ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. -- Members of the public had a chance to voice their opinions Tuesday night about the controversial Northern Access Pipeline.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation held the first of three public hearings about the proposal at St. Bonaventure Tuesday.
The main part of the proposed Northern Access Pipeline stretches from Erie County through Cattaraugus and Allegany County to McKean County in Pennsylvania. There is also a section in Niagara County.
It is a $455-million pipeline proposed by National Fuel more than two years ago to move natural gas from Pennsylvania to Western New York, the Midwest, and Canada.
There have been a lot of public meetings already, but Tuesday the state held a public hearing before the DEC makes a final decision.
National Fuel says the majority of landowners have already given the company rights-of-way where the new pipeline would be built.
Those against the project have environmental, health and property value concerns. Tuesday, the state heard from people on both sides. Barbara Diskit is against it. Charlie Joyce's company is a bidder on the project.
"In New York State, we built 50 miles of pipeline. Thirty miles in Steuben County, 16 miles down in Broome County, and eight miles here in Cattaraugus, Chautauqua County without any environmental incidents. Without any protests. And I challenge you to find them. Drive over there and see where we put them. They're gone. I mean, they're buried, and the land is restored to its contour," says Joyce.
"I'm a Leukemia mom. My daughter, Nadine, was diagnosed at 17. As a survivor, she faces life-long risks of future cancers and diseases. I cannot in good conscience condone putting anyone else, especially young people, at risk of the devastating journey Nadine had or condone the heartbreak of their families. The risk from this pipeline is unacceptable to any caring person," says Diskit.
National Fuel already has federal approval to build the pipeline, so it could use eminent domain if it had to. But it still needs air and water permits from the DEC.