OLEAN, N.Y. -- Folks had the chance to weigh in on National Fuel's proposed Northern Access Pipeline Tuesday evening at Saint Bonaventure University in Olean.
The proposed 97-mile pipeline would run through Western New York and pump gas from Pennsylvania through several counties. It's planned to run through parts of Cattaraugus, Allegany and Erie counties and would include constructing compressor stations in Pendelton and Elma, as well as a dehydration station in Wheatfield. It will also connect to the Trans-Canada Pipeline under the Niagara River.
Opponents say the project has many serious health and environmental concerns, including that the pipeline will transport gas taken from Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale using the controversial method of "fracking" or hydraulic fracturing. The state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) must issue air and water quality certifications before the project is able to move forward.
Jim Mangas runs a machine shop near Buffalo's Riverside neighborhood. For years, land on Allen Road in Sardinia has been his family vacation spot with a cabin and carriage house.
"Yup, all the trees they want to cut down on front, my wife planted by hand I'd say 18 years ago," he said. He says National Fuel wants to buy his property, so it can build part of the Northern Access Pipeline.
National Fuel has gotten federal approval to construct the pipeline. But still needs air and water permits from the state DEC. National Fuel is also seeking agreement with landowners and says 89 percent of landowners in the path of the proposed pipeline have signed agreements giving up their land for compensation -- National Fuel won't say how much it plans to pay. Federal approval allows National Fuel to use eminent domain if needed.
"In an effort to keep the project on schedule, if we need to involve the courts in the securing of rights of way we will do that if we need to," said Karen Merkel, a spokesperson for National Fuel.
The hearing Tuesday was the first of three to be held locally this week.
The next two hearings are also at 6 p.m. The hearing Wednesday will be held at Iroquois High School at 211 Girdle Road in Elma and the final meeting this week will be held Thursday at Niagara County Community College at 3111 Saunders Settlement Road in Sanborn.