HARFORD TWP. — With the sugaring season ahead, the Holleran family should be installing sap-gathering lines on the mature maple trees growing on their property on Three Lakes Road.

They’re not going to bother this year. They don’t see a point in tapping trees that could soon fall to the chainsaws of Constitution Pipeline Co., which covets a strip of their land roughly 125 feet wide to build a natural gas pipeline to New York.

After two years of planning, public comment and government reviews, Constitution is anxious to get started. The maps are drawn. The pipe is stacked. More than a thousand people are ready to work.

The company needed 130 parcels in Pennsylvania and obtained almost all of them. The only things standing in the way of its Pennsylvania work are the Hollerans and six other holdouts.

In December, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the agency in charge of approving interstate gas pipelines, gave Constitution its approval to build the brand-new 126-mile line from Susquehanna County to Schoharie County, New York. The FERC’s approval gave Constitution eminent domain power under the Natural Gas Act to acquire easements on properties it picked for the pipeline route.

The company is a joint partnership among Williams Companies, Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., Piedmont Natural Gas Co. and WGL Holdings. The roughly $700 million pipeline would ship 650 million cubic feet of gas per day to markets in New York and New England.

Constitution must compensate the Hollerans and any other landowners whose properties it seeks to condemn. But that process takes time, and Constitution isn’t interested in waiting.

Arguing any delays would cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars a day, Constitution’s lawyers appeared Friday in federal court in Scranton seeking an emergency preliminary injunction that would grant access to the properties to complete surveying and begin cutting trees.

The Hollerans want to make the company work for it. At this point, they don’t have much to lose.

The family loves these 22 acres that Catherine Holleran’s parents bought in the late 1950s, when they escaped to the Endless Mountains from Long Island.

Sturdy maples, cherries and other hardwoods rise from their property’s steep eastern hillside. A small creek-fed lake lies at the bottom of the gentle valley. Across a strip of trees, a grassy field rises to the north. It’s a place for syrup making and snowmobiling in the winter, lake parties and off-roading in the summer.

Constitution’s designs call for a 30-inch pipe laid in an S-shaped strip across 1,670 linear feet of their land. The permanent easement would be 50 feet wide, but the company would fell timber in a wider area to create work space. The family doesn’t want to lose the trees or the quality of their lake, which they fear could fill with sediment despite the company’s stated policies of controlling erosion.

The five Zeffer siblings — Holleran’s maiden name — want to pass the land on to their children the way it is, “without a big stupid pipeline,” Holleran said.

In court Friday, Constitution argued that it must immediately access their property and six others to meet their FERC-mandated deadline to have the pipeline in service by Dec. 2, 2016.

Arguing before Judge Malachy Mannion, Constitution’s lead attorney Elizabeth Witmer of Saul Ewing LLP called Williams project manager Matthew Swift to the witness stand.

Swift explained that overall crew of 1,300 will split into five construction “spreads.” Each spread has 12 crews that work in assembly line fashion.

The Susquehanna County spread will start at pipeline mile zero and work northwest, he said. If they hit a property they can’t legally access, all 12 crews grind to a halt. Each crew would levy a “standby charge” of $60,000 per day, Swift said, making the cumulative delay cost $720,000 per day.

Meanwhile, the company must work within specific wildlife-related timeframes. It must cut down most of the trees in its route from early fall to March 31 to avoid migratory birds and can only cross certain trout streams from June 1 to early fall.

That means the company has roughly six weeks left to clear most trees along the entire 126-mile route or be forced to wait another year. On that basis, the company hoped to possess its desired rights of way by today.

Following arguments from Witmer and Harrisburg eminent domain attorney Michael Faherty, who represents four of the property owners, Mannion delayed the decision more than a week.

Mannion will allow both parties to submit more briefs on whether Constitution can take possession of the property immediately, with the last deadline on Feb. 23.

The situation could lead to a showdown in the family’s forest. Watching the proceedings was Milford environment and landowner rights activist Alex Lotorto and two of his colleagues. He stated plans to monitor the company’s work for violations, though only with permission of affected landowners. They could also stage sit-ins and protests of tree-clearing on the Hollerans’ land, an idea the family is on board with.

“Oh, it’s going to happen,” Megan Holleran said.