Landowners are challenging the Central New York Oil & Gas Co. in court for condemning nearly half of the properties along the approved MARC I pipeline, which has experts concerned about environmental and safety impacts, including potential damage to the forest ecosystem. Residents who receive offers from the gas company to drill on their land report the company’s refusal to negotiate about alternative pipeline routes and monetary compensation, taking leverage away from the property owner.
The Endless Mountains form a dissected region of the Allegheny Plateau, a landscape covering most of northern Pennsylvania. (Photo: Nicholas_T / Flickr)
Earthjustice is representing the Sierra Club, Damascus Citizens for Sustainability and the Lycoming County-based Coalition for Responsible Growth and Resource Conservation as proposed interveners in a proceeding before the Federal Regulatory Commission, which has been asked to expedite approval of a proposed pipeline that would cut through portions of northeastern Pennsylvania. The groups are calling on federal regulators to thoroughly review the cumulative environmental impacts of the project before any decision is made.
The 39-mile pipeline, known as the MARC I Hub Line Project, would be built and operated by the Central New York Oil and Gas Company. It would run through Bradford, Sullivan and Lycoming Counties in Pennsylvania, crossing high quality streams in the Endless Mountains, disturbing some 610 acres and leaving 238 acres permanently altered. The groups argue that the project would spur gas drilling in a previously undeveloped portion of the state, bringing with it threats to public health and the environment that have yet to be thoroughly analyzed.
In November 2011, ignoring a recommendation from the EPA, calls from state elected officials, and more than 22,000 members of the public, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the CNYOGC project. Earthjustice filed an emergency motion in February 2012 challenging the decision. A federal appeals court sided with FERC, clearing the way for the construction and operation of the pipeline.
If—as an Earthjustice supporter and activist—you ever wondered whether your letters and emails to government officials had an impact, we've got news that should give you heart.
The Associated Press had a story today detailing how regulators in Pennsylvania spend as little as 35 minutes reviewing gas drilling permits, before giving companies approval to blast millions of gallons of chemically treated water into the earth to extract the gas – a controversial practice known as fracking.