ms. Terry said. El Paso may also construct its own compressor station.
Cabot Oil of Houston, Texas, plans a more northerly route through the county, Ms. Terry said.
The company plans to go through Summit, Richmondville, Cobleskill, Carlisle and Esperance before getting to the compressor station in Wright.
Company representatives have been contacting landowners about easements for the proposed lines, she said. The easements, which the companies would be paying for, would be 50-feet wide.
The location of the lines, though, is not set in stone, she added.
"It's not over yet," Ms. Terry said, "it could move 20 feet or two miles."
Officials from El Paso met with supervisors of the towns that may be impacted on February 7 and Cabot Oil announced its plan on February 21.
On its website, Cabot officials said its high pressure Constitution Pipeline would be capable of transporting 500,000 thousand-cubic-feet of natural gas per day "from the heart of Cabot's Marcellus acreage" in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania to interconnect with both Iroquois Gas Transmission and Tennessee Gas Pipeline in Schoharie County.
Any new pipelines have to be approved by FERC, Ms. Terry said.
It is possible, she said, that both, neither or just one of the pipelines could be approved.
Members of the planning department have been meeting with supervisors of the towns that could be affected, Ms. Terry said.
She noted that if a natural gas franchise was set up in the Village of Schoharie or another municipality, the gas could be sold to residents, businesses and the school.
Schoharie Supervisor Gene Milone said the news of the proposed pipelines came as a shock to supervisors.
"Companies are looking to take advantage of this situation" the county is in because of the flood.
A pipeline in the Town of Schoharie could go through 22 properties and "definitely impact the quality of life and the value of their homes," Mr. Milone said.
He said he has spoken to most of the landowners that may be affected.
"Just to listen to the hysteria in their voices is crushing," he said.
If there is resistance, he said, the easements may just be taken through eminent domain.

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