Capital Region BOCES, which operates the Career and Technical School in Richmondville, has filed a legal brief with federal regulators that sharply criticizes the draft environmental impact statement for the proposed Constitution Pipeline as “insufficient” and “inadequate.”
In a motion to intervene in the proceedings before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, an attorney for BOCES argued that the DEIS fails to spell out the mitigation measures that would be taken to minimize impacts to the 63-acre campus that would be traversed by the pipeline route.
The recommendation by the FERC staffers who authored the DEIS that the concerns regarding impacts to the campus be “worked out’ prior to the actual construction violates the National Environmental Policy Act, the lawyer, John Privitera of Albany, said in the legal papers.
“The school is not for sale,” Privitera wrote. “The pipeline company proposes to take, through condemnation proceedings, 5.6 acres of the approximately 23 acres of usable outdoor classroom area. The pipeline company’s forceful taking of 20 to 25 percent of the school’s outdoor classroom area will destroy the curriculum, as there is simply no substitute for the teaching acreage that will be lost.”
Whether the pipeline’s construction is authorized will be determined by FERC’s five presidentially-appointed commissioners. A decision is expected later this year.
The intervention motion from the Capital Region Board of Cooperative Educational Services came in the final days of the comment period for the DEIS. FERC has announced that all comments must be submitted by Monday, although the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the U.S. Interior Department have asked for an extension of the comment period, citing the complexity of the data in the DEIS.
On Thursday, Trout Unlimited, a fisheries conservation group, also asked for an extension, calling the DEIS incomplete and insufficient. Among the information that should be included in the DEIS but was not, Trout Unlimited representatives said, are “site-specific blasting plans that include protocols for in-water blasting and the protection of aquatic resources and habitats.”