Many landowners along the proposed route of the Constitution Pipeline have denied permission for surveys to be conducted on their property, according to an article in The Daily Star (February 20, 2013). In fact, more than one-third of potentially affected landowners have denied permission for the environmental, engineering and archaeological surveys conducted on behalf of the Constitution Pipeline Company, LLC. Although the Oneonta Star article did not report the percentages of landowners denying permission for surveys in other proposed pipeline projects, one can reasonably conclude that great concerns about this project remain. Despite efforts to woo support via open house style meetings and more recently community grants, this project faces an uphill climb for a number of reasons. Based on statements given at one or more of the FERC sponsored scoping sessions in the past months, landowner concerns include but are not limited to the following: environmental impact, loss of control of one’s own property including through eminent domain, possible decline in property values, loss of the “home rule” doctrine, greasing the skids for high volume hydraulic fracking in New York (or, if you build it they will come), and lingering doubts that the Constitution Pipeline Company is dealing with local citizens openly and honestly.
Paraphrasing one local official commenting on the tactic of providing community grants before the project has been approved or an application to FERC filed, some of what is being done by the Constitution Pipeline Company does not pass the sniff test. It certainly seems that a lot of potentially affected landowners have figured that out by now.