ELMA, N.Y. -- Four hours of speakers signed up to voice their opinions about the Northern Access Pipeline in Elma Wednesday night.
It was the second of three public hearings hosted by the DEC.
The proposed pipeline would carry natural gas between Erie County and McKean County, Pennsylvania.
Hundreds of people showed up Wednesday night. More than 75 signed up to speak and share their thoughts with the state.
Many union members talked about how this would bring hundreds of jobs to Western New York.
The pipeline isn't a done deal yet because the DEC hasn't decided whether to issue air and water permits.
National Fuel has been getting right-of-way agreements with landowners for about two years. Most have agreed to allow the pipeline onto their land, but there are about 40 hold-outs who worry National Fuel might turn to eminent domain.
If that happens, one landowner we spoke with says she plans to sue.
"We're definitely going to go to court because it is basically our livelihood. It's our heritage," says landowner Lia Oprea. "If this goes through, they're having their insurance drop them or raise their rates significantly because it's such a liability to have a fracked gas pipeline."
"You know what I think it is? It's the fear of the unknown. And that's certainly understandable. They are not natural gas experts. We are," says Karen Merkel with National Fuel. "There's thousands of miles of pipe that runs through New York State that runs safely very day underneath us that people just never know that it's there because it's never interrupted their daily lives."
National Fuel expects the DEC to make a decision in early April. If the remaining permits are approved, construction would start right away and be finished by early next year.
There is also a section of this project in Niagara County, so the final hearing is there Thursday night.http://www.dec.ny.gov/enb/20170125_not9.html
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