Kenneth Collins is a well-known opponent of the PennEast pipeline. You might have seen his youtube videos floating around urging home owners to deny PennEast access to their land and force eminent domain court cases up and down the entire route. His thesis is that if PennEast were faced with mass eminent domain hearings, they would likely pack it up and go home rather than run that gauntlet and likely incur mass negative publicity.
Kenneth isn’t just about eminent domain though. In his submission below he points out the inadequacies of the scoping meetings:
I hereby request that FERC extend the scoping period for this proposed project for an additional 90 to 120 days and require at least one more scoping meeting in each of the two directly impacted states, NJ and PA. The scoping meetings that were held served to disenfranchise the public for various reasons:
• The severely cold weather, ice and snow resulted in dangerous driving conditions that prevented many people from travelling to the scoping meetings.
• Many of the chosen facilities utilized for the scoping meetings presented challenges for the handicapped that made it excessively arduous for them
to attend. The venue at the Northampton Community College in Easton, PA in particular was far less than handicapped friendly.
• Many of the venues utilized had inadequate parking, specifically the West Trenton Ballroom and The Grand Colonial. At the West Trenton Ballroom the parking area was full an walking from anywhere nearby was very dangerous due to the frozen snow and high traffic location. Some attendees parked on the firehouse lawn and were threatened to be towed, but many people were disenfranchised and simply left because there was not adequate parking. The venue in Wilkes-Barre had parking two blocks away on a brutally cold evening that was dangerous for many to be out on. The Grand Colonial lot filled up quickly and the press reported, “Because vehicles of those attending filled its parking lot, there were dozens of cars and trucks parked along the highway, almost as far west as the State Police Perryville station.”
http://www.nj.com/hunterdon-county- democrat/index.ssf/2015/02/300_at_penneast_meeting_almost_all_speakers_op pose.html
• FERC failed to properly manage the scoping meeting held at the West Trenton Ballroom, and as a result many people who signed up to comment were not afforded the opportunity to do so. People who signed up to speak were told they would not be allowed to because the meeting was over. Understandably this upset those who were disenfranchised, and since there was only one more scopin meeting scheduled for the next night an hour drive time away, those who were refused the opportunity to speak at the West Trenton Ballroom were denied the chance to speak, and incensed with the process.
• The Obama Administration is in the process of rolling out new methane standards in accordance with the Global Methane Initiative. These new standards are to be rolled out this year, and the environmental impacts of this project must be in accordance with those standards. It is not possible to properly assessthe environmental impact of this project until these new methane standards are made public and PennEast makes measures to conform to these standards available to the public. We can’t evaluate the technology if it has not been made available to us, and as a result we can not present our concerns relevant to the EIS.
I ask that FERC schedule these two additional scoping meetings without delay and extend the scoping period by a minimum of 90 days.
I talked to some people at the Thursday scoping meeting in Hunterdon and they claimed that “budgets” were the reason that scoping meetings were so few and far between. This is ludicrous – when considering the impact of a billion dollar, 3 foot wide high pressure natural gas pipeline you shouldn’t use money as an excuse for cutting corners. The government should not be cutting corners with people’s lives. My neighbor was at the Trenton meeting and said the place was packed solid and many people couldn’t speak. I saw the same at the Hunterdon county meeting.
The FERC should not cut corners and should not rubber stamp this pipeline. There are literally thousands of submissions to the FERC web site in opposition of this pipeline. Hundreds of people have taken up the daunting task of testifying in person to the FERC and public in opposition of this pipeline. The FERC needs to slow down and carefully consider all of the facts before them, and give local residents more time to consider the route(s) and comment on them to the FERC.
Kenneth’s submission is below: