Flood victims, firefighters and environment-minded youths are among beneficiaries of more than $86,000 in grants being distributed in Schoharie County by Constitution Pipeline LLC.
The company, which is seeking approval to build a 122-mile natural gas pipeline, announced that roughly $400,000 will go toward projects in four New York counties as well as Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, where the pipeline would originate.
The latest round of Constitution Pipeline Community Grants adds to $300,000 announced in a first round earlier this year for a total of $700,000.
The Schoharie County Soil and Water Conservation District won a $24,948 grant that will keep local high school students involved in the annual Envirothon competition held at the New York Power Authority’s Blenheim-Gilboa visitors center.
Soil and Water stream program manager Peter Nichols said attendance at the annual event, in which high school students vie for recognition by testing their knowledge of environmental topics, has been gradually waning.
It’s not for lack of interest, he said, but due instead to ongoing budget cuts at school districts unable to spare transportation funding for extracurricular activities.
“We were between a rock and a hard place,” Nichols said, explaining how efforts to let chaperones bring students to the event failed due to insurance concerns.
He said Soil and Water Conservation District officials don’t take a stance or hold an opinion on the Constitution Pipeline proposal.
But they do cherish the firsthand experience students get at the Envirothon, when they learn about the environment, test their knowledge and get a chance to meet people who do work with the environment every day.
“It’s an opportunity to teach kids about the kind of environmental opportunities that are out there,” said Nichols, an aquatic biologist who writes the Envirothon’s wetlands quiz, which challenges students on topics like water quality and chemistry.
“It’s a good thing to be doing with that kind of money,” Nichols said.
Other grants announced for Schoharie County entities are as follows:
• Schoharie Area Long Term Inc., $25,000. SALT, created in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene flooding that devastated the Schoharie Valley, will put the grant money toward building supplies and site preparation for homeowners still trying to recover from the devastation.
• Jefferson Historical Society, $1,120. The society requested funding to support the free music series at the southern Schoharie County Maple Museum.
• Cobleskill Little League, $5,000. The league will use the funding to repair and rebuild its field and concession stand.
• Charlotteville Fire Department, $25,000. The department will purchase firefighting gear.
• Cobleskill Recreation Commission, $5,599. The commission will use the grant funding to install a lift compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act for the community swimming pool.
Constitution Pipeline is distributing grants two times each year. The next application deadline is Sept. 30. Applications can be found online at www.constitutionpipeline.com.