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Residents still fighting pipeline after three years

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DALLAS TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WOLF) -- For three years, residents have been fighting a natural gas pipeline near Dallas.

Now, Transco may be months away from starting construction, but some people are still standing in the way.

We have more on their concerns and why an alternate route is being considered.

In February, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave the pipeline a certificate of public convenience and necessity, which means it's been deemed in the public interest.

Transco says it will produce thousands of jobs and help the state. One man here is upset that they want to tear down a barn and silo on Lake Street.

"If I don't sign the lease, they are going to just condemn and destroy all my properties and just pay me $40,000. That's what it says on the thing," says upset resident Dale Wilkie.

Wilkie says he's had this property for 13 years, and spent money restoring the foundation and roof of an old barn near the road.

He had big plans for it, but Transco Atlantic Sunrise project wanted to knock it down for its pipeline.

"It's an old timber-frame barn. It's basically historical because it has all chestnut, tongue and groove, and peg beams," says Wilkie.

He says he'd sell for the right price, especially since he's heard some people are getting at least $1 million.

"Can a private company seize another private citizen's property for their profit, selling gas overseas?" says Wilkie.

"They're ruining the peace and quality of our lives," says upset resident Robyn Kochan. "They're forcing us to live 24/7 in an incineration zone, which means if there's a leak, that we will be incinerated. We don't even have a chance to run for our lives."

"They're not gonna stop them," says area resident Tin Haddle. "If they don"t come through where they want to first, they'll go someplace else."

But part of it could go a different route. The Nesbitt estate is trying to get it around its property around Lake Catalpa.

"The final comment period for Alternate #13 extended through today," says Nesbitt family spokesperson Jerry Ray. "There are some remarkable cultural and environmental resources that are very unique to this part of Pennsylvania."

Wyoming Country resident Nile Clark says the company visited him to put the pipeline along his property on Graveyard Hill Road.

"This is an alternate route, I think," says Clark. "They had one, then they always have another one I guess in case one don't work out."

He's not sure how much he'll get. Meantime, some are still upset after three years of fighting.

"Whether you like Donald Trump or not, he's right. It is a rigged system," says Wilkie.

"It'll help the economy out, help the country out, and maybe we'll get cheaper gas," says Clark.

Wilkie recently got a notice from the court that Transco is suing for condemnation, and he has about two more weeks to file his response.

Kochan is expecting trees to start coming down in October on her property. The company is hoping to finish the pipeline in mid-2018.


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