State Rep. Rick Mirabito


Mirabito voices opposition

to eminent domain without environmental assessment


HARRISBURG, July 12 – State Rep. Rick Mirabito, D-Lycoming, this week joined 34 state legislators in submitting a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in opposition to the construction of a pipeline project through Sullivan, Bradford and Lycoming counties, unless an adequate environmental assessment is made. Under federal law, approving the certificate for the pipeline automatically gives the company eminent domain rights over privately held land.


Mirabito said that while the natural gas drilling is already affecting the area, "construction of a 39-mile transmission pipeline as proposed without an adequate environmental assessment is beyond what this region should be asked to bear.


"FERC invited comment on the proposed hub line construction by the Central New York Oil & Gas Company's project," Mirabito said. "The company is seeking a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity, which will give it eminent domain. We have asked FERC to look at the cumulative environmental impacts.


"Each of the 35 signatories represents more than 60,000 Pennsylvanians," Mirabito said. "I believe that should be taken into account when FERC makes its final decision."


In the letter, Mirabito pointed out that the project will cross at least 111 waterways.


"At a minimum, construction of the pipeline would disturb the ecosystem, with the possibility of altering these valuable resources for all future generations."


The letter and signatories are attached.



July 11, 2011




Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

888 First Street, NE, Room 1A

Washington, DC 20426


RE:  FERC Docket No. CP10-480-000


Dear Secretary Bose:


As members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, we are writing to express serious concerns about the application of Central New York Oil & Gas Company (CNYOG) for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (Certificate) to construct the MARC I Hub Line Project in Sullivan, Bradford, and Lycoming Counties.


While natural gas drilling is already impacting the area, we believe that construction of a 39-mile transmission pipeline as proposed in this project without an adequate environmental assessment is beyond what this region should be asked to bear and may cause irreparable harm. As noted in the Environmental Assessment completed by your commission, this project will cross at least 111 waterways, many of which are High Quality (HQ) or Exceptional Value (EV) waters. These water bodies have been given this protection by the Commonwealth because of their quality and value to the ecosystem. At a minimum, construction of this pipeline would disturb the ecosystem, with the possibility of altering these valuable resources for all future generations.


The recent Marcellus Shale drilling in this region is similar to what occurred with another natural resource --- coal --- in other parts of our state in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As you may know, the strip mining of coal during that time scarred hundreds of thousands of acres in our Commonwealth. To this day, the ecosystem in many of these areas is permanently damaged from this activity.


Cumulative Impact Must Be Assessed


One lesson that we have learned from the experience of the coal industry is that we have a responsibility to future generations to examine the cumulative impact of an industry’s actions. While the single 39-mile transmission pipeline may have one effect, the Federal Energy



Secretary Kimberly D. Bose

July 11, 2011

Page 2



Regulatory Commission (FERC) has a responsibility to look at cumulative environmental impacts. These impacts include effects over time and over a broad geographic area on the environment, as well as the impact on other existing industries and historical resources. Such industries that may be impacted by this project include hunting, tourism, fishing, boating, and agriculture. The impact on historical resources includes, for example, the potential destruction of artifacts at stream crossings.


The northeastern and central parts of our state have been valued for decades for other natural resources that do not produce energy. These regions are known throughout the state as the “Endless Mountains” and “PA Wilds” regions not because of the energy they can produce, but because of their natural beauty and recreational opportunities. The Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau, for example, notes that tens of thousands of tourists from throughout the tri-state region annually flock to the area to participate in hiking, camping, boating, fishing, and hunting.


In addition, agriculture has been an important industry in these regions for many decades. Crops such as hay and corn, as well as pasture land on farms that have been in families for many generations, contribute to the economic vitality and heritage of these regions.


Granting CNYOG a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to proceed with this project would destroy 600 acres of land. That action has the potential to harm irreparably the tourism and agriculture industries in Sullivan, Bradford, and Lycoming Counties.


Granting Eminent Domain Rights Requires Diligent Environmental Stewardship


The development of the Marcellus Shale natural gas reserves may be proceeding too quickly for responsible decision making. As FERC is aware, approving the Certificate automatically gives CNYOG eminent domain rights over privately held land. The quid pro quo for granting such immense powers to a private corporation is the assurance to the public that private and public rights will be protected. We do not see how such rights can be protected without a comprehensive environmental impact study to ensure that the health and safety of the people and the environment is protected during the construction and operation of the pipeline.


On behalf of the tens of thousands of citizens that we represent, and for all the reasons stated above, we respectfully request that FERC reject the staff recommendation to grant the Certificate at this time. Instead, we believe that FERC should conduct a full comprehensive environmental impact study to analyze thoroughly the cumulative impact of building this pipeline.





Richard Mirabito

State Representative

83rd Legislative District



Secretary Kimberly D. Bose

July 11, 2011

Page 3



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