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Pipeline's projected path has homeowners worried

By Ryan Hughes, Reporter, RHughes@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 19 2012 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 20 2012 07:08:29 PM CST

Pipeline's projected path has homeowners worried

ALSACE TWP., Pa. -

Come 2015, a major natural gas pipeline could run right through parts of Berks County.  

The proposal is still in the early stages, but some local residents have already raised their objections.

 The Commonwealth Pipeline is expected to stretch 120 miles. The proposed route runs from Lycoming County to Chester County, and Berks is in the path, including Alsace and Ruscombmanor Townships.

 "I expect as we start to explore the proposed route in Berks County, it might very likely go through parts of countrysides that are very important to us, said Karen Feridun, founder of Berks Gas Truth, a company against gas drilling in Pennsylvania.

 At this stage in the game the exact path is not set in stone, but Berks County is on the table, and some local residents said they felt blindsided.

 "I got a phone call from surveyors that were asking if they could have permission to survey my property to put a pipeline through," said Keith Blankenbiller, an Alsace Towship supervisor.

 Blankenbiller said he never heard talk of the pipeline until that phone call a few weeks ago. The supervisor said his questions are not being answered, and now he's fighting against it to save his property.

 "The fact that they're going to take 60 to 80 foot mature oak trees and tear them down, that's 60 years of growth I'm going to lose, 60 years of growth and have nothing to show for it," said Blankenbiller.

 According to the commonwealth pipeline's website, the pipeline is expected to be placed in service in 2015 and will be a more cost effective transportation path.

 Right now, a lot of details are still in the air, but the company's site says the pipeline will offer a greater supply of natural gas to markets that are not currently served.