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At risk eagle

Pipeline planners say build won’t harm bald eagles

The planners of the Constitution Pipeline are asking state and federal regulators to determine that the 124.4 mile natural gas transmission system will have no adverse impacts to the region’s bald eagle population, including those nesting within the project survey area.

In a recent letter to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, Lynda Schubring, the environmental project manager for the pipeline company, advised that there are now eight occupied bald eagle nests within the survey area, including two new nests that were noted during recent aerial surveys.

She said there are no bald eagle nests within a quarter mile of the project, and two previously identified nests are within a half-mile of the project; and three of the nests are located within a mile. She said Constitution is going to “implement a limited tree-clearing plan during the migratory bird nesting season.”

The construction of the pipeline will involve blasting and other measures that have drawn the concern of the Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society and the New York State Ornithological Association. Andrew Mason of Jefferson, the conservation chairman for the association, said the group is pushing for a 1,000 foot minimum buffer from pipeline construction area. If blasting is to occur, he said, then the minimum distance between the nests and the work area should be double that during nesting season.

Mason said he disagrees with the pipeline company’s contention that the construction will have no adverse impacts on bald eagles.

“The buffers may mitigate impacts, but not eliminate them,” he said.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, a coalition of environmental groups urged DEC Commissioner Joe Martens to extend the comment period on the pipeline company’s application for water permits for 60 days following the release of all information that the agency is using in its review.

The groups noted that many properties along the pipeline route had not been surveyed as of Aug. 14, 2014, the last time the company updated its application to the state.

“DEC appears to be on the brink of deciding whether or not to grant permits for this fracked-gas project, yet we’ve been told that the public only has a couple more days to comment on information that nobody has seen,” said Mark Pezzati of Stop the Pipeline, a grassroots activist group.

The DEC is taking public comments on the pipeline application until Thursday.

In related news, New rules to protect threatened bats could affect natural gas site construction.

(c)2015 The Daily Star (Oneonta, N.Y.)

This article was written by Joe Mahoney from The Daily Star, Oneonta, N.Y. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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