The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Tuesday extended the public comment period for the Constitution Pipeline proposal and announced that an additional public hearing will be held in Otsego County, where an alternate route could bring the project closer to Interstate 88.
Tuesday was the scheduled deadline for people and organizations to provide FERC with comment to help guide the environmental review of plans to build a 30-inch natural gas pipeline 120 miles from northeastern Pennsylvania to the town of Wright in Schoharie County.
FERC issued a notice Tuesday extending comment to Nov. 9 and set a public hearing for 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24, at the Foothills Performing Arts & Civic Center Atrium at 24 Market St. in Oneonta.
FERC spokesman Craig Cano said Tuesday he didn’t have particulars to determine the reason behind the new hearing.
“Certainly, staff does seek to hold as many meetings and offer as much opportunity for comment during the pre-filing stage as it can in order to come up with the scope for preparing an environmental impact statement,” Cano said.
In commentary to FERC, some residents in the multi-county area where Constitution seeks to build its pipeline have been complaining that no public hearings were held in their county.
FERC held three such hearings in September, one in Chenango County, one in Schoharie County and one in Pennsylvania. But Constitution, a joint venture of Williams Partners and Cabot Oil & Gas, seeks to run the pipeline through Broome and Delaware counties as well, and under an alternative route, through Otsego County too.
The Center for Sustainable Rural Communities, a local government watchdog, is a member of Stop the Pipeline, a group created to resist the massive $750 million construction project.
Co-director Bob Nied said Tuesday the extension should give more people a chance to be heard because some people are just learning about the proposal.
“There are so many people that are just coming up to speed in terms of what the issues are,” he said.
Nied said he believes FERC’s environmental review will reflect the depth of commentary and concern expressed by the public. “We’re hoping that people obviously broaden this as wide as we can to make sure we cover every potential issue this pipeline can bring.”
People and agencies still interested in commenting can file electronic comments by using FERC’s eFiling process, listed under the “Documents and Filings” link at www.ferc.gov.
Written comments are to be sent to Kimberly D. Bose, secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First St. NE, Room 1A, Washington, D.C. 20426.
The Constitution Pipeline project’s docket number is PF12-9-000. More information on the proposal is available at www.constitutionpipeline.com