Groups seek to intervene in pipeline project

Groups seek to intervene in pipeline project Threatened Indiana Bat may play a role

By FRITZ MAYER

PENNSYLVANIA — Three environmental groups are seeking intervener status in a proceeding that would allow construction of a new gas pipeline project that would cut through what the groups call “pristine drinking water sources and fishing streams in the Endless Mountains.” The application is pending with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

The groups seeking to intervene are Damascus Citizens for Sustainability, the Sierra Club and the Lycoming County based group Coalition for Responsible Growth and Resource Conservation.

The non-profit organization Earthjustice is serving as the group’s attorney in the matter. In the motion to intervene, Earthjustice lawyers argued that the 39-mile pipeline project, which would run through Bradford, Sullivan and Lycoming counties in Pennsylvania, could threaten the federally endangered Indiana bat, which has fallen victim to White-Nose Syndrome, a fungus that has claimed the lives of millions of bats over the past three years.

The motion also argues that the project builder and operator, Central New York Oil and Gas Company (CNYOGC), is seeking to begin construction before its environmental studies are complete, and that the project will result in “significant impacts on a pristine natural landscape that should be considered in a full Environmental Impact Statement,” rather than a less comprehensive Environmental Assessment.

The following is a statement from Earthjustice attorney Deborah Goldberg: “Pennsylvania rushed into developing the Marcellus Shale with no comprehensive review of the potential effects on public health or the environment. The state was unprepared for the drinking water contamination, air pollution, and dangerous accidents that came with the frantic pace of drilling. It’s time to stop scrambling to respond to crises and instead to prevent them in the first place. That’s exactly what we’re asking FERC to do, and why we’re asking it to give impacted communities a seat at the table as it reviews the project.”

If FERC grants CNYOGC a Certificate of Public Convenience, the company will be granted the power of eminent domain, which would allow it to force landowners to sell rights of way to allow the pipeline to be constructed.

CNYOGC could not immediately be reached for comment

Groups seek to intervene in pipeline project.

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