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Saturday, January 30, 2016


Alex Lotorto
Jan 30, 2016  

NEW MILFORD, PA - Constitution Pipeline Company received federal permission to cut trees Friday afternoon on properties in Susquehanna County, including those obtained by eminent domain condemnation and through a commercial maple syrup operation.
A partial Notice to Proceed with non-mechanized tree cutting was issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Friday afternoon for the Pennsylvania portion of the Constitution Pipeline. Tree cutting is imminent and can begin any time during daylight hours today through March 31, the deadline set by FERC.
The Constitution Pipeline is a project of Williams Pipeline Companies and Cabot Oil & Gas to be used to transport shale gas obtained through the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”. The right of way would be at least 100-ft wide, with additional intermittent 50ft wide workspaces and access roads.
One New Milford family, led by Catherine Holleran and her daughter, Megan Holleran, have opposed eminent domain condemnation of an access road, an additional workspace, and more than 1,670 linear feet of their own property, which is used for maple syrup production by their family business, North Harford Maple.
    Megan Holleran said, “This is our land and family business. The pipeline has been years in permitting and we just staged our equipment to set up for this year’s syrup production. If they cut the trees now, they would destroy our equipment and that’s criminal. That’s property destruction. We asked them to speak with our attorney before cutting and that hasn’t happened yet. I’m ready to stop them by standing in the right of way if they try.”
In February 2015, federal judge Malachy Mannion in Scranton ordered that the Holleran property and several others in Susquehanna County be condemned using eminent domain for the private use of Constitution Pipeline Company. No construction activities proceeded after that, as state and federal agencies extended their reviews of archaeology, impacts on endangered species, and wetlands.
In a cease and desist letter served on the company by the Holleran family on Friday, Catherine Holleran wrote, “We assert our Fourth Amendment rights, enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, that we must receive compensation before eminent domain condemnation. As compensation hearings have yet to be held, we find any action to develop our property to be unconstitutional. We hope that your client will proceed with good faith negotiations with our counsel prior to any tree cutting, especially given their affinity for the name ‘Constitution Pipeline’.”

LOCATION:  2131 Three Lakes Road, New Milford, PA USE COORDINATES: 41.8272387, -75.7585062