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Pipeline Company Delivers Cash

SALEM TOWNSHIP — A company that has more than 800 miles of pipeline through Pennsylvania delivered checks across our area this week. The Kinder Morgan com...

SALEM TOWNSHIP -- A company that has more than 800 miles of pipeline through Pennsylvania delivered checks across our area this week.

The Kinder Morgan company is a worth $110 billion and its vice president donated thousands to schools and parks ahead of an announcement to expand the pipeline here.

He was there to give money for a playground. The principal at Evergreen Elementary School near Hamlin pulled students out of class for a photo opportunity with the vice president of Kinder Morgan.

This was the third stop of the day in our area for the company VP who delivered checks for thousands of dollars for things like a new playground at the school.

"Why do we care about playgrounds? We care about people, the people who are part of the communities we serve," Allen Fore explained.

For Evergreen Elementary, the $10,000 donation is the first for its playground project.

"It's just amazing somebody would consider something this generous. The total cost of the project would be around $75,000, so it's a beginning for us," said Evergreen principal Ellen Faliski.

As a part of what it calls, "being good corporate partners in the community," Kinder Morgan also donated several thousand to the Friends of Prompton State Park for improvements, a school district in Susquehanna County, and places in Pike and Luzerne Counties as well.

"Think they're making a name for themselves as a corporate citizen coming into the area. We have great appreciation for it," said Luke Turano, Friends of Prompton State Park.

And there are still more checks and more pipeline to come, meant to help get all that Marcellus Shale natural gas to customers throughout the U.S.

"In the next several months, we'll be talking more about some expansion we're planning," Fore said.

Landowners across parts of Pennsylvania have been through this sort of thing before, including the owners of a farm in the Honesdale area, who say the next time the pipeline company comes through, they'll be better prepared.

"They're going to do it right the next time," said Tim Schweighofer.

You can see where Kinder Morgan's Tennessee gas pipeline cut through Schweighofer's family farm in Honesdale. Schweighofer says the pipeline left a mess in some spots. He lost land where hay used to grow and questions the Kinder Morgan's motives as it doles out money in the lead-up to new pipeline projects.

"They have a strange way of doing things. I understand they want to come back through when they were already just here. If you have it already tore up, do the job and be done with it."

Kinder Morgan's VP stresses future projects will be incremental and adding pipeline where there's already pipeline, and folks around northeastern Pennsylvania will learn more in the coming months.

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