By Joe Mahoney
The Daily Star
---- — The operator of an existing pipeline that runs from Schoharie County to New York City said Tuesday it will expand its compressor station in the town of Wright, eliminating the need for the proposed Constitution Pipeline to construct a new facility for compression.
The expansion of the Iroquois Gas Transmission System compressor will reduce the impact on the environment and the community of Wright had the Constitution Pipeline gone ahead with its original plan to build a compressor station, Iroquois said in announcing the plan.
“We look forward to working with Constitution to bring supplies from the burgeoning Marcellus shale basin to the Northeast,” said Scott Rupff, vice president of marketing for Iroquois.
Rupff said the added gas supply “will help us support” Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Energy Highway initiative, as well as Connecticut Gov. Daniel Malloy’s “Comprehensive Energy Strategy.”
The proposal to expand the compressor station has been dubbed the “Wright Interconnect Project.” It will be reviewed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the same agency that will be asked to approve the Constitution Pipeline, said Christopher Stockton, spokesman for the developers of the proposed transmission system.
Stockton explained that the expansion plan accomplishes the same goal that had been envisioned by the earlier proposal to build a new station, as the intention of both is to increase the pressure on gas entering the Iroquois and the Tennessee Gas pipelines.
In a new filing sent this week to FERC, the Constitutiton Pipeline said it has made revisions to its so-called preferred route for building the pipeline that will stretch from Susquehanna County, Pa., to Wright — a distance of 120 miles.
“We will make a case for why we believe the revised preferred route is advantageous,” said Stockton.
Otsego County officials had backed an alternative route that would have had the pipeline hug the Interstate 88 corridor. But the pipeline developers have been chilly to that pathway, saying it presents too many challenges. Ultimately, the route will be decided by FERC, which will decide whether the pipeline is needed and in the national interest.
A grassroots group of landowners opposed to the project, Stop the Pipeline, has been urging owners of the parcels that would be traversed by the pipeline to refuse to allow land surveys to be completed by the developers.
In their latest FERC filing, pipeline representatives said 25 percent of landowners on the preferred route have denied survey permission.