Vast Network Of Gas Pipelines To Criss-Cross Potter County

From Potter County Today

jclark22About 70 people attended the May 10 meeting of the Potter County Natural Gas Task Force. Guest speaker was Jim Clark (left), an educator from Penn State Cooperative Extension, whose topic was, “Pipelines – From The Back 40 To The Whole, Wide World.” Additional details from the May 10 meeting will appear on Potter County Today. The county’s public website, pottercountypa.net, features information on Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling and related topics. A summary of Clark’s presentation follows:

–A growing network of gas pipelines are being laid across the region, from the smaller gathering lines carrying gas from individual wells to the massive interstate pipelines that usher it to a market that stretches around the world. Pennsylvania is the epicenter of the Marcellus Shale gas rush and, as such, will see a flurry of pipeline construction.

–Property owners and local governments can exercise some control. Governments have limited authority, based on the Pa. Oil and Gas Act. Pressure is mounting on the legislature to amend that act. A recommendation on changes was recently delivered to the legislature from PennEnvironment and the Delaware River Basin Commission.

–Officials are watching developments as some pipeline companies attempt to achieve public utility status, which could allow them to gain eminent domain powers.

–Some of the negative environmental and aesthetic impacts of pipelines can be mitigated. Property owners who are being approached about rights-of-way leases should become educated on their options. Clark distributed a fact sheet, “Negotiating Pipeline Rights-Of Way in Pennsylvania.” Copies are available by calling 814-865-6713.

–The regulatory structure for pipelines has some gaps, including a lack of oversight on gathering lines in Pennsylvania. There are growing concerns about deterioration of pipelines that are decades-old, due to corrosion and other factors.

–Susquehannock District Forester Chris Nicholas said the Bureau of Forestry has compiled a list of best management practices for pipeline construction in forested areas. He pointed out that impacts could be minimized if companies building the pipelines would work together.

–Greg West, an owner of the Shinglehouse-based Gas Field Specialists Inc., pointed out that pipeline builders must comply with a series of regulations from the Pa. Dept. of Environmental Protection, County Conservation District and the Pa. Public Utility Commission.

–Energy companies often encounter lengthy delays in obtaining pipeline approvals from the regulatory agencies, said Bruce Sampson, a representative of Pennsylvania General Energy Company of Warren, one of the region’s active drillers.

–Melissa Troutman inquired about air emissions from gas pipelines and compressor stations. West and Sampson responded that emissions are tested and companies must comply with environmental agencies’ standards. 

Potter County Today is a timely information site courtesy of the Potter County Commissioners. Reprinted with Permission.


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