GENERATIONS of the Holleran family have harvested sap from trees on their land in New Milford, Pa. In early March, their small maple syrup business was nearly destroyed when armed federal marshals accompanied men with chain saws onto the family farm and used the power of eminent domain to cut down most of their maple trees.
The Hollerans are in the way of the Constitution Pipeline, the 124-mile structure that would carry fracked gas from the Marcellus Shale fields of Pennsylvania to a compressor station in Wright, N.Y. From there, it would connect with the Iroquois and Tennessee pipelines to take the gas to New England, and potentially to Canada. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission almost always approves such pipelines, despite growing evidence of the harm they are doing.
Now the Houston-based Constitution Pipeline Company is poised to begin construction in New York. They have been held back from cutting trees only by an objection in January from Eric T. Schneiderman, the attorney general of New York, who cited the fact that the state still has one way to stop the project.