Appalachian Basin

Leatherstocking Will Bring Cost-Savings not Marcellus Development

This week the town of Sidney, NY held a public meeting on the proposed Leatherstocking distribution project. However, before discussing the meeting a little background is needed. In case you haven’t been following, Sidney has been transformed in recent weeks from a quiet town in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains to a place that is consumed by un-needed controversy.  This has happened as the town debates a proposal by Leatherstocking Gas Company, LLC to install a local natural gas distribution system. In most  communities these systems are installed without controversy given the many  benefits they provide.  However, in Sidney a vocal minority of anti-gas activists are trying to demonize the project by creating  false arguments designed to confuse the public.

Currently, residents and businesses in Sidney rely on home heating oil, electricity or bottled propane .  As you can see  this can be expensive,  very expensive.  In fact,  electricity rates are almost twice as much as natural gas in NY State and the cost for propane and home heating oil are even less competitive.  Clearly,  Sidney could benefit from a more cost-effective and efficient source of energy.  The benefits of such a system would be substantial.  Residents would save money on their utility bills,  the cost of doing business in the region would drop significantly and the additional public infrastructure would entice other businesses to relocate here to take advantage of the skilled workforce and other assets unique to the region.  More after the jump.

Representatives from Leatherstocking Gas Company, LLC. were on hand at last week’s public meeting  to give a detailed  presentation on the project and on distribution pipelines in general (this is needed as the opposition has tried to paint the project as being much larger than envisioned).  Some opponents have even accussed Leatherstocking of putting in place an interstate pipeline that will collect gas from new Marcellus wells authorized by the recent SEIS.  NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH.  The proposed project seeks to provide gas from pre-existing wells and would have nowhere near the capacity to transport gas from newly drilled Marcellus wells. These wells, when operating, will produce far too much gas for this tiny system to handle.  Gaining factual information is critically important.  That’s why we are sharing it here.  Below find some video of  Leatherstocking’s presentation on the project:

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It is important to highlight some points from the presentation and the attached handout – Town of Sidney Public Meeting – LGC LLC – to clarify the situation and define whats being proposed (Note: all identified routes in handout are for illustration purposes and do not represent an actual path of a designed gas distribution system. The maps are a representation of one of many potential supply sources and distribution routes).

LGC is a Local Gas Distribution Company. This means a number of things but in regards to the project it means a few things in particular.

  • The company will utilize low pressure, state of the art plastic pipe. This pipe has a lengthy service life and an excellent safety track record in comparison to steel and other metal piping systems that are more likely to corrode over time.
  • The project will only serve local customers. The intent of this project could not be more clear. To take gas from existing wells to businesses and residences.  The pipes to be utilized can only maintain a little over 120 psi for distribition purposes.  These pipes are some of the smallest available and are used in communities throughout the United States with little to no risk. In fact, the pipes are so small that they will likely be contained entirely within pre-existing public rights-of-way.  For a system this size that incorporates about 25 ft. on either side of a roadway.  Think road shoulder.
  • The project requires Leatherstocking to be listed as a public utility given the number of customers it proposes to serve.  This is a regulatory requirement that must be met, not an attempt to gain eminent domain status for land taking purposes.  In fact, in their 108 years of existence, Corning Natural Gas has never invoked the use of eminant domain.  Corning is one of the primary founders and sponsors of Leatherstocking, LLC.

As  important as it is to know what Leatherstocking and the proposed project are, it is equally important to learn what they are not. Leatherstocking, LLC is:

  • Not a natural gas production company. This project has no impact or relation to possible Marcellus Shale well operations.  In fact, it is so tiny it wont even significantly impact the demand for these wells.
  • Not a gathering company.  This project will not serve to “gather” natural gas from high volume hydraulically fractured wells.  This project seeks natural gas from other, smaller, pre-existing sources.
  • Not an interstate pipeline company.  This is a much larger threshold with more significant impacts.  Given this is not an interstate pipeline company, comparisons to other larger interstate pipelines occuring regionally are not accurate.
  • Not a gas storage company and does not intend to store gas.  The project will only deliever gas to residential and industrial companies
  • Not a processing company and therefore will only be delivering gas to local residents and industries.

After the presentation, attendees were given a chance to ask a few questions. In this video a question is raised about the LCG distribution pipeline inviting outside gas developers into the area. Again, this is not the case.

For more reporting on previous events with this project see our previous posts here and here.


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