Family Turns Away Workers Wanting to Cut Trees

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NEW MILFORD TOWNSHIP -- A family fighting to save its maple trees in Susquehanna County was able to turn away a crew that showed up to cut those trees Wednesday morning.

Around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday a group of workers showed up at the Holleran family property, ready to start cutting trees.

But for a week, friends and protesters have been waiting there for that, hoping they could turn away the men with chainsaws. On Wednesday, they did, but the fight to save the trees is certainly not over.

The Holleran family knew this day was coming when a crew would arrive prepared to cut down their trees for a pipeline project.

A group has waited for days with the family, to help resist.

When the moment came, there was a lot of worry.

"I started to cry," said landowner Maryann Zeffer. "I thought, 'this is it, my trees are gone.' But we held them off one more day."

The trees still stand, still tapped to get sap to make the family's North Harford Maple Syrup.

And family, friends, and environmentalists still stand guard on the property as they have for a week.

Trees in other spots along the proposed constitution natural gas pipeline are already cut.

"Our trees would be, they'd be cutting right now if it wasn't for this," Zeffer said. "We have great support of everyone and we really appreciate that."

There was no confrontation when the crew for pipeline company Williams showed up, just a discussion.

A federal judge gave Williams eminent domain to use this land for the pipeline.

"Went as well as it possibly could have," said landowner Megan Holleran. "Everybody was very respectful and pleasant. Everyone was willing to hear the other side and consider it."

Holleran hopes the group can continue to hold Williams off, especially while legal issues are worked out, because she knows once trees are cut, they're not coming back.

"We shouldn't have to be out here standing and interrupting and arguing the tree cutters," said Zeffer. "This is not between us, it's between the courts."

This time it wasn't an argument, but Williams says the pipeline plan tried to avoid the Holleran property, but can't due to obstacles.

Williams says it is only temporarily skipping this spot.

"The tone was very encouraging to us to know that this doesn't have to be a fight, it doesn't have to be an all-out battle every time we speak to people," said Holleran.

Williams says it is fairly compensating landowners for the pipeline and most accepted that offer.

The few who didn't are now a matter for the courts.

Williams says this pipeline is needed to get natural gas from northeast Pennsylvania to New England and New York.

21 comments

  • the duke of all led lightning bugs

    Gas is not clean, that is propaganda at its peak.
    Modern coal furnaces have come a long way, burns cleaner too.
    The pumping of toxic waste to fill the holes should be a felony.
    Yrs ago a few guys in dupont i believe were caught and served time in prison.
    We need the whole scientific impact – carbon footprint story behind this trojan horse deal.

    • Scott

      We all would welcome an unbiased study of the carbon footprints for every energy source but I’m certain you wouldn’t like what you find out about so-called “clean” sources like wind and solar. Between the strip mining for rare earth metals, mountaintop removal needed for wind turbine placement and maintenance (hello Mehoopany!), toxic waste and automotive fluid disposal, and the massive amount of concrete used in the footers for both wind and solar, I’m sure those technologies score much worse than the green movement would care to admit and nuclear would fare better than any other source. I’m not sure what you mean by “the pumping of toxic waste to fill the holes.” If you are talking about disposal wells, there are already hundreds of thousands in the United States and I have no idea what that has to do sending natural gas to communities in Central NY (the actual path of the Constitution pipeline).

      • the duke of all led lightning bugs

        google this …a man has built this clean burn system. MrTeslonian
        Wood stove runs a generator “final video” make’s gasoline, and propane.

      • the duke of all led lightning bugs

        Scott you are unaware of the millions of gallons of waste pumped down these wells?
        Well then are you aware of the salt mine breach years ago in New York that affected well water
        in the north east Pa. See the layers of earth underground are not to be assumed to be perfectly sealed in any case. To assume it is , is ludicrous. There are many reasons and examples worldwide where this method is a disaster to our environment. Have you studied The Porter Ranch disaster yet? Eminent domain is for roads, not industries that make profit. Plus the woods of maple syrup
        trees i now Declare as the “Declaration of Independance Woods” !

    • Joey Gallows

      gas is cleaner than coal, but I also think there is nothing wrong with using coal. However, you are quite a DOPE.

  • Scott

    The fact that a single family can deny the energy and economic benefits of an abundant, clean local resource is a travesty. Lost royalties for landowners, lost revenues for municipalities, lost opportunities for businesses and lost access to cleaner burning heat for families: it all happened because one family thinks it needs rise above the needs of millions of other people. Eminent domain exists for a reason and this is it.

    • Patricia Payson

      The only ones getting benefit from these pipelines are the oil companies.We will get destruction of our property, wildlife,conservation areas,possible water pollution, and air pollution from compression stations. This is not clean energy, right now there is a pipeline in California leaking so much fuel it has already undone the progress we’ve made from reduced auto emissions. Check out all the projected transmission lines, this fuel is destined for over seas, Do some research on what doctors are saying about the health impacts of people living near compression stations. As for royalties for individuals and municipalities, what’s that? It is minimal and one time only. Eminent domain is for the good of the public, like highways, railroads, this is not.

      • Scott

        The Porter Ranch leak was not a pipeline but an underground storage facility. As of yesterday, the leak had been capped. I don’t understand why you are concerned about compressor stations in regard to the constitution pipeline. It is public knowledge that it will only have one: The Wright Interconnect Project in Wright, NY. It is an existing compressor station operated by the Iroquois Gas Transmission System.

  • Lloyd Schmucatelli

    The trees will be coming down. Why don’t they just wait until sap season is over. A few more weeks? How wide is the pipeline? 75 feet, 100 feet? I wouldn’t want it on my property at all, but its not the end of the world. Re-run your tap lines when they’re done.

    I’m on your side with the trees. I just think your going to lose in the end. I’ll be very surprised if you don’t.

  • the duke of all led lightning bugs

    Thank God they didn’t cut them down like they did they protesting coal miners.
    Did Billery name this “constitution pipeline” Wow what a tactic that is !

  • For the Land

    Trees are just one thing that will be eliminated by the pipeline. Imagine everything else that will be damaged by these hooligans. Just the other day I heard Aqua America is allowing Williams to run one of their pipelines right through the heart of their watershed. If one quart of oil can contaminate 250,000 gallons of water, imagine what the effects of the pipeline will be.

  • ecp

    Why doesn’t the pipeline company just bore beneath the property? They do this all over the place, and at times it even ends up costing the company less. The technology to do this is right here and it would be a very reasonable compromise.

  • Chris

    Williams was granted eminent domain across property for a pipeline that Williams does not even have approval to build, from start to finish. Williams also states it’s for the gas to go to New England and NY, but New York is opposing all Natural Gas Drilling and is opposing the pipeline….so until NY approves anything, there should be NO Eminent domain granted in Pa..
    2nd Williams states fair compensation; for more than 30 years I’ve been a professional in real estate and I can tell you the pipeline is eliminating many beautiful building lots worth much, much, much more than a company that is given eminent domain will ever offer.
    3rd the ROW consist of almost 5 acres for Williams to profit from for many years, but the landowner has to pay the taxes on that land forever, Why then is it not required that Williams pay a percentage of the gas volume that runs through the pipeline to the landowner for just as many years.
    Eminent Domain for a private company, for profit, is unjust !!

    • Scott

      Carving up the landscape for “building lots” is much more environmentally devastating than this pipeline will ever be. In addition to the roads and septic systems, every one of the homes there will need heat and electricity.

    • Scott

      Carving up the land for more building lots is would be an ecological disaster. Not only does every home need a road and a septic system, but they also need electricity and heat, which means they need energy. The kind this pipeline will be carrying.

      • Protecting my land!

        Scott,
        I don’t know who you are or where you live, but you have NO clue as to what you are talking about. My land will be devastated by the Sunrise pipeline, full grown trees chopped down, my farm split in half from the pipeline, and the pipe being less than 200 feet from my house. You have no idea or concept of the stress this is causing myself and others in my situation. Stress that money cannot compensate!! Take a walk outside and look around, would you want a high pressurized pipeline in your backyard, I think not! Maybe you should try supporting your neighbors and our environment rather than complaining about landowners protecting their lands! The lands we have taken care of for years and plan to pass down to our children.

  • Tom

    A federal judge gave Williams eminent domain to use this land for the pipeline. Complete abuse of the system by a corporation. GO CAPITALISM!

Comments are closed.