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The Sherbrooke Record
23 January 1998

The Sherbrooke Record
April 29, 1997

Pipeline peeves farmers

Paul Cherry
Sherbrooke, Quebec

Citizens in towns like Ayer's Cliff, Katevale and Ste. Catherine-de-Hatley want some answers.

They feel that they were not properly informed of the risks involved in having a natural gas pipeline run through their land. TransQuebec & Maritimes Inc. is scheduled to start laying the pipeline May 1, 1998 and intends to be pumping natural gas by November 1 of the same year. Finishing touches will be put on the pipeline in 1999. The pipeline is intended to cross the U. S. border through East Hereford.

"It's been a very amateurish effort," said landowner Bruce Miller commenting on information meetings about the pipeline. "I don't think they've done their homework."

Miller said TQM spokespeople started off one meeting in French and that TQM's consulting company Urgel Delisle & Associates would give information in English only if time permitted.

The pipeline will cross an estimated 450 private properties in the Eastern Townships including working farms which has raised the ire of the Quebec Farmer's Union. But in a February interview with Urgel Delisle & Associates, president Urgel Delisle said TQM is avoiding laying the pipeline along major highways for two reasons. One is that they say doing so would do more damage environmentally than the proposed pipeline route. They also say the Transport Minister would be reluctant to allow the construction of a pipeline near highways.

Delisle said TQM would prefer to cut through some privately owned forested areas of the Townships because it is cheaper for them to reimburse landowners for lost trees than to reimburse a farmer for lost crops on cultivated land.

"That raises my blood pressure," said Miller who chose his home in Ste. Catherine-de-Hatley more than 25 years ago because it was hardly touched by man. Miller lives on an 80 acre lot that is mostly wooded. He said he has never logged on his property out of respect for nature.

Miller and about a dozen other land owners would like Urgel Delisle & Associates Inc. to come back and hold information meetings about environmental risks associated with the pipeline as well as other questions.

"When they met with me in my home they said nothing abouta low flying helicopter inspecting the line every week," Miller said. The meetings would include municipal representatives as well.

The consultants meet personally with each landowner and must strike a deal or find alternatives.

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