Press-Republican

Local News

May 2, 2009

Pipeline-expansion talk begins

CANTON — Company officials were peppered with questions Monday just minutes into their presentation seeking support for extending a natural-gas pipeline in St. Lawrence County.



Some legislators on the Finance Committee there wondered why they should help pay for expanding the St. Lawrence Gas project when only 500 of the 4,000 potential customers reside in St. Lawrence County.



Others said funding it could save state prisons big money and preserve good-paying jobs for their residents.



Still others said dairy-related industries, like McCadam Cheese and North Lawrence Dairy Inc., would benefit and that, in turn, would help area farmers prosper.



MILLIONS NEEDED

Jim Nubel of St. Lawrence Gas began to explain the proposal to extend the existing pipeline 48 miles from the Town of Stockholm in St. Lawrence County to the Village of Chateaugay in Franklin County.



He said the company must show the State Public Service Commission in its application to build the $20 million project that it has support and can produce a 7.77-percent profit in its first five years.



St. Lawrence Gas pledged about $13 million of the cost, $2 million will come through Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury), and Franklin County promised $1.452 million.



That leaves a gap of about $3.75 million to finish the project, slated to start in 2010.



The company hopes to connect large-volume users, such as the Franklin County Courthouse, the three state prisons in Malone, the Malone Central and Brushton-Moira Central school districts and Alice Hyde Medical Center.



Nubel said the company won't be getting federal-stimulus money, but it will apply for funds through a Regional Blueprint Program.



That is believed to be a new $1 billion Upstate Revitalization Fund administered by Empire State Development that came into being in 2007 under former Gov. Eliot Spitzer.



ENVIRONMENTAL STUDY

While it awaits application details, St. Lawrence Gas is moving ahead with environmental studies the Public Service Commission requires for its decision.

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