Wednesday, January 13, 2016

WSKG Sloppy Reporting on Constitution Pipeline

First their article, then my comment.

PLEASE feel free to visit the WSKG News page and leave a comment.

Constitution Pipeline Asks To Fell Trees This Spring

By Jan 12, 2016
The route of the Constitution Pipeline as of July 26, 2013.
Credit Constitution Pipeline Company.

The company behind the Constitution Pipeline wants permission to cut down trees along its route. The project aims to transport Pennsylvania's natural gas through upstate New York and to eastern markets. It got federal approval in 2014 but still needs New York State to award water quality permits. After that, federal regulators can give it the "all clear."

In the meantime, Constitution Pipeline Company says it needs to cut down about 75,000 trees. It won't move any earth and will leave the stumps in place. Company spokesman Chris Stockton said the regulation gives them a narrow window, so the work doesn't disturb certain birds and bats.

"We need to start now in order to complete the work prior to this spring," Stockton said. "That's so we can stay within the environmental window and [in] compliance." The next possible window for tree felling would be in the fall. 

The company stresses it's not talking about construction, but environmental groups feel otherwise. Moneen Nasmith is a staff attorney at Earthjustice and is representing the Sierra Club, Catskill Mountainkeeper, and others in filings against the Constitution Pipeline. "It is the first step of construction, it is an incredibly destructive step," she said. "There's some real concerns about how that will affect the streams and waterways and wetlands that are near the pipeline route."

Nasmith also argues there are still unresolved appeals to the original federal approval.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) declined to comment on pending decisions. Constitution Pipeline asked FERC to decide by Friday, but it may not issue a ruling by then.

New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation has until April to rule on the water quality permits. 


My comment:

WSKG, Bret Jaspers-- this article has two big factual errors.

1: First is the headline. "Constitution Pipeline Asks To Fell Trees This Spring"
Spring begins Sunday, March 20, yet CP must stop tree clearing after April 1 due to restrictions placed on them by US Fish and Wildlife due to concerns for endangered bats and migratory birds. The fact is that CP wants to begin removing trees NOW.

2: Next is the statement, "Constitution Pipeline Company says it needs to cut down about 75,000 trees." Do you every try to fact check these things? Or do you just print whatever the industry PR people tell you as if it is Gospel? The fact is if you do some simple calculations, based on WIDTH of the pipeline construction right of way (100'ft), multiplied by the LENGTH of the pipeline (121 miles), you get the AREA which will be disturbed. Then, use some basic estimates for how much of the area is urban, farmland, and forest, then calculate the number of trees per acre, you will find the actual number of trees is more like 430,000. This is the number I arrived at. (My calculations are here: The folks at Stop the Pipeline performed a similar calculation and derived 700,000 trees. So the number given to you by Chris Stockton is about 1/10th the actual number, a very big error.

This issues (energy and the environment) are extremely important to your listeners, and WSKG has a history of poor reporting in this area. Omitting important facts, or getting things wrong. PLEASE try to do a better job. If you have questions about Constitution Pipeline, I would be happy to give you details.

While the group "Stop the Pipeline" is engaged in Administrative Remedies, I will tell you that the Constitution Pipeline Direct Action Group began trainings in NVDA, Nonviolent Direct Action one year ago. We have already performed one physical blockade of a site in the Town of Davenport, Delaware County, and they are preparing to disrupt tree clearing, should it occur. The next training will be happening very soon, so interested folks, please sign up here. Sign up instructions:
The Facebook presence for the CP Direct Action Group is located here: 


May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)

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