Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Inergy unit slams EPA for saying environmental assessment ‘inadequate’

PITTSBURGH, Pa. - A New York company has come out swinging against comments made by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regarding a proposed gas pipeline it wants to build in north central Pennsylvania. The pipeline is the 39-mile-long Marc 1 Hub pipeline project.

Central New York Oil and Gas, which is a subsidiary of the Kansas City-based Inergy, wants to construct an interstate pipeline through Lycoming, Sullivan and Bradford counties, Pa.

Environmentalists say the pipeline will not only hurt ecosystems, but also speed up the development of an industry they think needs greater oversight. So their strategy is to ask the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to do a more extensive environmental impact study. That would slow down the project, and slow down drilling.

The EPA says the initial FERC environmental assessment was inadequate and asks for a more thorough and time-consuming review. But a response filed by Central New York Oil and Gas questions why the EPA has taken the unusual step of weighing in on the pipeline fray when no federal funding is involved. CNYOG accuses the EPA of succumbing to environmental lobbyists.

Central New York Oil and Gas says the environmental law firm Earthjustice, which represents several local groups, has created a controversy where none exists. "…it is difficult to envision how any future pipeline project will be able to surmount opposition armed with a computer and a blog capable of generating tens of thousands of electronically generated, unsigned letters of opposition from individuals located literally anywhere on the planet," the company countered.

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