WILLIAMSVILLE, NY (WIVB) – For the second time in less than a month, several Western New Yorkers protested a gas pipeline National Fuel wants to build from Pennsylvania up to Niagara County.
The company announced plans to build the nearly 100 mile Northern Access Pipeline in 2015 to transport gas throughout North America.
Since that time, property owners and residents along its planned route have expressed concern about safety and protecting waterways such as the Cattaraugus Creek in the Southern Tier.
Environmental groups such as Defend Ohi:yo’, the Sierra Club, and WECAP protested outside National Fuel’s Williamsville office.
Members of these groups pointed out the project was initially denied by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for its 401 Water Certification.
Protestors said the company is still taking property owners to court for eminent domain.
“The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has overturned New York State DEC’s decision to deny it, basically taking away New York State’s right to regulate our waterways,” said the Sierra Club’s Diana Strablow.
National Fuel has filed for an extension and cannot start construction.
In response to today’s protest, the company has released the following statement:
We believe that the pipeline review process has addressed all of the questions and concerns that are continually discussed with regard to the Northern Access Project. Thousands of pages of research, due diligence and responses have been provided and have been open to public reviews. We have hosted numerous public meetings, since 2015, to give fact-based information to the community and answer questions.
It is important to acknowledge that there are currently four interstate pipelines that cross Cattaraugus Creek that National Fuel operates safely without incident. As well, National Fuel as signed more than 500 landowner agreements for easements along the 97-mile proposed route. We do not take this land from its owners. We pay for easement agreement that allow the landowners to continue to use it for recreational purposes and/or farming. The only thing that can’t be done on that land is build a structure.
The Northern Access Project- a $500 million investment – will support new and growing employment at National Fuel, in addition to good-paying local jobs within the building trades during construction, and is estimated to increase property tax receipts by $11.8 million for four N.Y. counties (Erie, Niagara, Cattaraugus and Allegany). Twelve school districts within those counties will benefit from an annual incremental increase in tax revenue. This project is designed to transport domestically-produced natural gas to the North American Pipeline Grid providing access to a low-cost energy source for residential and commercial customers across the Northeast.
At National Fuel we are proud of our more than 2,000 employees and the work they do every day to enable the safe, reliable and efficient delivery of natural gas; we are proud of our 115-year safety record and we are proud of the technological advancements and innovations that are used everyday in the design, construction and operation of our natural gas infrastructure.