DEC sets Constitution hearings; Constitution moves on eminent domain


By Patsy Nicosia

The state Department of Environmental Conservation marked Christmas Eve by scheduling a series of three public hearings-one of them in Cobleskill-on air and water permits required for construction of the Constitution Pipeline and upgrades to the Iroquois compressor station in Wright.
The Cobleskill hearing will be held Wednesday, January 14, in SUNY Cobleskill's Bouck Theater, beginning at 6pm.
Hearings are also scheduled for Tuesday, January 13, at SUNY Oneonta in the Oneonta Lecture Hall IRC #3, and Monday, December 12, at the East Middle School Auditorium, 167 East Frederick Street, Binghamton.
They'll also begin at 6pm.
The Constitution and Wright projects have already been approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, but DEC has the authority to review applications for specific permits and approvals.
According to DEC, these include an Air Title V permit for the proposed compressor station upgrade, as well as a Water Quality Certification, a Protection of Waters permit, a Water Withdrawal permit, and a Freshwater Wetlands permit for state-protected wetlands and adjacent areas for the pipeline installation.
Comments on the projects can be made at the hearings or in writing to: Stephen M. Tomasik, DEC-Division of Environmental Permits, 625 Broadway, 4th Floor, Albany, NY 12233-1750, and to
Deadline for comments is January 30.
Meanwhile, Constitution has begun condemnation proceedings against more than 100 landowners who have refused to grant the company construction easements.
Also as of Christmas Eve, Constitution had filed condemnation complaints, against 110 landowners, according to the Center for Sustainable Rural Communities' Bob Nied.
Landowners must be located and "served" with legal papers in person, Mr. Nied said.
CSRC has compiled a list of eminent domain law firms willing to represent landowners, available online at
The list is provided for informational purposes only and not intended as a recommendation, Mr. Nied said.
It's also expected that the Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic will appeal FERC's conditional approval of the pipeline.
Appeals are due by Saturday.
According to Mr. Nied, Constitution has until March 31st to begin clearing trees along the pipeline route.
After that, they are prohibited from the work until September because of protections in place on nesting and migrating birds and bats.
Mr. Nied said a number of landowners who have received condemnation papers from Constitution have also received letters from the NED (Kinder-Morgan) pipeline, asking for permission to survey their land.
The NED pipeline is proposed to run parallel to Constitution's, but the two won't share right-of-ways.
The NED pipeline is in the pre-filing stage and hasn't yet released any environmental reports, Mr. Nied said.