FERC Listens to “Comments” on Constitution Pipeline
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) listens to testimony about the Constitution Pipeline. Testimony was given from residents in New York and Pennsylvania in counties that would see development of the pipeline. Much of what FERC had the pleasure of listening too was more fear mongering and ignorance from our anti friends.
This past week Joe and I attended Constitution Pipeline hearings across New York and Pennsylvania. The Constitution Pipeline is a 121 mile long project from Williams that will run from Pennsylvania to New York. This pipeline will be built to help carry natural gas from Pennsylvania to the New York City and the Boston markets, servicing approximately 3 million homes. There were three scoping hearings this week, two in New York and one in Pennsylvania. A scoping hearing is a hearing where the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) listens to the public’s comments and concerns about the upcoming project.
We have discussed the pipelines specific details in previous blogs which can be viewed by clicking links throughout the page. Here are a few important facts we didn’t hear brought up at these meetings. Besides supplying millions of people with natural gas and allowing them to cut energy costs, the pipeline will also bring economic prosperity to local counties:
- Susquehanna County will see $250,000 annually
- Broome County will see $2 million annually
- Chenango County will see $1 million annually
- Schoharie County will see about $5 million annually
- Delaware will see about $5 million annually
Some estimates of the construction income show $86 million in new labor in the region and $12 million in sales and income tax revenue. The pipeline will result in 17 new permanent jobs in the region once operational. If jobs aren’t enough to convince you, there will be $1 million in labor income and $14 million in annual sales, income, and property tax revenue once the pipeline is in service.
Afton, New York
The first meeting was held in Afton, New York, Chenango County. The meeting began at 7 p.m. with over 40 people signed up to speak. It would have been great to hear 40 comments but about half of the prospective speakers didn’t get to talk because several people stated the same thing over and over again, taking up more than the allotted time and not allowing others to have the chance to speak. The representatives from FERC asked people to keep their comments short, and if they were going to be reiterating something someone else had already said, the proper way to do that would just be to state they support the prior opinions and sit down so others could speak. Clearly, many people did not listen to what the FERC representative had to say.
A representative from Windsor spoke in favor of the natural gas pipeline. Many people from Windsor, New York, Broome County, have been very supportive of pipeline projects from the beginning and have allowed Leatherstocking, Mirabito and Corning Natural Gas to set up a franchise in the town. They have had no complaints and enjoy working with the pipeline representatives. Watch this testimony below:
A few other people, Chris Denton and Jim Worden, spoke in favor of the pipeline but expressed their concern with the commenting deadline. FERC had mentioned they planned on only accepting comments until the beginning of October. They wanted FERC to continue accepting comments for another month. FERC took these comments into consideration and completely agreed because of recent route changes as a result of Williams listening to concerns residents had at previous meetings. They will now be accepting comments past the prior deadline to ensure the public’s satisfaction. This goes to show you there are other options to protesting and making signs if you want something to change.
Let’s take a second to think about how this all has unfolded. At the first set of meetings Williams held, groups of people told Williams representatives they wanted the pipeline’s route to be changed. Williams asked where they wanted the pipeline and the group responded they wanted it up the I-88 corridor. Williams agreed, talked with their engineers, and completed a route running directly up I-88. Williams listened to the concerns, took them into consideration and altered their plan, they are clearly willing to work with the public.
Schoharie, New York
The next meeting was held in Schoharie, New York, Schoharie County. We saw the same thing happen at this meeting we had seen at the previous where by 7 p.m. over 40 people were signed up to speak. Like most interactions with antis, the night was filled with heckling, intimidation and a redundant theme among activists, fear mongering. The scale of rudeness seen throughout the night makes it challenging for those in support of the project to speak; if they had the chance, as the antis went on, and on, and on, long enough to even irritate other antis.
Dave Parker spoke in support of the pipeline and you can watch his video below. Take special note of how badly he gets heckled the whole time he is testifying. Notice how supporters of the pipeline never began to heckle the antis while they spoke. People held up signs and screamed when he spoke longer than they wanted him to and because he didn’t agree with their views. This speaks volumes to the tactics employed by our friends on the other side.
New Milford, Pennsylvania
With only nine people signed up to speak the third night it proved different from the last two events. Three of those nine testified at the Afton meeting and simply reread what they had from the previous night. As usual, most of these antis took to the podium to speak about how bad hydraulic fracturing supposedly is. Unfortunately, a couple of gentlemen–and I’m using that term loosely–thought it would be appropriate to take to the podium and speak about rape and use some pretty vulgar language. The worst part of this tirade is that there was three year old in the audience who also had to listen to these remarks.
Lets start with Bill Huston: For a guy that comes up to us at every meeting and says hello, he showed a side of himself we thought to be extremely ignorant and crass. First, however he said this:
I work with a group called ShaleShockMedia, it’s all volunteer I don’t get paid, not a dime. Sometimes people will buy me dinner after a meeting like this… people are grateful for the work I do. (1:43) – Bill Huston
Now compare this with what he said on our blog recently:
Huston states he is 100% volunteer, volunteers don’t get equipment bought for them; especially expensive cameras like the ones he brings around. If a company is paying for your equipment, it’s pretty clear they expect results and for that equipment to be used in a certain manner and to fit an agenda. Feel free to watch his video below, but please be warned, it is full of vulgarity and ignorance and is certainly not appropriate for young audiences. Thankfully, you can make the decision whether or not to subject yourself or your family to such language, something the families, including young children, present at this hearing did not have the same luxury of doing.
He begins with a chant, like he did at one SRBC meeting last year – a testament to what he claims is the peaceful life he practices. Here is some of what he then goes on (6:30) to say (emphasis added):
We are going to assert police power; authority over what goes on in our headwaters. That means we are going to cross state lines into Pennsylvania and we’re going to stop that [EXPLETIVE DELETED]….
We’re going to stop pipelines, we’re going to stop permits, we’re going to stop fracking, drilling, exploring, surveying. We’re going to stop every last bit, it’s going to start in New York and it’s going to come to Pennsylvania. This is something that FERC, since you have interstate jurisdiction of this matter, we are asking for your support. We don’t want this to be an adversarial relationship. We would love it if you would help us protect ourselves. This is an attack on our lives, how can we make this any more clear to you?
This is an attack on present day lives. Trees, birds, deer, fish, horses, people, it’s killing all of these things. fracking kills life, someone here has the sign, fracking equals death that’s what it is. We are going to stop it. The sooner that you realize this, I don’t know if your empowered or not. Somebody in Afton said maybe your not, but if the people that are in power, these federal commissioners whoever they are, I don’t even know their names, but I’m about to find out because I’m about to start writing to them. You all need to get in line with the principles of life and living and you should do that quickly to avoid suffering of many beings through many generations…
You have to stop them now, cease and desist all activity including Williams’s central station in Brooklyn PA. Cease and desist that’s what we’re telling you we are asserting local sovereignty, so if you could get in line with that and help us out we would really appreciate it, but we’re going to put our bodies down and we’re going to stop this [EXPLETIVE DELETED] because it’s killing us.
Sounds like something a man who practices peace would say, huh? So do the threats he’s sent to Governor Cuomo:
Cuomo will not issue one permit. Unless he wants a civil war. The Elders have been meeting. We are all preparing.
The second man I will talk about from this meeting enjoyed using the word rape to describe what approving this project would do. Here are few things he said I found confusing and inappropriate.
- This is prostitution rape. They got rid of Pataki (wrong Governor, but what can you expect) because he was going with prostitutes. This is worse – they’re raping the United States people.
- These are guys that go into people’s houses and say here we’ll give you some money and we’ll rape you at the same time.
- This is genocidal suicide.
These were just a few statements made by this man, see the full video below.
The three meetings really didn’t provide too much insight to the representatives of FERC as far as logical input on the pipeline, but everyone had the chance to get their comments heard. If someone didn’t get to speak and would like to, FERC has provided everyone with information on how to comment.
Comments may be filed via the Internet on the FERC’s website – www.ferc.gov. To do so, click on the Quick Comment link. The FERC website also contains additional information about getting involved in the regulatory process under the Citizens tab.
You may send written comments to the FERC at:
Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
888 First St., N.E., Room 1A
Washington, DC 20426
Please reach out and submit your comments.