Monday, September 19, 2011

Who stands to profit from the biogas pipe? - Auburn Citizen

On Aug. 31, 2010, the public had their first view of the dog and pony show of Frank Howe and Doug Young. They made their first presentation to the County Legislators on the subject of the biogas pipeline. In this presentation they quoted a cost of $3.5 to $7 million dollars to build 40 miles of pipeline. Not one legislator spoke up disagreeing with these figures. Yet Frank Howe, Tim Lattimore and Peter Tortorici, as members of the task force, should have been aware of a March 2009 planning document, where a cost of $60 million was placed on the construction of 20 miles of a biogas pipeline. Why was nothing said about the vast disparity in the cost estimates? Is someone trying to mislead the public to gain acceptance of this project?


I have spent some time researching the 1984 law creating the Cayuga County Public Utility Service Agency (CCPUSA). This is Local Law No. 2 and defines the parameters of the agency and its restrictions. This law forbids the county and the agency power of condemnation and the establishment of generation, distribution and transmission systems. In 2005 the voters passed a referendum to amend this law allowing the agency to own, acquire, use and operate gas utility service and/or alternate energy service. Nowhere, in this amendment, were the restrictions on ownership, operation, use of electric facilities mentioned or amended. It is my opinion that the installation of a generator at the end of the pipeline would be in violation of Local Law No. 2 of 1984 and be illegal.

In a past letter, I estimated a cost of over $40 million for 40 miles of pipeline. Apparently, I was being too conservative in my estimates. As previously stated, in 2009, a core of local government officials has their names on a document stating an estimated a cost of $60 million for 20 miles of pipeline. This core of officials is now the driving force for the construction of the biogas pipeline. One has to ask, who stands to gain from this pipeline? Somehow I don’t think it’s the taxpayers, who will be paying for it.

Steve Gibbs


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