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Gas Pipeline Company to Condemn 30 Properties in Bradford County to Obtain Rights of Way

November 22, 2011

This just in from The Daily Review, a Bradford County, PA newspaper published in lovely, formerly sleepy Towanda, the town where people can no longer hear themselves think because the fracking truck traffic is so intense:

“Bradford County Prothonotary Sally Vaughn tells the Bradford County commissioners Thursday that the 30 proposed condemnations that she holds will take someone in her office two weeks to process.”

At last Thursday’s Bradford County Commissioners meeting, the Commissioners

listened to a short presentation that Bradford County Prothonotary Sally Vaughn made on the effect that the natural gas industry has had on her office, which she characterized as “pretty huge.”

…Vaughn said she was motivated to attend the commissioners’ meeting on Thursday after a company in the natural gas industry filed 30 proposed condemnations of properties with her office that same morning.

She estimated it would take one of her staff two weeks to take care the filing of the 30 proposed condemnations.

“I don’t think we’ve ever received 30 condemnations all at once,” she said.

Vaughn said she had not had a chance to review the condemnations in depth, but said they probably involve a gas-related company seeking to acquire the right-of-ways for the installation of pipelines. Bradford County Commissioner-elect Daryl Miller said the condemnations involve acquiring rights-of-way for the installation of interstate gas transmission lines, since gas companies cannot obtain rights of ways by eminent domain for gas gathering lines.

It appeared that most, if not all, of the proposed condemnations were filed by Central New York Oil & Gas, Vaughn said.

The condemnation process for pipeline rights of way starts when the landowner refuses to accept the gas company’s monetary offer for the right of way, Vaughn said. As part of the condemnation process, the gas company is required to set aside an amount that it will use to acquire the right-of-way, and Vaughn said she will now have to open and maintain 30 different bank accounts containing those funds…

Read the full story here.

Thanks to the chain of sharp eyes which spotted it, including former DCNR Secretary John Quigley, Dick Martin of the Forest Coalition, and Rebecca Roter of Susquehanna County.

Need more information about the condemnations? The writer of this article, James Loewenstein of the Daily Review, can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or email: jloewenstein@thedailyreview.com

Please read the full story to see the fascinating and useful set of comments posted online in response to it. Perhaps this story sheds more light on why the 67% of Pennsylvania which sits on top of Marcellus Shale (and Utica and Devonian layers too) is starting to be called the “Marcellus Sacrifice Zone.”
One Comment
  1. November 22, 2011 5:21 pm

    I live in the small, once quiet, town of Sonestown in Sullivan County, PA, that is in the path of the proposed MARC-1 pipeline.

    Aside from the initial FERC ‘scoping hearing’ in Sept. 2010, there have been no town meetings, no public discussions, no outreach from Central New York Oil & Gas/Inergy (the company who submitted the application to FERC), or our local elected politicans.

    When I heard about this project, I immediately began research on what this would involve, the scale, the accompanying infrastructure, threats to propertty value, public health and safety, and our way of life.

    The MARC-1 pipeline may be a ‘federally regulated pipeline’, but it will serve as the enablerm for literally hundred of ‘unregulated’ gathering lines, compressor stations, metering stations, staging areas, and will, as it is intended to do, create a ‘drilling corridor’ along it’s 41 mile path through some of the most pristine, untouched, undeveloped forest land in NEPA.

    The construction will involve: the clear-cutting of 600+ acres of firest land, the removal of approx. 250,000 trees, and 122 water/stream crossings of what are classified as specially protected, exceptional quality waterways, That is NOT counting staging areas, storage facilities, etc. Also, along with their application to FERC, they have been granted: right-of-way, right-of-convenience, AND eminent domain via right-of-condemnation which removes the negotiating power of land owners, as well as the right to simply say…NO!

    Even our own county commissioners threw us to the wolves when they, along with Senator Pat Toomey, and Congressman Tom Marino, contacted FERC and asked them to “overlook the localized concerned of many of the citizens, and approve this project.”

    In other words, they said,,, just ignore the people who elected us and pay our saleries and do what the gas industry wants.

    This is unacceptable in a free society. This pipeline project is NOT necessary, does NOT serve the public good, and is NOT a public utility, by any definition.

    I have fought for my right as a property owner to reserve the right to live in relative safety and security on the land that I have worked for.

    When I awoke on Sept 14th and learned that this project had been approved, I lost all sense of place, and of home. My house no longer feels like my home. Pennsylvania no longer feels like the state I was born in. Our corrupt legislators have made it crystal clear that we no longer have a voice and our rights are not going to be protected. We are going to be the sacrificial lambs in what some in the industry and even some elected officials are calling, and ‘industrial sacrfice zone’. We have been deamed, expendable.

    We all, myself included, now owe our children, and our children’s children, an apology for leaving the world in worse shape than we inherited it. Their constitutional right to pure water, clean air, and a health and safe environment is no longer protected.

    We are all in ‘fight or flight’ mode in Shale Country, PA. This industry is a behemoth. We must either stand up and fight for what is ours, and what is right, or simply get out of it’s way. That is the decision we will all have to make, sooner or later.

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