Horses are everywhere in Hunterdon county. There are two horse farms within spitting distance of my house. On the way to the FERC scoping meeting last night I was on a road that had “25mph when horses present” signs for miles:
Claire is the owner of a horse farm in Kingwood Township, NJ, and her FERC submission talks about equines as you might expect:
I am the owner of a small farm in Kingwood Township, NJ, where I raise horses, not far from the proposed PennEast Pipeline route.
I have two points to make.
First, I am among many equestrians in Hunterdon County who are here because of the land and miles of trails that meander through historically significant property and valuable, preserved open space. Our land is rural, situated between New York and Philadelphia. It is accessible to the cities where many of us work, yet it is a world apart. We live here so that we can enjoy our way of life, commune with our horses and breathe fresh air.
The community of equestrians in Hunterdon County is well known. We are proud of the numerous Olympians who reside and train here. And, each year thousands of amateurs from all walks of life participate in a wide variety of riding sports in Hunterdon County. Many of these riders live here and others drive great distances for what we have to offer, contributing to the notable equestrian economy. The agricultural focus of Hunterdon County has fostered this business and the community.
To name a few, The Readington Trail Association, Amwell Valley Trail Association, Covered Bridge Trail Association, Pittstown Trail Association and the Alexandria Trail Association, are groups that sponsor events throughout the year providing members and riders from the tri-state area access to the unmatched trails in the region. Riding here, over the same fields that the Revolutionary troops did or looking at undisturbed vistas that have stood for millennia from the back of a horse is unique and rare.
Away from the roads and highways we see the natural world at its best. We see natural ecosystems thriving, pristine streams, old growth trees, and hear the calls of thousands of birds. On one recent occasion, in November of 2014, a large group of riders was brought to a standstill, in total awe, when four magnificent bald eagles took flight as we topped a hill in the Sourland Region. They circled a few times giving us a breathtaking memory to cherish. This is why we ride here.
I ask the FERC to consider, as the agency develops the Environmental Impact Statement, the negative impact Hunterdon County and its equestrian community would experience if the PennEast Pipeline were granted approval. Including,
• The right-of-way it would command through valuable rural scenic property, a source of recreational enjoyment for many citizens. This is a place we can escape urban noise and polluted air to ride our horses freely with our senses open.
• The degradation to increasingly threatened natural habitat that is home to millions of organisms.
• The impossibility of mitigation. No landscape in Hunterdon County or anywhere, once cut through by the PennEast pipeline, can be restored. Mitigation, by “replacing” that habitat in another region will simply leave the original land changed for the worse in perpetuity.
For these reasons, please deny the application by PennEast Pipeline (Docket No. PF15-1-000) with a no action, no build decision.
Claire’s complete FERC submission is available below:
Claire’s submission – FERC Generated PDF