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Sardinia family fights against Northern Access Pipeline

Posted at 6:04 PM, Apr 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-08 18:04:33-04

SARDINIA, N.Y. (WKBW) — The wind howls on an early April day at Lia Oprea’s family homestead in the hills of Sardinia. It’s this sacred land Oprea and her family are trying to save from being tore up by the Northern Access Pipeline, a National Fuel project that would install part of a 97 mile Natural Gas pipeline on the family property.

“I tried to be quiet but my ancestors wouldn’t let me,” she said. “For us we’re holding out. We’re fighting National Fuel against their eminent domain claims.”

It was two years ago to the day the DEC denied the Northern Access Pipeline project, but a year later that was overturned by the Federal Government on a technicality. Just last week, the Federal energy regulatory commission denied the DEC’s request for a re-hearing. For Opera, that means the project is likely moving forward.

“People are very in tune with the land here,” she said.

The pipeline would travel from McKean County Pennsylvania through Western New York 97 miles.

In a statement to 7 Eyewitness News, National Fuel says

“As New York continues a long-term transition to more and more renewable electric generation, it is essential for the natural gas industry to stand ready, at a moment's notice, to provide the gas supply necessary to generate the power to support the reliability of the power grid. National Fuel remains committed to the Northern Access project that will be an important contributor to the energy dependability and economic vibrancy. We have a potential in service date for this project of 2022.”