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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission voted Tuesday to approve the $683 million Constitution Pipeline — a 124-mile subterranean natural gas transmission system that would stretch from northeastern Pennsylvania through hundreds of parcels in Broome, Chenango, Delaware and Schoharie counties.

Also unanimously approved by FERC was the so-called Wright Interconnect Project — an expanded compressor station in the town of Wright, located in the northeastern corner of Schoharie County. The Constitution would terminate at that facility, operated by Iroquois Gas, with its gas going into two existing pipelines also connecting at the Wright station.

The federal commissioners, in issuing certificates of public convenience and necessity to both projects, stated flatly that they disagreed with the assertion of a local grassroots opposition group, Stop the Pipeline, that the project is unnecessary. The commissioners also said that the pipeline planners have adopted steps to minimize adverse economic impacts on landowners affected by the project.

“Regarding impacts on landowners and communities along the route of the project, Constitution has proposed to locate the pipeline within or parallel to existing rights-of-way where feasible,” FERC said in approving certificates of public necessity for the pipeline and the compressor station.

“In addition, Constitution participated in the Commission’s pre-filing process and has been working to address landowners concerns and questions,” the order stated. “Constitution has made changes to over 50 percent of the proposed pipeline route in order to address concerns from landowners and to negotiate mutually acceptable easement agreements.”

“We disagree,” FERC declared in the order. “While we are mindful that Constitution has been unable to reach easement agreements with many landowners, for purposes of our consideration under the Certificate Policy Statement, we find that Constitution has taken sufficient steps to minimize adverse economic impacts on landowners and surrounding communities.”

Some landowners have already accepted payment for granting easements to their land. Others have refused to allow surveyors to enter their parcels. Still others have retained lawyers to help negotiate higher payments for easements. Stop the Pipeline activists have vowed to go to court to fight the taking of private land and to challenge the decision by FERC to authorize the construction.

A FERC spokeswoman said the pipeline and the Wright compressor station were conditionally approved, with the commission directing that the pipeline be built in accordance with the conditions set forth in the final environmental impact statement that FERC issued in October.

The FERC said in its order that it evaluated the impact the project would have on other shippers of natural gas and their customers. “We find that the the benefits that the Constitution Pipeline Project will provide to the market outweigh any adverse effects on existing shippers, other pipelines and their captive customers and on landowners and surrounding communities,” the order stated.

“Consistent with the criteria discussed in the Certificate Policy Statement and subject to the environmental discussion below, we find that the public convenience and necessity requires approval of Constitution’s proposal, as conditioned in this order,” the 58-page document added.

“There was some resistance, but not enough to make a difference,” said Milone, who has been opposed to the project since he first learned of it in 2012. “We have local residents who worked all of their lives for their homes. All of that is in jeopardy now. The worst part is it’s going to be ever-present.”

Critics, however, have charged the presence of the pipeline is bound to reduce the values of property along the route could make it more difficult for property owners to sell their land or keep their property casualty insurance policies in effect.

Though the project has ignited opposition from anti-drilling and other environmental groups, some business organizations have backed the project, as has the Delaware County Board of Supervisors. Also endorsing it are the management and labor union at the Amphenol Aerospace plant in Sidney. Another proponent of the pipeline project has been Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

Existing plans call for the Leatherstocking Gas Co, a partnership of Mirabito Holdings and Corning Gas Co., to run a feeder pipeline from a tie-in connection off what project planners call the “open access” Constitution Pipeline to the Amphenol plant. Leatherstocking also wants to send gas from the pipeline to Delhi, Sidney, Unadilla and Bainbridge, among other communities.

Last week, officials in Davenport and Franklin voiced concern regarding the truck and heavy equipment traffic that would move into the region during the construction phase of the project. Davenport Supervisor Dennis Valente said he wants to hammer out an iron-clad road use agreement that will protect local taxpayers from incurring any costs if those trucks do damage to local roads.

Also on Tuesday, the Constitution Pipeline announced that it issued more than $300,000 in community grants to local nonprofit and civic organizations in the region, bringing the total it has ladled out through the program to some $1.6 million.

Among those getting the grants were the Sidney Volunteer Fire Department, awarded $20,300 for safety equipment; the Schoharie County Fire Chiefs Association, which collected $15,000 for training aids; and the Otsego Northern Catskills BOCES, awarded $18,750 for an adult welding program.

The Central Bridge Fire District got $15,000 for an all-terrain vehicle, while the Unatego Spartan Booster Club received $6,400 for a baseball scoreboard. The West Branch Recreation and Aquatic Center was awarded $15,000, while $15,000 was sent to the Richmondville Volunteer Fire Co. for an emergency response vehicle.