Joe Mahoney | The Daily Star (Oneonta, N.Y.)
Hundreds of landowners in Schoharie County and elsewhere in upstate New York have been contacted in recent weeks by a Texas-based energy company, advising them their property is along the potential route of a new Tennessee Gas pipeline being proposed by the firm, Schoharie Town Supervisor Gene Milone said Friday.
Milone said representatives of Kinder Morgan Inc., a Houston firm involved in the natural gas industry, were pressed by members of the Schoharie Board of Supervisors to come up with maps showing exactly which properties would be in the pathway of the underground pipeline. He said company officials advised the supervisors that the firm has recently contacted some 500 landowners in upstate New York, indicating it will want their permission to survey the parcels.
The pipeline would run near the route of another proposed natural gas transmission system, the Constitution Pipeline, but at this point there is no plan to co-locate them within the same easement, officials said.
Like the Constitution Pipeline, the Tennessee Gas pipeline would also bring shale gas harvested in Pennsylvania and send it to pipeline connections in the Schoharie town of Wright.
Milone said he’s opposed to both projects, contending they will negatively impact local property values.
“There is a rumor going around here that two or three more pipelines might be coming in,” he said after the Board of Supervisors meeting. “I’m having a real problem with this. I asked them if they have any intention of sending this gas to our local communities and they said the answer is ‘no.’ This is not going to help our people. All it does it hurt property values. No one wants to buy property with a pipeline on it.”
No formal vote was taken on the project by the county board. Interstate pipelines are regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
The board’s chairman, Gilboa Town Supervisor Anthony Van Glad, said while several supervisors, such as Milone, voiced strong opposition to the project, only one, Wright Town Supervisor Amber Bleau, was firmly in favor of it.
She indicated that the operators of the compressor station in Wright have been responsible neighbors, Van Glad said.
Of the reception to the Kinder Morgan representatives by the county board members as a whole, Van Glad said, “They were welcomed, but not super-well-received.” he said
A company spokesman, Richard Wheatley, who did not attend the meeting, said the company representatives provided project information to the board members and responded to their questions.
“Believe we were well received,” Wheatley said in an email to The Daily Star.
Milone said company representatives indicated that maps of the pipeline route are expected to be completed this fall.
“They have already notified the landowners but they say they don’t have the maps yet,” Milone said. “We really need to look at the maps so we can see where this thing is going.”
Milone also said that if any surveyors for the pipeline company trespass on parcels without the explicit permission of landowners, they will be subject to criminal charges.