In the spring of 2012, the Constitution Pipeline Company, which was then a joint venture between Williams and Cabot, pre-filed an application with FERC to build a thirty-inch diameter, 124-mile-long pipeline from North Central Pennsylvania, through the Southern Tier and Northwest Catskills in New York State. It would terminate in Wright, New York, where it would interconnect with the Iroquois and Tennessee Gas Pipelines, which are already full of gas. Iroquois intended to reverse the flow of gas, exporting it to Canada.
At the time, New York State was in the midst of a battle to either regulate or ban high volume hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to extract methane gas. Community activists understood that the pipeline would enable fracking in the area, so they quickly joined with landowners whose land would be taken for the pipeline. After STP’s first meeting was held in late June 2012, the group created a steering committee, and in 2013, the steering committee chose the Jerome Park Conservancy, a tax-exempt nonprofit that was also formed to stop a threat to a community, as STP’s fiscal sponsor.
For the first two-and-a-half years, STP’s efforts were focused on FERC’s regulatory review. Over nine-hundred people attended FERC’s scoping meeting in late October 2012, in Oneonta, New York, an extraordinary number considering the low population density of the area. Over four hundred people intervened when the Constitution Pipeline Company filed its application the following summer, and