Excuse Me – Natural Gas, Clean Energy and Jobs Coming Through!
Rachael Colley and Joe Massaro
EID Marcellus Field Directors
Excuse me – natural gas coming through! Given the development of natural gas taking place throughout northeastern Pennsylvania, one the challenges is bringing this great energy resource to market. Many pipelines are filled to capacity. Consequently, Williams, together with Cabot Oil and Gas, has proposed a new piece of infrastructure called the Constitution Pipeline to deliver more of this cost-effective energy resource to market and reach new markets at the same time. Putting matters into perspective, here is a quote from Broome County Executive Debra Preston.
We have to have a pipeline to move the gas. As long as its safe, not a health hazard and not going to harm our water, I am for it. You can develop here, but if there isn’t a way to move it, it really doesn’t matter.
We attended meetings on the project over the past several days and here’s a rundown:
Williams conducted a Constitution Pipeline forum in Afton, New York last week (Rachael’s home town). The forum had a great turnout with many people asking questions and interacting with company representatives regarding the proposed project. There were several people there sincerely trying to learn about the pipeline and, of course, a few people who just came to complain about hydraulic fracturing even though the latter has nothing to do with the former. Our friends on the other side of the natural gas debate want to make everything about hydraulic fracturing but the tenor of the meeting was distinctly educational and rose above those opportunistic objections.
Among the attendees were business owners, town board members who came to speak with Williams representatives and view the maps and Assemblyman Peter Lopez. Here is some video of landowners reviewing the potential pathway of the project and asking questions related to their specific properties.
Some well known natural gas opponents also attended the meeting, including this individual from Coventry, New York, who will be familiar to readers of this blog as the woman simultaneously smoking and complaining about air pollution from natural gas at the Binghamton SGEIS hearing. She organized opposition to the Leatherstocking project and is already circulating a petition against this one.
While the Afton meeting was relatively peaceful and most attendees were there to learn, the Cobleskill forum resulted in several people protesting. They displayed signs against the pipeline and some “No Drill, No Spill” signs that clearly had nothing to do with the Constitution Pipeline, which was simply a target of opportunity for them as natural gas opponents. They were all gathered in the middle of the room with one goal – to convince everyone the pipeline means hydraulic fracturing and to portray that process as putting everyone in danger, which is anything but the case. Sadly, they took up a great deal of time attacking natural gas development, which made it difficult for people who had legitimate questions to get a chance to speak with Williams representatives. Here is some of what took place:
Dick Downey had the opportunity to speak to a Williams representative about the pipeline for a few minutes. Downey represents landowners in Otsego, County and was able to take some knowledge away with him after the forum.
It was extremely ironic, to say the least, to see these vocal opponents of safe, responsible clean energy development, get a chance to enjoy the free refreshments (paid for by Williams) and quench their their thirst after their throats had gone dry from interrupting everyone else’s conversations. Williams ran a first class educational session for those interested in learning, however.
The irony continued when one anti-natural gas protester sported his “Friends of Natural Gas, New York” hat in attempt to keep dry that rainy evening. Plainly, the benefits of natural gas are widely distributed!
How to Support the Constitution Pipeline
Many our anti-natural gas friends enjoy getting up and speaking at public meetings. It’s one of their favorite things to do, while rural landowners and beneficiaries of development tend to be quieter and less interested in the limelight. If you are one of those reticent individuals and prefer to give your support from behind the computer, Williams has set up an area on their site just for you. Visit the Constitution Pipeline website you will see a get involved button. By clicking this button and filling out the information you will generate letters that will be sent to your local community legislators in support of the pipeline. Allowing this pipeline to be built will generate huge revenues for New York and Pennsylvania as well as employ many people in those states, while delivering clean economical energy produced here in the USA. Do your part now and help bring jobs, revenue and inexpensive clean energy to your area.