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Energy

Federal agency listens to public about proposed gas pipeline

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Federal regulators are holding public hearings on a proposed natural gas pipeline that would run through several upstate New York counties.

Energy company Kinder Morgan wants to build the Northeast Energy Direct Pipeline to funnel gas from Pennsylvania to other Northeastern states. The project also includes four compressor stations proposed for New York state along the pipeline route.

Over a hundred people attended the hearing in Oneonta and several gave passionate statements, with the vast majority against the pipeline.

"It’s unconscionable that we have to beg not to have our air poisoned or our water contaminated or our forests destroyed," said Lottie Marsh.

Marsh and other people against the NED pipeline said they’re concerned about pollution and property rights. But a few people in attendance were eager for the union-wage jobs the pipeline would bring.

"You’re not the only ones who live in these counties," said Frank Marchese, a member of the New York State Laborers union. "We live in Albany. We live in Schoharie. We live in Otsego and we live in Broome. So let’s cut the nonsense about - you’re the folks who live here. We live here also."

Representatives of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) heard the comments and will eventually write an Environmental Impact Statement for the project. FERC says it will factor that into whether the pipeline and compressor stations get approval.

A total of 14 public hearings will be held. And the agency stressed that written comments need to arrive at FERC headquarters in Washington, D.C. by August 31.