Governor Cuomo Must Reject the Constitution Pipeline

By Isaac Silberman-Gorn

The Constitution Pipeline is a massive fracked gas infrastructure project, which is proposed to go 124 miles from the gas fields in Susquehanna County Pennsylvania to Schenectady, NY, where it would join the Tennessee Gas Pipeline and head north to Canada to be burned to process the tar sands.

Over the past four years, affected landowners and concerned residents have organized passionately and strategically to stop the pipeline. Unfortunately the agency which approves interstate pipelines, the Federal Regulatory Agency Commission (FERC) is a structurally corrupt agency, which is funded from taxes on projects it approves. Put simply, when FERC gives the go-ahead on a pipeline project, they get paid, and thus they approve nearly all projects put in front of them. They recently approved Constitution, but the fight is not over. New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) requires additional permits for interstate pipelines, specifically relating to air and water quality, including what is called a 401 Water Quality Permit. Despite a massive lobbying effort by the gas industry, this permit has not yet been granted, and by the end of April, the DEC and Governor Cuomo have the opportunity to deny the permit. Concerned citizens all across the New York and Pennsylvania have been pressuring the       Governor with thousands of phone calls, paper letters, and emails.

Lacking the 401 Water Quality Permit in New York, Constitution began cutting trees in Pennsylvania, including a highly publicized maple syrup farm in New Milford Pennsylvania, about 30 minutes south of Binghamton. The family has been tapping the trees for syrup for many years, and had their trees condemned by eminent domain. On March 1, 2016, chainsaw crews were escorted onto the Holleran’s property by heavily armed Federal Marshals, where they cut the maple stand, including many painted with the American flag.

As of March 9, thanks to New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and tons of public pressure, Constitution has backed off of cutting trees in New York.

As citizens and people who care for the world, we must not let the Constitution Pipeline or other fracked gas infrastructure projects be built. Pipelines are 60-100 year investments in climate killing fuel and throw more Pennsylvanian families under the gas industry’s toxic, water and air contaminating bus.  We must demand strong, directed and intentional leadership on climate and against fossil fuel extraction and transportation. Governor Cuomo and his Department of Environmental Conservation are in a unique position to save the 121 New York landowners who would be subject to eminent domain and deny kill this harmful pipeline project.

 

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