Marcellus Shale

It Takes A Pipeline!

Last Thursday, Nicole, Rachael and I covered a town hall meeting in Harpersfield, New York about the proposed Williams and Cabot joint-venture Constitution Pipeline. This transmission line will begin in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania and end in Schoharie County, New York where it will hook up to the Tennessee and Iroquois pipelines to deliver natural gas to the New York City and Boston markets. The lower portion of Schoharie County is part of the New York City watershed. One might think this story is about protecting the water shed and fears of development from that perspective; however, it’s really about the fact it takes more than a flip of the switch to supply urban consumers with clean, affordable sources of energy.

A Little Background

Here’s some background on the Constitution Pipeline for those who want more details from the project website.

The proposed approximately 120-mile Constitution Pipeline is being designed to extend from Susquehanna County, Pa., to the Iroquois Gas Transmission and Tennessee Gas Pipeline systems in Schoharie County, N.Y. The pipeline route would generally follow the Interstate 88 corridor (although not directly adjacent to I-88), stretching from Susquehanna County, Pa., into Broome County, N.Y., Chenango County, N.Y.,  Delaware County, N.Y., and terminating in Schoharie County, N.Y.

Developing a Pipeline Route

In developing the primary proposed route, project engineers have attempted to balance environmental and landowner considerations with the engineering requirements for safely constructing a transmission pipeline. These included factors such as geography, environmental concerns, collocation with other linear development and constructability. However, the preliminary route is part of a study corridor and subject to change.  

The proposed route attempts to maximize opportunities to co-locate with existing corridors (power transmission lines, road right-of-way, I-88 corridor and existing pipeline corridors), while avoiding the New York City watershed in the Catskills and New York City aqueduct tunnelsThe proposed route avoids populated areas where possible, while minimizing impacts to wetland, riparian and other high value wildlife habitat areas. The route also minimizes river and stream crossings to reduce environmental impact.

Here is the entire William’s presentation on the proposed Constitution pipeline:

It Takes More Than A Flip of the Switch

Consumers of natural gas sometimes neglect to understand how that gas actually makes it to their house for use. After extraction, the gas is transported to market via transmission pipelines that run from Pennsylvania and, eventually, into New York, to deliver low-cost clean energy to New York City and other metro area consumers.

Laying the transmission pipeline is a huge process that takes considerable thought, not only in laying the pipe itself but also in mitigating the environmental impact on the surrounding area. As you can see in the above video careful consideration has been taken to ensure after the pipe construction is completed the land will be able to return to normal and continue to be farmed for years to come.

This Memorial Day many people will take for granted the ability to use natural gas to power grills and other appliances so as to  supply family and friends with great food. Without these transmission pipelines people would not be able to experience all the advantages that come along with natural gas exploration.  It takes more than a flip of the switch – it takes a pipeline.

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