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PSC holds public hearing on Lebanon gas pipeline

The New York Public Service Commission (PSC) held a public statement hearing at the Randallsville New Life Christian Church Nov. 18. The hearing concerned an application for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need for the construction of a natural gas gathering pipeline in Eaton and Lebanon.

The high-pressured steel line would be approximately eight miles in length and 16 inches in diameter and constructed by Norse Energy Corp.

Secretary to the Commission Hon. Jaclyn Brilling said that this was "an unusual event."

"There is not legal requirement for this hearing," she said. "We come here tonight to respect your request and give you an opportunity to address the commission."

Lebanon town supervisor James Goldstein raised concerns about safety, including seismic activity, and security.

"I am aware this area has a history of earthquake and seismic activity and did not feel that Norse Energy or the PSC adequately addressed safeguards in this area in its comments at our Sept. 14 public information hearing," he said.

In addition, Goldstein said he wants to be assured that property owners are being treated fairly. Also, he added that communication with the company has been inconsistent and track record spotty.

"First and foremost the record of Norse Energy, with respect to the Town of Lebanon has been inconsistent and I have received more complaints on the issue of natural gas exploration and development activity that all other issues combined in my eight year as Town Supervisor," he said.

Representing the League of Women Voters, Mary Chapin concerns revolved around contamination of drinking water. She also wanted to see that the landowners see the benefits promised.

In addition, Chapin said that the fabric of the community could be altered, although she does take the economic benefit seriously.

"I think it's a question of how it's done," she said. "Will the company just take their profits and leave?"

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